G2 Welcomes Reed Upson, Managing Director, Capital Markets
G2 Capital Advisors (“G2”) is excited to welcome Reed Upson as Managing Director of Capital Markets. Located in Denver, Reed counts himself as part of the recent Rocky Mountain migration that has brought more lenders and sponsors to the region. Formerly the Head of Capital Markets at the San Francisco-based debt advisory firm Business Capital (BizCap), Reed has supported companies with capital raises, refinancings, and financial restructurings and has a depth of credit underwriting, transaction execution, and business development experience. To introduce Reed and get his take on current capital markets, we sat down with him to ask five fast questions:
- Welcome to G2! What drew you to our firm and convinced you to come aboard?
I first met Ben Wright, Chief Operating Officer at G2, about seven years ago in San Francisco—the G2 office was one floor above my office—and I got to know Ben pretty well. I was impressed by G2 early on: its focus on industries and integrated multi-product approach got my attention.
Over the years, I’ve watched G2 service companies’ complete life cycle, supporting growth and navigating distress with bigger, more sophisticated, and increasingly complex deals. From my perspective, the G2 model is different from anything in the market today, and its growth has been both subtle and significant. I’d say the firm is a sleeping giant in the middle market, and I’m excited to grow professionally within its integrated platform.
But what really sold me was coming out and meeting everybody in Boston. The team maintains an all-in, entrepreneurial attitude. The people have a refreshing balance of empathy and intelligence, backed up by tremendously deep product and industry knowledge. It’s an impressive group of smart, low-ego people.
- What are you most looking forward to as Managing Director of Capital Markets? What industry and practice synergies are you excited to explore in this role?
While I have capital markets experience across G2’s industry sectors, my ability to now partner with our industry experts is a powerful differentiator. It lets me have nuanced conversations with bankers and lenders struggling with liquidity challenges and rising default rates. In addition, I’m able to pull in specialty groups like restructuring, to address clients’ complex situations. And, because our executive team is largely made up of former operators, G2 leadership brings an authentic appreciation to each engagement. Our team members have sat in our clients’ seats.
I’m also excited to tackle larger, more institutional challenges through private equity partnerships, like raising equity to recapitalize—either a minority raise to help grow a business or a majority recap to return capital to limited partners (LPs). Or bringing other creative financing solutions to the table, such as mezzanine financing and preferred equity structures, which are helping increase portfolio companies’ cash flow by retiring higher amortizing debt structures.
- The interest rate hikes that began in March 2022 have profoundly affected capital markets, inflating valuations and borrowing costs. How does the current environment create challenges and opportunities for our clients? How do you expect the market to change in 2024?
I don’t think there will be a massive shift in interest rates, especially over the next year. Could rates come down a little bit? Perhaps. But what’s more likely is that strategics and sponsors will adjust to this new normal Eventually, sponsors will have to start returning capital to LPs, and companies will have to transact—and there will be clear winners and losers. Companies with better leverage profiles and capitalization can take advantage of add-on acquisitions. Companies on the other side of that coin will face new challenges: “What do I do? Do I sell? Do I recapitalize? What are my options?”
G2 is uniquely positioned to address both sides of that equation, which is exciting.
I imagine on the lender side, there will be a lot more distress with banks specifically—and some cracks on the private debt side, too. After the whirlwind of M&A activity in 2020 and 2021, many of these businesses now have increased debt, reduced valuations, and face a looming maturity wall in 2024 and 2025. While lenders had previously been happy to amend and extend, I think hard decisions are coming, and the market is going to start seeing more refinancing activity being forced on companies from lenders, especially banks.
Capital markets advisors will have to get more creative with stretch pieces like preferred equity or mezzanine financing to fill the gaps. The positive backdrop to all of this is that despite the uncertainty in the market, there is still a lot of capital out there—and private credit fundraising is at an all-time high. It’s my job to figure out from where to source it and how we can structure it to best support our clients.
- How have you generated new business and steered clients through challenging market cycles?
My business has been built on relationships with trusted advisors—lenders, attorneys, and CPAs with clients facing default and needing capital to either exit or pivot. I’ve tended to work with the same clients over time and across multiple situations—whether they’ve hit a speed bump or they’re continuing to grow. Anchoring long-term relationships will be easier at G2 as our investment bankers are so plugged in and can stay on top of industry-specific needs. There’s a natural progression of working alongside our clients’ business evolution.
As a capital markets advisor, that parallel momentum is essential. I’m in the market every day, talking with lenders and investors and figuring out what the capital markets are actually doing. At G2, the question goes beyond, “Can we raise this capital or not?” Our team can see the sector-specific implications and the restructuring opportunities. With G2, the greatest value I can pass on to our clients is to anticipate what’s next and act as a comprehensive resource through any market cycle.
- When not sourcing debt and equity, how do you spend your time?
I have two young kids who keep my wife and me pretty busy. As a family, we lean into all of Colorado’s outdoor activities—hiking, skiing, and biking. I’ve had to dial back my golf game, but I’ve gotten back into tennis.
Like the markets, Reed is in perpetual motion and will be a tremendously valuable addition to G2’s team. For more information on G2’s capital markets capability, visit us online or contact our team leaders.