Mandwel Patterson, founder of two-year-old Invictus Capital Management, says his background “is a little unique.”
After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1998 with a political science degree, he worked with the city’s economic development team, managing more than 150 programs and more than $3.5 million in federal funds. During that time, he earned a master’s degree from UD in public administration.
Patterson took that experience to Canton in 2003, where he managed the city’s economic development activities, leaving in 2007 to purchase his uncle’s construction company, along with a partner. It was the first time he’d been his own boss and gave him a taste of self-determination he would never get out of his mouth.
He ultimately sold his share in the company to his partner and joined Edward Jones as a financial adviser, learning the ins and outs of relationship-building. He says he loved forming those personal ties and helping people realize their financial goals.
But he missed being his own boss. In 2019, he left Edward Jones to “start all over” – forming Invictus Capital Management. His Canton-based firm includes four independent advisers.
“Most of our business is on the retail side, helping individuals,” he says. “But my goal is to get into more of the institutional arena and private equity, finding good solid businesses to invest in.”
By virtue of Patterson’s position as president of the Stark County Minority Business Association, he was included as part of a delegation last year to visit JobsOhio in Columbus to meet representatives of ELITE Americas, which was about to establish a cohort of small- to medium-size companies in Stark County. He later went to London, where ELITE’s parent organization is based, and became familiar with the program and how ELITE helps companies strategically analyze their existing businesses, meet critical partners and chart a course for future success.
He enrolled in the ELITE program as a participant in the Stark County cohort, and says Invictus Capital Management is now in the growth stage.
“ELITE helped me do a deeper dive into the business,” he says. “I often found myself spending so much time working on new business that I didn’t give enough attention to the fundamentals of the business.”
Patterson’s relationship with ELITE has paid off, he says. In November, Invictus made a major acquisition, growing from $10 million in assets under management to $100 million. With clients in 15 states, he’s now ready for even further growth.
“ELITE’s business planning model assisted me in making sure that my current business and the business that I was acquiring could sustain the fast growth,” he says. “We looked at the level of ambition for the business and it became clear that taking on the capital structure was definitely sustainable. I had experience with capital structures prior to that, but ELITE’s model helped me do a deeper dive, especially looking at future revenues and expected payoffs.”
Having spent the past year managing through a pandemic, Patterson says one of the other important lessons he learned from ELITE was how to plan for and manage through the next “black swan” event, which he said can wipe out revenues in a short period of time.
“They really helped me dive into the numbers a little more – where can I cut the fat, what are my best and worst-case scenarios, and focus on business metrics.”
He says Invictus already had plans and strategies, but ELITE gave him more confidence about his direction.
“I’m a numbers guy, and they really helped me do a deep dive to understand both the opportunities and the risks. So, it’s a comfortable place for me right now. I’ll grow the firm and, as it grows, bring in more advisers.”
He gives kudos to ELITE for helping him get a broader perspective on his business, exposing him to companies different from his and the ability to “learn from all over. When I was in London, I met businesspeople from China, Morocco, Russia . . . that type of network is critical when you’re trying to grow a business.”
He also gives kudos to JobsOhio, Ohio’s nonprofit economic development company, for working to bring ELITE to the state with opportunities for minority businesses to benefit.
“I was in politics and government a long time, and this is one of the most significant efforts the state of Ohio has undertaken to help Black-owned businesses.”