The Role of Debt Funds in Providing Growth Capital for Established Businesses

Debt Funds for Growth: Providing Vital Capital for Established Businesses

As an established business, finding sources of growth capital can be a challenging and time-consuming task. While equity financing can be an option, it often comes at a high cost – dilution of ownership and a loss of control. Debt financing, on the other hand, offers a lower cost of capital, no dilution of ownership, and a flexible range of loan terms. In this article, we will explore the benefits of debt funds as a source of growth capital for established businesses and how to choose the right debt fund for your business’s unique needs.

The Benefits of Debt Funds for Established Businesses

Debt funds offer numerous benefits to established businesses seeking growth capital. One significant advantage is the lower cost of capital compared to equity financing. Equity financing requires the business to give up a percentage of ownership in exchange for the capital infusion. Debt financing, on the other hand, typically comes with a fixed interest rate and requires repayment over a set period. This allows the business to maintain control and ownership while still receiving the capital they need to grow.

Another advantage of debt financing is the flexibility it offers. Business owners can negotiate loan terms that best fit their unique needs, such as a longer repayment period or a smaller monthly payment. This allows businesses to manage their cash flow effectively and plan for future expenses.

Debt funds also offer quick access to capital, which can be especially critical for businesses that need to act fast to capitalize on growth opportunities. Compared to traditional bank loans, which can take several weeks or months to process, debt funds can provide capital in as little as a few days to a few weeks. This speed can be a critical factor in taking advantage of growth opportunities in a timely manner.

The Role of Debt Funds in Growth Capital

Debt funds play a vital role in providing growth capital to established businesses. One way they do this is by funding growth initiatives such as product development, expansion, and acquisition. For example, a business that wants to introduce a new product line may need capital to cover research and development costs, marketing expenses, and inventory. Debt funds can provide this capital, allowing the business to move forward with its growth plans.

Another way debt funds provide growth capital is by addressing working capital needs. Working capital is the money needed to cover day-to-day business expenses such as payroll, rent, and inventory. Debt funds can provide working capital in the form of accounts receivable financing, inventory financing, and other short-term loans. This allows businesses to manage their cash flow and take advantage of growth opportunities as they arise.

Finally, debt funds can provide refinancing options for existing debt. Refinancing can help businesses save money on interest and reduce their monthly payments, freeing up capital for growth initiatives. Additionally, debt funds may offer more flexible loan terms than traditional banks, making it easier for businesses to manage their debt.

The Types of Funds

There are several types of debt funds available to established businesses. Traditional banks are one option, but they can be challenging to work with, requiring extensive documentation and a lengthy approval process. Alternative lenders are another option, offering quicker access to capital and more flexible loan terms than traditional banks. Mezzanine funds offer higher-risk financing and are typically used for larger deals. Private debt funds provide capital from private investors and can offer customized loan terms tailored to the needs of the business.

Senior Debt Funds

Senior debt funds offer the lowest cost of capital and the highest degree of security for lenders. They provide financing to businesses by issuing loans that are secured by collateral, such as real estate or equipment. Senior debt funds typically have lower interest rates and less stringent financial covenants than other types of debt funds.

Mezzanine debt funds

Mezzanine debt funds offer a higher cost of capital than senior debt funds, but they also provide greater flexibility in loan terms. This type of debt fund offers subordinated debt, which means that it has lower priority than senior debt in the event of default. Mezzanine debt funds often have higher interest rates and more stringent financial covenants than senior debt funds, but they also offer higher loan-to-value ratios, longer repayment terms, and the potential for equity participation.

Unitranche debt funds

Unitranche debt funds offer a hybrid of senior and mezzanine debt financing. This type of debt fund combines the senior and subordinated debt into a single loan, providing simplicity and flexibility in loan terms. Unitranche debt funds typically have higher interest rates than senior debt funds but lower rates than mezzanine debt funds. They also offer fewer financial covenants and the potential for equity participation.

Choosing the Right Fund for Your Business

Choosing the right debt fund for your business requires careful consideration of several factors. The first is interest rates. While debt financing typically offers lower interest rates than equity financing, rates can still vary significantly depending on the lender. Comparing rates from multiple lenders can help you find the best deal for your business.

Another factor to consider is the lender’s track record and reputation. You want to work with a lender who has a history of successful investments and a positive reputation in the industry. This can help ensure that the lender will provide fair and transparent loan terms and will work with you to achieve your growth objectives.

It’s also important to consider the lender’s requirements for collateral and financial covenants. Collateral is the asset that the lender can seize if the borrower fails to repay the loan, and financial covenants are the conditions that the borrower must meet to maintain the loan. Understanding these requirements and how they may affect your business’s operations is crucial in choosing the right debt fund.

Finally, you should consider the lender’s experience and expertise in your business’s industry. Lenders who specialize in your industry will have a better understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that your business faces, and can provide more tailored solutions to meet your needs.

A Debt Funds Case Study

There are several case studies where established businesses have used debt funds for growth. One such example is the case of Pelican Products, a manufacturer of protective cases and portable lighting systems for industrial, military, and law enforcement applications.

Pelican Products was looking to acquire Hardigg Industries, a manufacturer of plastic shipping containers and cases, to expand its product offerings and market share. To finance the acquisition, Pelican Products turned to Ares Management, a private equity firm that manages various debt funds, including senior debt and unitranche debt funds.

Ares Management provided Pelican Products with a $200 million unitranche loan, which combined senior and subordinated debt into a single loan with flexible terms. The loan was secured by the assets of both Pelican Products and Hardigg Industries and provided Pelican Products with the necessary capital to complete the acquisition.

Through the acquisition of Hardigg Industries, Pelican Products was able to expand its product offerings, broaden its customer base, and increase its market share in the protective case industry. The use of the unitranche loan from Ares Management allowed Pelican Products to finance the acquisition on favorable terms and provided the flexibility needed to achieve its growth objectives.

This case study illustrates how an established business can use debt funds to finance strategic acquisitions and achieve growth objectives. By working with a debt fund provider that offers flexible loan terms and understands the needs of the business, Pelican Products was able to secure the necessary capital to complete the acquisition and achieve its growth goals.


Debt funds offer an excellent source of growth capital for established businesses. They provide lower-cost financing, flexibility in loan terms, quick access to capital, and no dilution of ownership. Understanding the different types of debt funds available and choosing the right lender requires careful consideration of several factors, including interest rates, the lender’s track record and reputation, collateral and financial covenants, and the lender’s experience in your industry.

By carefully considering these factors and choosing the right debt fund for your business, you can take advantage of growth opportunities and continue to build a successful and thriving enterprise. So if you’re an established business seeking growth capital, consider working with a debt fund to achieve your growth objectives and take your business to the next level.

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Author: Waldon Fenster
Waldon Fenster is an experienced chief executive officer with a demonstrated history of working with startups to create multi-million dollar companies. At his core Waldon is a startup expert and corporate acquisition consultant with an expertise in facilitating brand growth for businesses that want to present their company to the marketplace. Waldon has worked with thousands of companies and Fortune 100 brands to expand their business models and amplify their portfolios for immediate financial benefit. He has deep knowledge and experience in capital, strategy, sales, procurement, systems development, and start-up ventures. Currently Waldon focuses on top level work, where he can build small businesses and emerging startups from the ground up, to make them attractive to outside investments and acquisitions on a global scale. Waldon holds Bachelor Degrees in Business Management & Marketing from the University of Wyoming along with Associate degrees in Service Management, Decision Science and Finance.

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