Portfolio Company of the Year Award - Illinois Venture Capital Association
2019 Private Equity-Backed Portfolio Company of the Year Award

2019 Private Equity-Backed Portfolio Company of the Year Award

Presented at the IVCA Annual Awards Dinner presented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP on December 9, 2019

 

Private Equity Awardee is Evans Food Group

Majority investor: Wind Point Partners

In April 2016, Wind Point acquired Evans Food Group, a global producer of branded and private label pork rind snacks. Wind Point acquired Evans from the company’s founder, Alejandro Silva, in partnership with existing management and industry veteran José Luis Prado, who joined the Company as CEO. Wind Point and José Luis identified pork rinds as an emerging product category driven by a clean and ethnic product format and growing Latino customer base. 
 
Alejandro Silva joined the new Board of Directors and remained a partial owner of the company. In addition to Alejandro, José Luis and Wind Point added strong independent directors that included Rick Lenny, former CEO of The Hershey Company and current Wind Point Executive Advisor Partner (EAP), and Rich Scalise, current Chairman of Hearthside (a former Wind Point portfolio company). 
 
Wind Point and José Luis transformed Evans through a combination of growth and productivity initiatives, along with two strategic add-on acquisitions. One particularly notable achievement was the new product development engine that was developed. In the years leading up to Wind Point’s acquisition, Evans performance had been flat. In order to jumpstart organic growth, immediately post-close José Luis and management implemented an aggressive and phased series of new innovations, including new flavors, new sizes, new packaging and new products. In the last year of Wind Point’s ownership, Evans had driven more than half of all “innovation growth” in the pork rinds category, which currently represents one of the fastest growing segments in all of salty snacks. The innovation initiatives, as well as other elements of Wind Point’s value creation plan, transformed Evans from a business with several years of no growth, to a company with double-digit organic EBITDA growth under Wind Point’s ownership. Furthermore, total employment at Evans increased 76% during Wind Point’s ownership. 
 
In August 2019 the company was sold and thanks to the transformation driven by José Luis and Wind Point, resulted in an outstanding equity return to investors.

Begun in 2010, the Portfolio Company of the Year Award recognizes a venture capital-backed and a private equity-backed company based on the following criteria:

  • Is/Was VC or PE backed, had a realized liquidity event in 2018 or 2019 and the exit was successful for investors 
  • Examples of a great outcome might include:
    • Great returns to investors
    • Speed to achieve key milestones
    • Impressive revenue growth
    • Impressive net growth
    • Impressive employment growth
    • Introduced a key and impactful technology
    • Turnaround story

Previous Awardees are:

2018:  The Stepping Stones Group (Private equity-backed)
2017: Kronos Foods (Private equity-backed)
2016: Sage Products (Private equity-backed)
2015: Sterigenics International (Private equity-backed)
2014: Fieldglass (Private equity-backed)
2013: Actient Pharmaceuticals (Private equity-backed)
2012:  Flexera Software (Private equity-backed)
2011:  Great Kitchens (Private equity-backed)
2010:  Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Private equity-backed)