I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Planit, Founder & Principal of Planit Capital.
Michael is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of business development and marketing experience. He conceives, builds and sells successful businesses in the buyer products and manufacturing sectors and is also an investor and advisor to a number of businesses including, Consumer Products, Services and Technology. Michael has a solid track record of identifying and exploiting market opportunities that has generated over $300 million in sales in last few years.
Michael grew up in New York and attended Northeastern University where he graduated with a BS with a double major in Finance and Marketing. I asked Michael to share what he did today based on his education, business acumen, and defending the business lessons learned on his journey. “Years ago, after consulting investment banks and private equity firms to assess the market viability and prospects of target companies for the group and after many years of entrepreneurial success as an operator, I went on to found Planit Capital; private investment and industry agnostic lenders/facilitators. We’ve provided over $150 million in growth capital and financial facilities to companies in healthcare, financial and business services, real estate, startup technology, construction, oil & gas, and my favorite; consumer products/services. I also serve as an investor, senior advisor, and board member for businesses in a variety of market sectors including consumer and technology products, and entertainment.”
Planit Capital focuses on short-term investment and lending to start-up companies, with a preference for direct-to-consumer companies, be it technology or products. Their “sweet spot” facilitates funding of between $2 million and $25 million and can place funds on progress payments for construction companies. In the end, they like growth-oriented companies that have cash flow or other assets they can get their hands on, but they Do avoid anything speculative. Michael likes to say, “If it’s something we can invest in assets, we can fund it.”
I’m curious to hear about these seasoned entrepreneurs day by day. “Typically, I start my day by glancing at emails, then make/reply to time-sensitive calls. Then get back to emails with more focus, put out some fires (there all the time appears to be something), talk to principals from our portfolio companies about the week’s strategy, and then some research on the new opportunities that have been presented. I try to keep up with the news on the sidelines and attend some zoom networking or in-person meetings every few weeks.
Speaking of networking, I asked Michael how he could potentially find his next deal. “Most referrals are through years of contact, and some network through 1 or 2 industry organizations focused on Investment Bankers, PEs, and other lenders. As for the deal itself, it’s all about the people running the business and their ability to execute. If I don’t feel comfortable with the people involved in any part of the deal, we then take the “hard road” – for those we are snug with, it is the basics of economics… then the ability to execute, close the investment, and then profit.”
The type of business Michael is involved in is at times competitive in addition to risky. His success has been astounding particularly during these uncertain times. I asked Michael to share some of the work he has done for his clients. “One of our tighter deals is the acquisition of a million+ power plant. The deal had lots of hurdles as a result of the nature of the industry, largely regulations. Yet another factor is that the group that acquired the business is seeking 100% financing for the acquisition, in addition to working capital. In the end, we overcame many hurdles with our lending partners and were able to facilitate full funding, including the w/c they needed.
Other deals worth mentioning are more pleasing to us. We made a short-term investment in a company that manufactures small electronics. They had secured a purchase order with a major national retailer that needed financing against that order to manufacture the product and extra funds to bring it in until it was paid for by their customer. This deal goes sideways. Having engaged directly with customers and their supply chain operations, I was able to negotiate deals that not only kept the product in stores, but also provided program expansion to other national retailers. This direct approach not only provides return on capital and profitability, but also allows clients to continue and grow their company into other products with a wider customer reach.”
Now is the time to discuss the market/recession affecting your company. “There are more opportunities given the current economic conditions in the market. We’re seeing more deals referred to us for loan opportunities and more short term investment opportunities. I wouldn’t say we’re in a recession, but of course the reality of inflation is taking its toll. The landscape is more competitive for loans, as there are still relatively inexpensive options out there for borrowing. Because we focus on non-bank lending, our cost of money may be higher in the short term, but our ability to lend and our speed to recoup certainly pay off tremendously.”
Now let’s discuss your ideal introduction because hey, you never know who is reading this interview. “We are very open to deals, industry agnostic and opportunistic deals. The ideal introduction is a company that has assets, a strong revenue base, but cash flow timing is difficult. They are a strong operator with great growth potential but are cash only and cannot currently qualify for bank financing.”
I personally found Michael to be a really smart, focused and genuine entrepreneur and that I had the pleasure of interviewing him. He shares that he’s a NYC resident for over 20 years, is an assistant professor at NYU teaching courses on marketing, Mastering Product and Service development, and is the author of Operators on the Stand Published by McGraw-Hill. He is community oriented and very family centered father of 3.
I ponder who she would like to meet if given the chance. “Ken Griffin, Founder of Citadel, Larry Fink, Founder of BlackRock, and Elon Musk. Also, Angela Merkel who was once considered the most powerful woman in the world. It will be more than interesting to meet him. Leonardo Da Vinci – to know the mind of a visionary genius, and Albert Einstein – to know genius.”
In closing, Michael is very active and takes a personalised approach with his clients and prospective clients and is results driven. “If we can’t get them done, we won’t and will be happy to direct them to someone else who might be able to. For me, it’s all about the people – great makes great!”
To learn more about Planet Capital, please visit https://www.planitcapital.com.