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Meriwether Group Capital Launched to Support Pacific Northwest Entrepreneurs

Published : Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 9:04 am
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Hero Fund will seek to meet the lending needs of entrepreneurs not served by traditional lenders.

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Newly-formed Meriwether Group Capital (MWGC) launched this month to make commercial loans available to businesses that fall outside the criteria required by traditional lenders. The MWGC Hero Fund focuses on small to mid-sized companies that meet the fund’s revenue qualifications and financial needs. The new lender operates in partnership with Meriwether Group, the 20-year Portland firm known for the accelerator and advisory services it has provided to companies like Voodoo Doughnuts, Dave’s Killer Bread, Stumptown Coffee, Alpenrose Dairy, and dozens of other well-known brands in the Pacific Northwest.


Leading the effort are Meriwether Group Capital owners and operators, Jamie Shulman and Mike Ferguson, who both bring more than 20 years of commercial banking experience to the business. Partnering with them are Seattle-based First Fed Bank, a division of First Northwest Bancorp (Nasdaq: FNWB), and Meriwether Group, led by David Howitt.

With a focus on spurring entrepreneurship, Meriwether Group Capital will capitalize the Hero Fund through qualified individual and institutional investors. They plan to close the funding gap across a broad set of industries by expanding access to debt financing, and will help entrepreneurs realize their potential while maintaining equity and control, rather than selling an ownership stake. The Hero Fund is expected to serve companies with $2 million to $75 million in revenue who are in need of $500,000 to $5 million to capitalize on business opportunities.

“I have seen countless companies walk out the door with a need and a strong business case for borrowing, alongside a clear path to satisfying the debt, that are just outside that institution’s mandate for lending,” said Jamie Shulman, co-founder and fund manager at Meriwether Group Capital. “We know that there is an underserved niche with demand for the lending we offer, along with a great deal of investor interest. At a time when entrepreneurship is more accessible than ever before, we want to be in a position to fill a need, help foster small businesses, and be an economic driver for the Pacific Northwest and beyond.”

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, shattering the record-breaking 4.4 million filed in 2020. Many businesses today cannot access traditional bank lending.

“Businesses have three ways to fund growth—cash flow, selling ownership, or debt. The best businesses find the right blend of all three,” said David Howitt, founder and CEO of Meriwether Group. “The opportunity to help businesses scale, hire more people, and build community while, at the same time, providing well above market interest to our investors, makes the Hero Fund an important offering.”

The Meriwether Group Capital Team
Jamie Shulman ​​is a banking veteran with more than 25 years of experience in lending, management, mentorship and strategic planning, most recently as Portland Market President for Summit Bank. In addition to Summit, Shulman has held senior executive roles at Northwest Bank, BBVA and US Bank. Shulman is the primary contact for investors, and can be reached at jamie(at)meriwethergroupcapital(dot)com.

Mike Ferguson has 20 years of commercial lending and management experience in banking and private lending, most recently as chief lending officer at Lewis & Clark Bank. In roles with Lewis & Clark Bank, Northwest Bank, and elsewhere, Ferguson has developed commercial deal flow, underwrote and structured commercial credit products, and managed both credit and loan operations teams. As a fund manager in the private lending arena, his leadership, loan sourcing, underwriting, portfolio monitoring, and day-to-day management were critical elements in generating returns that were consistently in excess of 10 percent.

About First Fed
First Northwest Bancorp (Nasdaq: FNWB) is a bank holding company engaged in investment activities including the business activity of its subsidiary, First Fed Bank. First Fed is a community-oriented financial institution which has served customers and communities since 1923. Currently First Fed has 16 locations in Washington state including 12 full-service branches. First Fed’s business and operating strategy is focused on building sustainable earnings by delivering a full array of financial products and services for individuals, small business, and commercial customers. Additionally, First Fed focuses on strategic partnerships with financial technology (“fintech”) companies to develop and deploy digitally focused financial solutions to meet customers’ needs on a broader scale. FNWB also invests in fintech companies directly as well as through select venture capital partners. In 2021, the Company entered a joint venture to found Quin, a fintech focused on financial wellness and lifestyle protection for consumers nationwide. Other fintech partnership initiatives include banking-as-a-service, digital payments and marketplace lending. FNWB was incorporated in 2012 and is headquartered in Port Angeles, Washington.

About Meriwether Group
Meriwether Group is an advisor and business acceleration firm serving entrepreneurs of iconic, disruptive consumer brands. The firm consists of a complementary team of accomplished entrepreneurs, corporate executives, financiers, and lawyers. Meriwether Group’s team uses a unique and effective methodology to accelerate desired outcomes for businesses and their leaders in a brand-centric way. Motivated by its mission to help entrepreneurs Fulfill Their Journey, the firm applies this ethos across a set of business units that represent a continuum of an entrepreneur’s journey including launch, growth, financing, and exits. Meriwether Group was founded in 2004 and has offices in the Slabtown neighborhood of NW Portland and in Marin County, north of San Francisco. It can be found online at meriwethergroup.com.

About Meriwether Group Capital
Meriwether Group Capital (MWGC) is a commercial lender with a focus on Pacific Northwest businesses seeking loans outside the criteria for traditional banking. Founded in 2022, its Hero Fund is expected to serve companies with $2 to $75 million in revenue who are in need of $500,000 to $5 million to capitalize on business opportunities and realize their potential while maintaining equity and control. The company is a partnership between Jamie Shulman and Mike Ferguson, both commercial bankers with more than 20 years of experience in the market, Seattle-based First Fed Bank, a division of First Northwest Bancorp (Nasdaq: FNWB), and Portland-based Meriwether Group. The company is located in the Slabtown neighborhood of NW Portland and can be reached at 503-223-9062.


Contacts

Meriwether Group contact:
Ryan Leverenz
Leverenz & Associates
503-480-5096 mobile
ryan@leverenz.com



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