Standing Out from the Crowd:
Auxilior Unveils an Innovative, Service-Based Supply Chain Sales Model Built on People and Technology
A team of familiar faces — led by Steve Grosso — have created a new supply chain sales catalyst company founded on people and technology. As a well-capitalized startup with an experienced management team, Auxilior Capital Partners is poised for exponential growth as it focuses on service, innovation and increasing the sales and market share of its partners.
The first thing you see when you walk through the door of Auxilior Capital Partners is the company’s logo. In the center of a blue shield, flanked by a pair of crossed swords, stands a red bull on its hind legs over the words “Above All Serve, Innovate, Solve.” Auxilior, a Latin word, aptly means “to serve.”
Once through those doors, however, Auxilior President and CEO Steve Grosso contends that the newest player in equipment finance is reimagining the service model through a combination of bleeding-edge technology and decentralized management.
“Our intention is to be the leading supply chain sales catalyst in the North American market, and the foundation of that is service,” Grosso said.
Grosso is joined by a veteran “team of all stars” that considers itself family, including Chief Operating Officer Don Campbell (who Grosso contends is the “Hall of Famer”), Chief Commercial Officer Jeremy Borkowski, Chief Legal Officer David Verlizzo, Chief Administrative Officer Marty Babicki, VP of Operating Systems and Technology Maryellen Barbarish and SVP of Marketing and Communications Kathie Capparelli plus several new faces, including Chief Financial Officer Karthik Viswanathan.
Though Auxilior’s management team may look familiar to many in equipment finance, the team is building a company that looks vastly different. Viswanathan says that Auxilior will be known for financial technology that enables growth, powered by an open architecture unencumbered by legacy systems that can allow parties to streamline everything from major supply chain planning to rudimentary day-to-day functions such as electronic documentation.
“When manufacturers, distributors, dealers and end customers have the ability to transact quickly, all parties can grow and there’s a cascading benefit to everybody,” Viswanathan says. “I think of this value creation as lifting a whole lot of people up at the same time.”
Financed and Focused
The company is incredibly well-capitalized for a startup, swinging the weight of a stainless-steel sword thanks to the backing of Mizuho Bank, the world’s 14th largest bank Marubeni, ranked 165 on the Fortune Global 500 and Patriot Capital and Patriot Capital, a U.S. based leading private equity bank funder.
“The capital that we have raised is enormous for what you would call an early-stage company,” Campbell says, adding that the company’s initial backing allowed Auxilior an early entrance into the capital markets in which some of the largest banks in the world were happy to set up warehouse lines with accordion features for anticipated growth.
Auxilior has several prongs in its go-to market strategy, aligning both with original equipment manufacturers in the construction and transportation space as well as their dealers to create different sales opportunities as the equipment moves through the supply chain.
“That includes wholesale financing provided to the dealers with the OEM sponsorship, just like inventory finance report planning and a retail sale that happens at the dealership,” Borkowski said. “We want to be at that point of sale. And finally, we have a commercial direct business.”
According to Borkowski, Auxilior is currently active in three large vertical markets — construction and infrastructure, transportation and logistics, and franchise finance — and the team is working to activate two more — healthcare and bank outsourcing — in 2022.
Technology and Holacracy
Auxilior was built on two foundational elements: technology and people. During the height of the pandemic, the team had a unique opportunity to focus on technology and was able to build a new model without the “legacy hangover” experienced by more established companies. Several members of Auxilior’s management team are quick to point out the rapid pace of consumer finance technology that is embedded, expected and capable of delivering to your door.
“Those trends are emerging on the capital equipment side,” Borkowksi said. “Our investment in technology provides the sales-aid tools for equipment manufacturers, where they can create a frictionless, easy experience for their customers. Whether it’s at the dealership or directly online.”
Barbarish says Auxilior is building a culture that fosters innovation by encouraging employees to look at everything they do and measure their impact on others — both internally and with customers. “We believe our employees can best identify where pain points are and what needs to be addressed,” Barbarish said. “By encouraging them to come up with innovative ways to solve problems, we ultimately will get to a better solution to more efficient platforms and better customer experience.”
To achieve this, Auxilior has blended together a veteran leadership group that has either witnessed or driven every inflection point in the equipment financing industry over the past three decades – “There is an enormous advantage when the right hand really does know what the left is doing,” Grosso says – with a team of employees that is younger and more diverse in backgrounds than is typical for the industry.
The key to this mixture being a success, Grosso said, is creating a culture of holacracy, one in which decisions are made quickly and decisively by smaller groups and not weighed down by the regulations and compliance that banks might face. The goal, Grosso said, is to create a more consumer-like experience in the finance industry. Thus, any project under consideration must meet three criteria – it has to innovate, solve a problem or provide a service.
“When you have a holacratic team, it’s made up of people that have different skills and different subject matter expertise, and they’re bringing value that the team can then use to arrive at a consensus,” Grosso said. “My belief is this team knows what to do. Get the people in the room who need to be in the room and let them work on a project and get it done. You don’t need 25 people in the room.”
Rather, Auxilior has created an innovation collaboration room that no one may enter alone but is typically filled with a small team represented by the credit, documentation, customer service and sales teams. Once that team reaches consensus and its recommendations are approved, it is empowered with autonomy to execute. With more efficient methods being employed internally, it allows Auxilior to methodically evaluate its relationships externally.
“We’re a company of measurement,” Grosso said. “Most importantly, we measure what’s important to our partners. We meet quarterly with the management of these companies and sometimes those meetings are tough, but they help us become better and that’s how you grow these relationships. Feedback is a gift. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
Fast Track to the Future
Looking ahead five years into the future, the Auxilior team is excited about what they will create together.
“With the team that we have in place and the talented people who are joining that, there’s no doubt that we’ll achieve our purpose to become the North American market leader in financial logistics programs,” Capparelli says. “We have highly energized experienced industry people, and we have a lot of emerging leaders here — younger people who are super smart from an IQ and an EQ perspective who believe in service.”
Campbell says Auxilior chooses its partners selectively, not wanting “a thousand relationships that are three inches deep,” but larger, more visible programs with companies that rank at the top of their industries for which bespoke programs that generate significant volume can be crafted. Despite being with Auxilior a little more than six months, Campbell is astounded by what the company has accomplished and said it would be disappointing if Auxilior has not reached $2 billion in assets by the end of that five-year window.
“The rate of speed that we’re growing, the opportunities that we have and the people that we’re fortunate enough to be able to recruit and hire — this is a journey, it’s not a light switch,” Campbell said. “But it’s going to grow very, very fast and it’s going to be very successful.”