Cerca Group LLC was founded in 2009 by John Bingaman and Matthew Harney as a sector focused, stage-independent private investment firm. Cerca Group targets investments in business services, software and communications companies with enterprise values up to $50 million. Cerca Group partners with strong management teams to add value to businesses seeking to grow and expand. It leverages its network of relationships and its knowledge of target sectors to accelerate growth and improve operations.
Shortly after launching the firm, Cerca Group closed its first major investment deal. This accomplishment provided validation to the firm’s mission to help targeted businesses accelerate growth, and as a result of this early success, Cerca Group’s limited staff was intensely focused on seeking additional investments. In-house bookkeeping was not an option,” said Bingaman. “We could provide better service to our investors if we were focused on finding investments and adding value to them, while letting other skilled professionals help us with bookeeping and financial reporting.” Cerca Group began the search for a reputable resource that could handle all financial and tax reporting for the company’s investments. An exhaustive online search brought up PEF.
“They have proven to be valuable counsel on a whole range of opportunities
apart from just a purely administrative function.”
— John Bingaman, Managing Principal, Cerca Group
“We have relationships with many SBICs so we’re familiar with that market. We liked the fact that PEF Services had partnered with many SBICs, and their excellent reputation preceded them,” said Bingaman, who also noted that Cerca Group welcomed the individual attention that PEF Services offered.“We would get lost in the shuffle at a big firm, and PEF Services recognized that we wanted to be active and grow together.”
PEF Services newly formed partnership with Cerca Group required immediate integration into their business. PEF Services recognized that Cerca Group’s investors expected its principals to enhance the value of its investments, while PEF Services provides bookkeeping, financial reporting and tax services. Cerca Group communicated to investors that PEF Services would provide them the required expertise in private fund administration and reporting. Investors received peace of mind that fund administration would be properly conducted from the beginning. “Cerca Group entered the market during a volatile period for private equity, so it was vital for us to assure the company and its investors that we had the background and skills to handle growth and opportunity in the future,” said Anne Anquillare, president of PEF Services.
PEF Services’ seasoned professionals studied the specific needs of the Cerca Group team.“We recognized that their challenge was to focus 100 percent on their portfolios or investments, which included recruiting, planning, acquisition sourcing, referrals and other strategic tasks,” said Anquillare. “Our role was to provide operational strength, consistency and support, so that they could focus on increasing the value of their investments.”
PEF Services recommended that Cerca Group streamline its services and position the company for future expansion. “We brought fully trained, certified industry experts to the Cerca Group team, and also developed custom documented processes for their reporting needs using the most targeted technology available,” said Beth Manzi, COO of PEF Services.
Over the course of the relationship, PEF Services has proactively helped Cerca Group structure new investment opportunities, and has also provided effective tax solutions.
“They have proven to be valuable counsel on a whole range of opportunities apart from just a purely administrative function,” said Bingaman.“We have a number of responsibilities to our investors, and financial and tax reporting is at the core. If we’re not doing the fundamentals properly, it’s hard to convince investors that we are creating value,” said Bingaman.
PEF Services has also helped position Cerca Group for future growth.“PEF understood our need for flexible, customized solutions, and now we are poised to be active and grow together,” said Bingaman.