December 14, 2017

Rand Capital invests $1.5M in Tilson's $5M investment round

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Joshua Broder, CEO of Portland-based Tilson Technology Management Inc., said his company has received a $1.5 million follow-on investment from Rand Capital Corp. as part of a successful $5 million investment round to fund its continuing growth as a company.

About Tilson Technologies Management Inc.

Founded in 1996 and based in Portland, Tilson is an award-winning, veteran-owned information technology professional services and network deployment firm. The company primarily operates in two fast growing markets: 1) network deployment for cellular carriers, utilities, and governments; and 2) consulting for construction IT, broadband and energy, and government institutional markets.

Half of its employees are military veterans, and so is Broder.

Recognized for its sustained high growth, Tilson has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private U.S. companies for seven consecutive years, from 2011 through 2017. As a result of this distinction, Tilson joins a select group of firms on the Inc. 5000 "Honor Roll," a milestone which just two percent of the Inc. 5000 companies ever achieve, according to the publisher. Tilson has grown more than 410% to become one of the top 25 telecommunications firms on the list as of 2016.

About Rand Capital

Rand Capital is a Business Development Company (BDC) and its first wholly owned subsidiary is licensed by the U.S. SBA as a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC). Its second SBIC is undergoing the approval process with the SBA. Rand focuses its equity investments in early or expansion stage companies and generally lends to more mature companies. Rand looks for strong leadership that is bringing to market new or unique products, technologies or services that have a high potential for growth.

Rand Capital Corp., a publicly traded business development firm, will fund a $1.5 million follow-on investment in Portland-based Tilson Technology Management Inc.

Rand's investment consists of an infusion of both equity and debt capital. Rand (NASDAQ: RAND), which is based in Buffalo, N.Y., invests in growth businesses with unique product, service or technology concepts.

Tilson CEO Joshua Broder told Mainebiz today in a telephone interview that Rand's investment is part of a successful $5 million round of financing to support his company's growth, involving both private and other investors that include CEI Ventures Inc.'s Coastal Ventures Fund.

"It was the last leg of the financing round," Broder said of Rand's investment. "We're having a big growth year and we're anticipating an even bigger year in 2018."

"This recent financing round, including Rand's and the SBA's ongoing support, is a critical part of Tilson's future growth," Broder stated in a news release announcing the Rand investment. "Over the past year or so, we have added approximately 150 employees to our team, putting us at nearly 400 currently, to service our customers and execute our increasingly large projects. We have around $100 million in new network construction backlog, and see growing opportunities ahead."

Broder noted that Tilson last week broke ground on a $4 million intelligent transportation network for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and this week completed a design for a large city-scale fiber optic network on the West Coast.

"We are building America's information infrastructure," he said. "It's exciting to be on the leading edge of the information economy."

Including this transaction, Rand's investment in Tilson totals $2.5 million, invested in three separate financings.

Rand touts Tilson's performance

In the Rand Capital news release announcing its $1.5 million investment in Tilson, Rand Executive Vice President Daniel P. Penberthy noted that one of the tenets of the company's investment strategy "is to align with qualified and experienced management teams."

"We are proud of Tilson's CEO, Josh Broder, who was named as a 'Top Young Professional' in New England and one of America's 'Top 20 Under 40' professionals in commercial engineering and construction, both awarded by Engineering News-Record," Penberthy stated. "Under Josh's leadership, the company has been awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2017 Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year Award for Maine and New England."

Penberthy said Tilson's SBA award and the investment by Rand's subsidiary, which derives its capital from the SBA, give evidence of "the SBA's commitment to support high-growth veteran-owned businesses in underserved areas."


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