Buying businesses and maintaining their culture while exploring opportunities for growth, without the aim to sell them for a quick buck. This is the legacy entrepreneur, Kosi Stobbs, is building through his new venture, Owl Group of Companies.
Kosi Stobbs is fondly referred to as ‘The Owl.’ Like his namesake, he is astute, wise, and continuously on the prowl. Only Stobbs is prowling for successful businesses to buy and grow. He started his entrepreneurial journey in 2016 by founding Property Owl, an acquisition firm focused on real estate investment. More recently, he has expanded his vision to move into investing in businesses in other industries with the aim of helping them grow to success.
He is now the founder of Owl Group of Companies, which owns multiple operating companies including Vital Manufacturing, Specific Mechanical Systems, Vertex and Silver State Stainless.
“I buy companies, primarily established companies, where the owners are looking to hand the torch over to someone who will help support, grow and prosper it,” he explains on his website. Through a strategic purchase process, Owl Group of Companies will guide any company through a seamless acquisition transition and protect the business’s culture and legacy. In four efficient steps, they will work to understand and protect the long-term goals of the business, perform all operational, financial, and legal due diligence on the company, make the purchase, and spend as much time as needed ensuring a seamless transition that works for all.
Buying Businesses During A Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic definitely had an impact on his business, both positively and negatively. “The pandemic was full of challenges,” he says. “Through challenges come opportunities though. Most of the growth and acquisitions we’ve done happened in the two years of the pandemic that we’ve seen to date. The pandemic made things happen quicker. It made things that were going to happen eventually, happen sooner.”
Stobbs believes that the pandemic has been an important learning curve for businesses and their leaders. Businesses need to be able to plan for unforeseeable circumstances and remain resilient even when things in the world go awry. “Looking at how to position yourself in times like this is important because you have to expect some sort of a downturn,” he says. “That has to be in your business plan. You have to think that way. You don’t know what it’s going to be or how it’s going to shake out but your business has to be able to withstand downturns. Thankfully, we grew both in terms of size and revenues and each of our operating companies.”
The performance of a company during the pandemic has also been a factor in the acquisition decisions the company has made recently. “I make the decisions on what companies we are going to acquire and how to structure them – we buy operating companies that have been successful and growing throughout the pandemic,” he says.
The Group Aims To Grow
“This year, we’re on a strong growth curve,” says Stobbs. “We do over $100 million dollars a year in revenue. We’ve got a strong growth trajectory and a lot of good companies in the pipeline that fit our model. We’re hoping to continue to grow so we’ve set big targets to achieve for the next year. We build five-year plans, rethink them, and then ask how we can achieve them in a year,” he says.
With this massive growth curve, expansion is inevitable. “We’re in Canada and the United States. We started in Canada but by the end of the year, we’ll probably have more companies in the USA than we do in Canada. We specialize in the manufacturing space because we see it as being critical to the global supply chain long term.”
He has plans to extend the extent of his acquisitions internationally in the future. “Some of our companies are in 20 to 30 countries. The more customers you have globally, the more it starts to make sense to have a presence globally. As you get to a certain size, it makes sense to acquire companies overseas. Our next step will be in Europe,” he says.
What Does The Future Hold For Stobbs
“I’ve always wanted to build a multi-billion dollar enterprise,” he says. “It’s been in my head for a very long time, and we’re on a very clear path of achieving that as a company.”
His drive to build a thriving enterprise stems from his roots. His parents are immigrants from Jamaica and he credits them with his determination to be a success in all of his ventures. “My parents were such hard workers and they sacrificed so much for their children. My dad was a brilliant person. So was my mom. They never had high paying jobs, but they worked hard every day so their children could have the opportunity to go to high school. They didn’t have the opportunity to do that. They created the foundation for where I am. I am forever grateful,” he says.
“I know my life is different. If I grew up in Jamaica, this would never have happened,” he explains. “I believe I was blessed with the opportunities I have been given. I believe when you’re blessed in this way, you have to try and try to find ways to give back. That’s why I want to build an enterprise. Then we can have a good amount of capital to do amazing things: You can create opportunities for people to work or you can take the investment and capital you make and reinvest it into other areas of the world that don’t have an education system and help build those systems. That’s the long term goal. I’m in my 40s now, and if I can be doing that when I’m in my 50s and 60s, I’ll be truly blessed with what I’ve done in my life.”
Clive Vanderwagen, Writer