‘I bet with my feet’: Why an investment bank CEO left Seattle for Austin

Connie Wilson Joins Cascadia Capital as Vice President of Business Development

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, is pleased to announce that Connie (Wessman) Wilson has joined the firm to augment Cascadia’s coverage team as a Vice President of Business Development. Connie will work with our close colleagues in the dealmaking community to enhance deal flow and referrals, as well as our experienced industry bankers to build long-term relationships with business owners and high-growth companies across the U.S.

Prior to joining Cascadia, Connie fostered deep relationships with middle market companies as a Vice President, Relationship Manager at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She was classically trained in credit underwriting prior to her role in relationship management.

“I could not be more excited to add Connie to the team,” said Katherine Bellows, Managing Director. “Her years of experience and strong relationships further strengthen our coverage capabilities and will allow us to identify and create more opportunities and deliver greater value to our clients and partners.”

“I’m thrilled join the Cascadia team during this time of significant growth and momentum,” added Connie. “I have a passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners, which is a perfect cultural fit with Cascadia’s long-term relationship and client first orientation.”

Investors Reward Innovation and Seek Decentralization in Clinical Trials Technology and Pharma Services

The clinical trials technology and pharma services markets have long been ripe for innovation. Despite their role as an essential component of pharmaceutical development and efficacy, clinical trials have mostly succeeded in spite of themselves — typically crossing the finish line snarled in their own inefficiency, expense, and red tape. Slow and cumbersome recruitment efforts can send a trial back to square one on a dime, wasting valuable time and money: the average clinical trial comes with a price tag measured in millions of dollars per day and typically takes upwards of 10 years to complete. In addition, the historical centralization of activity has only served to extend timelines and diminish access and equity, reducing data accuracy across underrepresented populations.

In a recent amplification of fundraising activity, however, investors are taking note of companies that provide unique solutions to these enduring issues, investing in companies bringing technological advancements to the forefront of the clinical trials and pharma services ecosystems. Companies looking to follow suit have a massive opportunity to not only have successful financial outcomes but also genuinely change the healthcare landscape for the better, ultimately benefitting patients who desperately need new treatments to improve or save their lives.

Investors Are Quickly Taking Notice of Disruptive Technology That Increases Efficiency

With the recent innovative technology deployments in the clinical trials and pharma services environment, more data is flowing through the pipes than ever. Workflow service providers and data & interoperability companies are leveraging automation and technology to disrupt outdated models, benefiting trial sponsors and patients. Companies are also taking advantage of recent AI and machine learning advancements to absolve workflow issues, bringing immense value to pharmaceutical companies with increased process capacity, speed, and flexibility.

In 2021, the largest 20 pharmaceutical companies spent ~25% of their revenue, on average, on drug research and development (1). With the sheer volume of dollars funneled toward these efforts, it stands to reason that investors are eagerly searching to find and back solutions that make clinical trials more efficient and affordable.

As the ecosystem strives to become more streamlined and connected, tech-enabled health solutions that previously thrived under an initial operating umbrella may find more favorable homes under new, larger ownership with enhanced connectivity and reach. Our team recently worked with Inspirata on the sale of its digital pathology business to Fujifilm Corporation — a transaction that represents a bridge being built in the technological gap between pathology, radiology, and oncology to facilitate a more collaborative approach to care delivery (2). Large, diversified conglomerates, including Fujifilm and many other competitors with healthcare business stakes, are positioning for the rapid advancements on the technology front to stay competitive over the long haul and continue serving the pharma ecosystem.

Aspects of the clinical trials process that have historically served as speed bumps, like patient recruitment and randomization, have also seen massive improvements and increased attention from companies looking to disrupt stale processes. Randomizing a patient into a trial (successfully matching for the trial therapy and study) has historically generated far less than a 3% likelihood of success. This issue is newly being confronted with automation, machine learning, enhanced PCP networks — and even social media campaigns — to match suitable patients to the correct trials and address workflow issues.

