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SBA-backed Financing Fuels Growth with Partner Buyout, Pandemic Relief

Situation
Founded in 2000, EXB Solutions provides systems engineering and embedded software development services for safety and mission-critical projects in the aerospace, defense, and medical technology industries. Its team of over 100 professional engineers create software solutions that have helped fly successful space missions, enhanced patients’ lives through innovative medical devices, and advanced commercial flight systems for safer travel. 

When Veteran Chris Schwartzbauer started working for the company early in 2012, it was as a consultant assisting with marketing and strategic planning to increase sales.  Based on what they observed, the owners of the company soon offered Schwartzbauer the role of CEO to reinvigorate the company. After helping it grow at a compound annual growth rate of twenty-seven percent since he started, when the owners approached Schwartzbauer with the opportunity to fulfill his own vision for the company, he decided to dive in and buy EXB Solutions in 2018. He had been given equity as part of his employment compensation, but still needed to find additional capital to buy out the other six partners. That is where the U.S. Small Business Administration came in and when the pandemic hit in 2020, Schwartzbauer turned to the SBA for assistance once again.

 

Solution
Working with Choice Bank in 2018, he used an SBA-backed loan to finance the partner equity buy-out. Then in 2020, with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, like many other small business owners, Schwartzbauer questioned whether the company should take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program.  Things had been going very well in the first quarter of 2020, but by the middle of the second quarter, they had gotten news that a big project was curtailed and suddenly business was cut in half and revenues decimated. They had great talent and knew that their Fortune 500 clients had work that would require their expertise, so they decided to take out a PPP loan.

 

Outcome
Since Schwartzbauer took over the business, EXB Solutions has grown 74.82 percent. In 2018, the company added some new tier one clients, and they ended their financial year with an all-time high revenue of 45% year over year.  EXB Solutions capped their 2019 fiscal year with a successful stint of embracing innovation, new teams, bigger client portfolio, realigning business services, and strategic growth efforts.

Taking out the PPP loan allowed the company to keep a large bench engineers on staff during the slow time and pivot to find new business. Now business is coming back, and they expect the fourth quarter of 2020 to be profitable again. “It is gratifying to see continued progress in our business, and particularly our team” says Chris Schwartzbauer. “In the last five years, we have achieved lofty milestone targets.  These results have been delivered by a great team.  The shutdowns due to COVID-19 had significant impact on our business, but the great engineers, office staff, and client-facing teams have rallied and re-established our position so that we are in great shape coming into 2021.  We are now actively hiring to support our future growth plans in 2021 and beyond,” he adds.