Ulysses Management LLC is a diversified investment firm with over $1 billion in capital under management. We follow a variety of investment strategies in pursuit of superior investment results over the long term. The majority of the capital we manage belongs to our General Partners and their families, creating an uncommonly close alignment of interests in our investments with founders, entrepreneurs and management teams.

Who we are

Founded almost twenty years ago, Ulysses is the successor firm to Odyssey Partners, LP, the pioneering hedge fund formed in 1982 by Jack Nash and Leon Levy. Odyssey was an innovator in the development of the alternative investment market and made some of the earliest private equity investments almost 40 years ago when they were known as ‘boot strap’ investments. This tradition of investment innovation continues within the Ulysses private equity group, which is one of our three principal areas of investment focus along with public market and real estate investments.


Our private equity group has a broad and flexible investment mandate that allows us to pursue attractive opportunities as a sponsor, co-investor or limited partner. Wherever we invest, whatever the industry or transaction size, our core philosophy is always the same: find companies with identifiable barriers to competition, partner with talented managers operating under the right incentives, forge long-term relationships built on accountability, trust, transparency and collaboration, and together we can create substantial value.

We do not invest out of a typical investment fund structure and consequently are not bound by traditional PE capital raising demands. Our capital is more durable and allows us to invest across 5-10 year business cycles, enabling us to be far more strategic and long-term oriented without the time pressures created by funds with typical short-term investment horizons. This appeals to both sellers (no stripping and flipping of their legacies) and to management teams (providing an opportunity to create meaningful wealth over a long period in a stable platform). We believe the power of compounding has been lost in the private equity world in favor of the generation of fees for the sponsor. At Ulysses, we earn our investment returns alongside our fellow owners, not in front of them.

Guiding principles

Value Investors

We are value investors. We build conviction by having a firm understanding of a company’s ‘reason to exist’. We are attracted to businesses with defensible, proven business models, enduring free cash flow, motivated management teams and deep customer relationships. A central corollary to this philosophy is the avoidance of excessive borrowing or financial engineering to generate high risk equity returns.

Partnership

We believe strongly in the benefits of partnership. We often deploy our capital alongside other like-minded investors, believing in the wisdom of multiple perspectives and the resiliency derived from additional human and capital resources.

Business Building

The power of compounding and thus longer term investment horizons is critical to our investment philosophy. This allows us to focus on real company building rather than financial engineering or quick flips. As a result, we prefer to measure our success in terms of return on investment instead of internal rates of return.

Operational Focus

An operational focus is critical to creating sustainable value in businesses. We routinely rely on a network of operating executives to develop proprietary insights into our investment opportunities. Through many years of experience building businesses and our ability to draw on the talents and knowledge of our operating executives, we can help companies enhance their core advantages and transcend their historical limitations.

Alignment of Interests

Ulysses is an unusual investment firm in that our General Partners and their families have contributed the majority of our capital under management and it represents a meaningful portion of their net worth; we subscribe to the notion of ”eating your own cooking”. We have the ability to hold investments as long as we are the logical owner; there is no artificial or external pressure caused by fund raising cycles.

Value Creation

We work in close partnership with exceptional management teams and provide capital, vision, and operating resources to help build and strengthen the companies in which we invest. We are particularly focused on adding greater intelligence to the companies we invest in, which we define as: (1) creating a data driven culture; and (2) increasing the technology quotient of our products and services to improve the customer experience.

The Team

Paul D. Barnett
Managing Director

Mr. Barnett heads the Private Equity Group of Ulysses Management LLC. Prior to joining Ulysses, he was a founder and managing principal of Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC, a private equity firm with more than $4 billion under management. From 1993 to 1997, he was a principal in the private equity group at Odyssey Partners, LP. Prior to Odyssey, Mr. Barnett was a managing director at Mancuso & Co. and an investment banker at Kidder, Peabody & Co. He received his BA in economics from McGill University in 1984.

Toby Rando
Managing Director

Mr. Rando joined Ulysses in 2005. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Rando was an associate at JP Morgan Partners, where he managed middle market private equity investments. Prior to JP Morgan Partners, he was an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston in the Leveraged Finance Group, where he focused on financings and advisory services for corporate and financial sponsor clients. Mr. Rando received his BA in history from Harvard University in 1998.

Jonathan Meltzer
Vice President

Mr. Meltzer joined Ulysses in 2010. Previously, he was a senior associate at Lazard Alternative Investments and at American Capital, where he invested across the capital structures of middle market companies. Prior to American Capital, Mr. Meltzer was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and at Wasserstein Perella. He received his BS degree cum laude in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and his MBA with honors from Columbia Business School in 2002.

Stephen Clough
Senior Operating Executive

Mr. Clough provides insight into the operations of Ulysses’ investment opportunities. He has served as CEO of several manufacturing businesses including Fairfield Manufacturing, Motorcoach Industries, and New World Pasta. From 1987 to 1998, he served as CEO, President, and COO of Kaydon Corp. (NYSE:KDN), a custom engineering company. Mr. Clough was responsible for growing Kaydon from a small $20mm company into a public company valued at over $1 billion. Mr. Clough received his B.Eng (honors) in production engineering from Brunel University in London in 1975 and is a Chartered Engineer.

OUR STRATEGIES

We invest in profitable, well-established companies with tangible competitive advantages. Our investment philosophy is to seek out opportunities born through change – change created by fundamental industry trends, economic cycles or specific company circumstances. Frequently, our investment serves as a catalyst to manage the transition from a founder/entrepreneur leadership to a professional management team. As a sponsor, we seek to drive expanded market presence, improved profitability and a steepened growth trajectory in our portfolio companies.

