The Smart Business Dealmakers Dealmaker of the Year Awards recognize exceptional individuals who are shaping the landscape of business and innovation in Charlotte.
The 2023 class of winners — who will be recognized October 26 at the Charlotte Smart Business Dealmakers Conference — span a range of industries.
The recipients are:
Director of SC Launch
SCRA/SC Launch Inc.
Matthew Bell is a driving force as the Director of SC Launch at SCRA/SC Launch Inc., a prominent figure in the investment industry. He supports early-stage companies in South Carolina, fostering innovation through coaching, networking, grants, and seed investments. This assistance is crucial, especially when securing capital is challenging. Under his guidance, the SC Launch program serves as a vital vetting and investment platform, often leading to further funding for promising ventures. Bell epitomizes social impact, driving innovation and economic growth in South Carolina's tech ecosystem.
Vice President of Business Development
Sean Healy, Keswick Partners' Vice President of Business Development, is leading an industrials-focused private equity firm in the Southeast. Keswick specializes in investing in family/founder-owned manufacturers, distributors, and service providers generating $2 million to $6 million in cash flows. In 2022, they raised a $100 million fund and swiftly closed three inaugural-year platform investments, including two in North Carolina. Keswick is renowned for partnering with multi-generational, family-owned businesses, providing succession planning liquidity solutions. With founders boasting over 85 years of lower-middle market experience, Keswick considers both majority and minority investments in established companies, making Healy a key player in their strategic growth.
Thompson Child & Family Focus
Will Jones is the President and CEO of Thompson Child & Family Focus, a venerable nonprofit human services organization with a legacy dating back to 1886. Under Jones' leadership since 2017, Thompson has experienced remarkable growth through both organic expansion and strategic acquisitions. Notably, he initiated a comprehensive rebuilding of the executive team. Today, Thompson stands as a formidable force in the field, boasting a dedicated workforce of over 400 employees and a profound impact on nearly 4,000 children and their families each year. Jones epitomizes a commitment to enhancing the lives of vulnerable individuals and strengthening communities through his leadership at Thompson.
2ULaundry & LaundroLab
Alex Smereczniak is the CEO of 2ULaundry & LaundroLab, a trailblazing provider of on-demand laundry and dry cleaning services with a subscription-based approach. In January 2023, Smereczniak orchestrated a remarkable feat by securing $20 million in funding through a combination of debt and Series B venture investments, spearheaded by Level 5 Capital Partners, elevating the company's pre-money valuation to $60 million. This successful funding round also saw participation from undisclosed investors. With this financial boost, 2ULaundry & LaundroLab is poised to expand its physical presence and extend its convenient services to families across the United States, cementing Smereczniak's role as a visionary leader in the laundry and cleaning industry.
Co-Founder & CEO
Teddy Fitzgibbons is the Co-Founder and CEO of StreetFair, an innovative online marketplace bridging communities with local home maintenance companies. StreetFair has been making waves, with its latest funding round spearheaded by Craft Ventures of San Francisco, the same firm that led its successful seed round in 2022. Craft Ventures boasts visionary investors like David Sacks, formerly of PayPal and Yammer, and Jeff Fluhr, formerly of StubHub. The recent funding round also saw contributions from notable investors such as 1984 Ventures, 1Sharpe Ventures, and Charlotte Fund. Fitzgibbons is at the helm of StreetFair's mission to revolutionize how neighborhoods connect with essential home services.
Founder, Managing Partner
Steve Buchanan is the Founder and Managing Partner of Mosaic Capital, a dynamic private equity firm specializing in investments within the lower middle market, targeting companies with EBITDA ranging from $3 million to $12 million through innovative Employee Stock Ownership Plan transactions. In 2021, Buchanan and Mosaic Capital played a pivotal role in the formation of Zero Waste Recycling, LLC, a notable ESOP. This strategic move garnered support from financial partners like Lafayette Square, Morgan Stanley Private Credit, and Impact Engine, affirming Mosaic Capital's commitment to fostering employee ownership and providing substantial retirement benefits to eligible, full-time employees. Buchanan embodies a visionary approach to investment, aligning profitability with the well-being of the workforce.