Since 2005, John L. Ward has served as both an operating partner and general partner with private equity funds.

Private equity provides a significant percentage of the funding for mergers and acquisitions globally and is generally defined to include buyouts or investments in mature companies by equity limited partnerships. Equity value for investors is created by changes in governance, strategy and operations of existing companies. Private equity can be used to achieve alignment of management and ownership interests. With private equity capital, the management group normally maintains a significant ownership stake. Management thus is incented to act in a manner consistent with maximizing the interests of all shareholders. The use of debt also becomes an important tool for creating equity value with private equity.

Since 2005, John L. Ward has served as both an operating partner and general partner with private equity funds. In total, he has been actively involved in evaluating over 200 potential private equity investments which resulted in the acquisition of 15 companies with an aggregate enterprise value of approximately $250 million. In addition, through the firm’s proprietary Think Like an Investor® program, the firm also consults with a select group of early stage and mature companies to help them build enterprise value. We work closely with the senior management at these companies to improve their current product offering, expand their scope of services and more effectively serve their clientele. Our compensation normally includes a component that is equity-based. This section presents several representative private equity investments.

York Risk Services Group

York Risk Services Group (York) provides claims handling, specialized loss adjusting, pool administration, managed care services and other risk management services for public entities, industry programs, self-insured entities and insurance pools. York selectively targets market segments and clients that recognize and are willing to pay for the company’s ability to improve overall claim results and cost of risk rather than simply minimizing claim handling expenses. York is the largest catastrophe and large loss claims management firm in the industry. John L. Ward was a significant investor in York from April, 2005 until its successful exit in December, 2010 to ABRY Partners. During this period of ownership, eight add-on acquisitions were consummated. John L. Ward also served as a board member of York and Vice Chairman of the board.

Supply Dynamics

For more than a decade, Supply Dynamics has helped global Fortune 1000 manufacturing companies solve complex business challenges. The company provides best-in-class technology, processes and on-demand solutions to help address the challenges of managing sourcing, procurement and supply chain complexity in highly distributed manufacturing environments. Through his relationship with Queen City Angels, John L. Ward is an investor in Supply Dynamics.

KGS-Alpha Capital Markets

KGS-Alpha Capital Markets is a New York-based institutional fixed income broker-dealer focusing on asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, including credit and agency instruments. The company’s mission is to provide institutional customers with financial services in an expert, professional and ethical manner. The company’s management team has extensive background in the securities industry. John L. Ward was an investor in KGS-Alpha Capital Markets until its successful exit in May, 2018 to BMO Financial Group.


CRaKN has developed a disruptive and scalable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) administrative platform focusing initially on the death care industry (funeral home and cemetery operators). The death care industry is growing rapidly and there are currently over 20,000 funeral homes and over 10,000 cemetery operators based in the United States. Through his relationship with Queen City Angels, John L. Ward is an investor in CRaKN.


Coterie is a digital Managing General Agency focused on distributing insurance to the gig economy workforce. The company offers API-based insurance products with channel partners in a number of different industries, including building management, supply chain management, freight delivery and the freelance marketplace. John L. Ward is an investor in Coterie Applications and serves on its Board of Advisors.

Route Four

Route Four is the holding company for Hydroponics, Inc., a specialty retailer of agricultural supplies to regional hydroponic farmers operating primarily in southern California. The company is one of the largest independent hydroponic retailers in southern California as measured by revenues and SKUs. The company’s primary product lines are nutrients, lighting, soils and accessories. John L. Ward is an investor in Route Four.

Bert Thin Films

Bert Thin Films has developed a proprietary material that is a drop-in replacement for silver, a material that currently comprises approximately 10% of the cost of a solar panel. This replacement will potentially provide solar panel manufacturers with a significant increase in profitability and does not require any change to the manufacturing process or supply chain. The technology is based on work conducted at the University of Louisville that has produced two patents. Through his relationship with Queen City Angels, John L. Ward is an investor in Bert Thin Films.


DRKHORS Media has partnered with a mobile app developer to design and develop a suite of emojis, a growing form of communication that has become a permanent part of the communication process of humans across the globe. The company markets its emojis primarily through social media promotional images. John L. Ward is an investor in DRKHORS Media.