Ulysses invests across a broad range of industries and geographies. Our goal is to help management teams build long-term value that benefits all stakeholders. We structure our private equity investments based on each company’s circumstances and generally seek to invest in established businesses requiring equity capital of between $10 and $50 million. For larger transactions, we have co-invested in partnership with other family offices or like-minded sponsors.

Recurring Revenue Investments

  • Razor / razorblade business models
  • Large installed base of productive field assets
  • Specialty leasing companies with high customer service
  • Manufacturers with high aftermarket content
  • Compelling value proposition to customers (and often high switching costs) resulting in low churn/attrition rates
  • Attractive return on capital and durability across economic cycles

"Macro Theme" Investments

  • Companies in industries undergoing fundamental secular change due to powerful, long term, forces
  • Opportunity to invest across decade plus cycles with sustained tailwind
  • Examples of fundamental macro themes that are upending a broad range of industries would include: the premiumization of consumer products, technology-driven business intelligence, and the privatization of public services.

Portfolio Company Management

We work closely with management teams to create stronger and more resilient businesses. Core aptitudes include:

  • Deploying technology to increase insight or improve customer experience
  • Establishing business processes and a metric driven decision making culture
  • Recruiting high caliber management teams
  • Investing in new products, infrastructure, and strategic acquisitions
  • Navigating increasingly complex regulatory environments

Investment Criteria

Metric
Criteria
Size of Investment
Up to $50 million equity investment, with the willingness to co-invest in partnership with other like-minded investors for larger transactions
Size of Target Company
> $10 million of EBITDA for platforms, no minimum for add-ons
Control
Highly preferred
Investment Stage
Primarily profitable, established businesses
Transaction Types
LBOs, recapitalizations, growth equity, acquisitions, and public equities (in rare cases)
Typical Hold Period
Long term (3-15 years)
Geography
Primarily U.S.

Portfolio

Includes investments led by Ulysses professionals at previous funds.

Case Studies

Communications Capital Group LLC

  • Aggregator and manager of long term ground leases beneath cellular towers and rooftop antennas.
  • Acquires long term (40 year average) lease streams from wireless carriers and tower companies to landlords through lump sum payments at attractive yields (mid teens unlevered IRRs).
  • Nationwide, multi-channel origination platform consisting of independent retailers, affiliated brokers, inside sales, and an in-house call center.
  • Founded in 2007 and based in Atlanta, GA.
  • Ulysses acquired majority ownership in 2010.

Accomplishments

  • Created ground lease aggregation industry’s most efficient origination platform.
    • Ratio of originations to expenses was approximately 2x CCG’s closest competitor, driven by a multi-channel originations strategy.
    • Variable cost structure minimized fixed expenses and reduced pressure to underwrite marginal deals.
  • Made significant investments in sales efforts to drive greater origination capabilities and efficiency.
    • Installed new CRM, providing far greater forward visibility and improving pipeline management.
    • Adopted multi-channel approach through creation of direct sales force to complement exclusive broker community.
    • Created data mining group to improve quality of leads and conversion ratios.
    • Executed sponsored programs with AT&T and T-Mobile to partner on select opportunities.
  • Built best in class portfolio of leases.
    • Adopted industry’s most stringent underwriting criteria, yielding extremely high credit quality across the portfolio.
  • Exited the investment through the sale of the origination platform and lease portfolio to two separate financial investors.

Electric Guard Dog

  • Largest owner and operator of monitored electric security fences in the United States with dominant market share.
  • EGD protects untitled outdoor property from theft and vandalism at over 3,000 sites. It installs fences at no upfront cost to its customers and charges monthly fees under multi-year contracts. EGD retains ownership in its fences and services them through its national technician network.
  • Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Columbia, S.C.
  • Ulysses acquired majority ownership in 2007 from EGD’s founder, who retained an ownership interest and is a Board member.

Accomplishments

  • Transitioned from entrepreneur leadership to professional management team.
    • With founder’s input and collaboration, complemented existing team with talented new hires.
  • Invested heavily in SG&A
    • Quadrupled SG&A expense to professionalize business and support data-driven decision making.
  • Enhanced business operations
    • Realigned organization along functional lines.
    • Implemented key processes and procedures including new financial reporting, ERP and CRM systems.
  • Expanded all customer-facing functions
    • Built outside sales team.
    • Upgraded geographic reach and service level of dedicated field service network.
    • Created headquarters-based customer service team to improve customer satisfaction.
  • Instituted value pricing
    • Built case to raise new and existing prices to reflect value of service offering and executed with virtually no associated customer attrition.
  • Provided subsequent liquidity to founder to aid in estate planning.

Ice House America

  • Leading manufacturer and franchisor of ice vending machines in the United States. IHA also owns and operates ice vending machines in four states.
  • Market leader with over 3,000 installed units, materially more than all other vended ice competitors combined. System commands estimated 4% share of $2.5 billion packaged ice market.
  • Disruptive technology for retail ice distribution with materially lower operating costs than incumbent centralized production and distribution model.
  • Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Ulysses acquired Ice House America in 2011 from its founder, who retained an equity stake and served as Chairman of the Board.

Accomplishments

  • Transitioned leadership from founders to professional management.
    • Created senior sales, marketing, engineering & operations, and network services positions.
  • Transformed distribution system.
    • Converted to franchise system, providing superior economics and greater control.
    • Built in-house sales team.
  • Launched new products to access new channels and partnership opportunities.
    • Broadens product portfolio to capture a range of ice purchase occasions.
  • Deepened relationship with existing customers.
    • Implemented program to build relationships and improve communications with existing customers.
  • Created on-line tools to harness unit-level data.
    • Improves owner experience through real-time analytics and diagnostic tools.
    • Facilitates product design and technical support.

One Rockefeller Plaza
20th Floor
New York, NY 10020
T. 212.455.6237
F. 212.455.6281
info@ulyss.com