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Star Mountain Capital Adds Chris Calabrese, Former Co-Founder of LBC Credit Partners, as Strategic Portfolio Partner

October 10, 2023

Star Mountain Capital, a rapidly growing employee-owned specialized investment firm with approximately $3.5 billion AUM, focused on delivering systematic alpha and low market correlated returns from the lower middle-market, announced that Chris Calabrese, co-founding partner of $3+ billion AUM private credit manager LBC Credit Partners, has transitioned from a Star Mountain Operating Partner to a full-time role of Strategic Portfolio Partner.

New York – September 28, 2023 – Star Mountain Capital, LLC (“Star Mountain”), a specialized investment manager with approximately $3.5 billion in assets under management (committed capital including debt facilities as of 8/31/2023) focused on investing in established, private small and medium-sized businesses in the North American lower middle-market, is pleased to announce that Chris Calabrese has increased his involvement with Star Mountain from an Operating Partner to a full-time role of Strategic Portfolio Partner.  Star Mountain Senior Advisors / Operating Partners are aligned with Star Mountain’s full-time team and investors by investing their personal capital and sharing in the firm’s carried interest.

“We are excited to expand Chris into this full-time role providing additional value for our investors, portfolio companies and team,” said Brett Hickey, Star Mountain Capital Founder & CEO. “His 30+ years of lower middle-market private credit, risk and portfolio management, as well as overall investment experience will be a great addition to our team.”

“Over the past dozen years, Star Mountain has built an impressive team and investment process tailored to the large and fragmented lower middle-market,” said Chris Calabrese. “I am pleased to be leveraging my experience to further improve best practices across all areas of the firm and particularly within portfolio management.”

Mr. Calabrese will be based in the firm’s Philadelphia office, which is one of Star Mountain’s 11 offices nationwide.

In 2005 Mr. Calabrese co-founded LBC Credit Partners, a lower middle-market private credit investment firm that was acquired by CIFC Asset Management LLC in December 2021. At LBC, he served as a Senior Partner facilitating a team which invested over $5.5 billion in more than 200 lower middle-market companies through 2019.  During that time, Chris was an investment committee member and had oversight of the credit, portfolio management and capital markets efforts including a unit that directly managed all active portfolio accounts where he was also involved in complex restructurings and divestitures.

Prior to LBC Credit Partners, Mr. Calabrese was a Managing Director at Wachovia (now part of ~$2 trillion Wells Fargo) where he was Head of Business Development and Underwriting as well as Member of Senior Credit Committee.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Calabrese was a Senior Vice President at First Union Bank (now part of ~$2 trillion Wells Fargo) where he led a team of commercial loan originators, underwriters and portfolio managers for leveraged loan products including asset-based lending. Prior to First Union Bank he was a Vice President at Meridian Bank. Mr. Calabrese obtained formal credit training in banking and corporate finance at Mellon Bank where he started his career in 1986.

Mr. Calabrese holds a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science in Management with a minor in Accounting (magna cum laude) from Widener University.

About Star Mountain

With approximately $3.5 billion in assets under management (committed capital including debt facilities as of 8/31/2023), Star Mountain takes a data-driven approach to investing into the North American lower middle-market through two complementary investment strategies: (i) direct debt and equity investing and (ii) secondaries (acquiring LP interests and direct assets and making primary LP commitments) and NAV loans to funds.  Star Mountain believes these complementary strategies provide data-enhanced, scalable, diversified, and customizable access for its institutional and high-net-worth investors to established businesses that generally have at least $15 million in annual revenues and under $50 million in EBITDA. Its investors include public pensions, private pensions, insurance companies, commercial banks, endowments, foundations, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Star Mountain is 100% employee-owned and shares its profits with 100% of its U.S. full-time employees as part of its focus on maximizing value for its stakeholders and investors through alignment of interests.

Since 2010 through August 2023, Star Mountain has made over 200 direct investments in businesses and over 40 secondary / fund investments within its Collaborative Ecosystem®, focused on the North American lower middle-market. One of Star Mountain’s specialties is seeking current cash income for investors that is materially above the typical yields found in the public markets, often accompanied with potential long-term capital gains equity returns and low correlation to public markets through its distinctive origination, underwriting and value-added investment capabilities.

Star Mountain was recently named one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

For the fourth straight year, Star Mountain was again named one of the 2022 Best Places to Work by Crain’s New York Business as well as once again one of the 2022 Best Places to Work by Pensions & Investments.

Star Mountain believes its focus and dedication has been productive for job creation and economic development including in underserved areas and communities. Star Mountain is dedicated to this large market of underserved businesses purpose-built to address the challenges and opportunities of these companies. As part of its commitment, Star Mountain has trademarked Investing in the Growth Engine of America ®.

Star Mountain’s Charitable Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 focuses on improving lives through economic development, including job creation, health & wellness and cancer research. Notable missions include helping match veterans and women with high quality small and medium-sized business career opportunities across the country, including within Star Mountain’s portfolio.

Note: This does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase interests in any investment product. Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he / she / it will experience a certain level of results if Star Mountain is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement, testimonial endorsement, recommendation or referral of Star Mountain or its representatives by any of its clients or any other third party.  Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based exclusively on information prepared and / or submitted by the recognized advisor.  Moreover, with regard to all performance information contained herein, directly or indirectly, if any, readers should note that past results are not indicative of future results. The description and the selection methodologies of each award and recognition are subjective and will vary.

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she/it will experience a certain level of results if SMFM is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement, testimonial endorsement, recommendation or referral of SMFM or its representatives by any of its clients or any other third party. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor.

Crain’s two-part survey process consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. The second part involved an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Star Mountain must pay a fee to Crain’s only for survey collection purposes. Detailed eligibility criteria can be found here:

To be named to P&I‘s Best Places list, all firms met Best Companies’ high threshold for inclusion and were evaluated against others of similar size. Individual firm profiles, which were compiled based on survey results, reflect U.S. employment numbers and were confirmed by Best Companies in the summer. Company and employee comments were edited for space, style and clarity.  Assets under management or advisement are as of June 30, unless otherwise noted. To participate, companies had to have at least 20 employees in the U.S., at least $100 million of discretionary assets under management or advisement and be in business for at least one year. An anonymous employee survey, which aimed to evaluate employee engagement and satisfaction, accounted for 75% of a firm’s score; an employer survey, which evaluated workplace policies, practices, benefits and demographics, made up 25%.

Companies on the 2023 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2019 to 2022. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2019. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent–not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies–as of December 31, 2022. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2019 is $100,000; the minimum for 2022 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Growth rates used to determine rankings were calculated to four decimal places.


John Polis – [email protected]

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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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