Case Detail

Case Summary

Loop Capital: Funding Growth in an Investment Bank

Case Number: 5-110-005, Year Published: 2010

HBS Number: KEL495

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Authors: Greg White; Jeff Borden; Scott Whitaker

Key Concepts

High-Growth Entrepreneurship, Investment Banking, Infrastructure Fund Management, Expansion, Municipal Bond Finance, Capital Commitment

Abstract

Jim Reynolds Jr. founded Loop Capital in 1997 as an investment bank specializing in bond sales for municipalities. Ten years later, with thirteen offices and almost 100 employees, Loop Capital was a national company and had brokered more than $800 billion of underwritings in equity, tax-exempt, and taxable fixed income markets. In the process of building its municipal finance and equity trading businesses, Loop Capital had developed close relationships with a number of government officials, large institutional money managers, and corporate executives. These customers began asking Loop Capital for help with other financial services, leading the firm to build corporate finance, tax-exempt, and taxable fixed-income platforms so it could offer a wider array of investment services.

Municipal and corporate finance as well as equity, taxable, and tax-exempt trading were generating positive cash flow. In a field where failures were frequent, Loop Capital was thriving, and Reynolds saw great but untapped potential in the company’s future. Over the past several years, Loop Capital had served as financial advisor to several municipalities that wanted to lease or sell public assets such as airports, toll roads, and seaports. Now he confronted several intriguing questions: Should he launch a $700 million infrastructure fund to invest in the types of deals the firm had helped structure? Did it make sense to invest in order to staff, market, and support the start-up of this new fund? If the fund was launched, should Loop Capital commit to the 1% investment likely to be required as the fund’s general partner?

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to start a new financial services firm/investment bank venture
  • Learn how an investment banking firm becomes successful at doing a few things well
  • Assess risks of expanding into a new line of business with a different business model
  • Examine differences between investment banking and fund management, and between high-growth entrepreneurship and lifestyle entrepreneurship
  • Examine the significance, if any, of being a minority entrepreneur
  • Number of Pages: 13

    Extended Case Information

    Teaching Areas: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Strategy

    Teaching Note Available: Yes

    Geographic: Chicago, Illinois, United States

    Industry: Investment Banking

    Organization Name: Loop Capital

    Organization Size: Medium

    Decision Maker Position: Founder and CEO

    Decision Maker Gender: Male

    Year of Case: 2008