We also recently worked with the team at SubjectWell, the largest engagement platform for matching patients with chronic health conditions to new care options, on a $35 million fundraise to accelerate the growth of its existing software-driven recruitment efforts(3). SubjectWell serves nearly all of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, matching patients using its proprietary software engine and producing randomization rates far above industry standards.

“SubjectWell expands access to clinical trials by engaging the 96% of the population that has never participated in clinical research,” said SubjectWell CEO Ivor Clarke. “This approach allows us to engage a much more diverse patient population as we register 250,000 new patients per month.”(4)

Medable, a cloud platform for patient-centered clinical research, last year announced a $304 million fundraise, the proceeds of which are focused on “using digital technologies to make clinical trials accessible for everyone everywhere, bringing effective therapies to patients faster.”(5)

Technological innovations that increase efficiency — and the companies that deploy them — have therefore piqued investor interest and turbocharged funding activity. Faster trials and increased patient recruitment success can save customers hundreds of millions of dollars in direct costs and time to market. A value proposition that compelling to pharmaceutical companies is a bright green light for investors who may want to tap into the pharmaceutical market without taking on the risk of potentially landing on the wrong side of a failed clinical trial.

Decentralization: Bringing Trials to All Patients

Efforts to decentralize the clinical trials process have not only made it easier to recruit qualified patients, they have also served to increase the diversity and representation of patients that are ultimately admitted. This increase in patient recruitment, retention, and data diversity leads to an increased sample size of accurate data and faster trials — ultimately saving money and lives. All of the above can be compelling to investors. In some cases, it may also contribute to satisfying the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) mandates of their underlying Limited Partners.

Two larger trends in healthcare have played a major role in decentralizing the ecosystem: consumerization and the implementation of remote patient monitoring technologies. Companies like Walmart, CVS, Kroger, and Walgreens have begun to move into the primary care and clinical trials spaces, broadening the access and scope of trials. Remote patient monitoring technologies allow patients to be observed in their own homes at any step of the process, and the data garnered can efficiently return to stakeholders in a free flow of information, saving precious time and money.

Investors have taken note of companies taking steps toward decentralization, shown in fundraisings such as Paradigm’s $203 million Series A, announced in January 2023. The platform was created with the mission to “build a more equitable clinical research ecosystem” and “make clinical trials a care option for all patients.”(6)

Our experience in the market suggests that if a company has the ability to contribute to decentralization — thereby decreasing time and cost and increasing access and data accuracy for the broader population— this further adds to the appeal for investors.

Checking the Sector’s Vitals

The clinical trials technology and pharma services sectors are much sturdier compared to others in the broader healthcare landscape, only further facilitating investor activity in the space. Drug sales are generally resistant to macroeconomic conditions, leading to the sector’s defensible position against the broader market. Although the industry saw a slight decline/flat trend of -4.7% in transaction activity and volume from 2021 to 2022, the change was substantially smaller when compared to the 21.5%(7) drop in broader healthcare technology and digital health.

Investor attention on the space is at an all-time high, and not just on the private markets side. In a year where strategics lie largely dormant on the M&A front with their market caps hammered, we have seen robust interest, and more strategic activity happening here than in any other space.

Investors of all stripes are looking for consistent year-over-year growth, diversification in the customer base and areas of focus, strong gross margins through competitive differentiation, and a clear path to profitability.

A Future of Innovation and Activity

Over the last few years, companies have worked to breathe new life into the lagging clinical trials and pharma services sectors, infusing innovative technologies into historically inefficient components of the clinical trials process. Patient randomization and recruitment have always been clunky, failure-prone constituents, and clinical trials data has been traditionally tough to unlock.

Clinical trials technology and pharma services companies have raised millions to focus on placing the right patients in the proper trials, speeding up workflows, and cutting costs. The ecosystem’s decentralization has also contributed to making trials more accessible and equitable while reducing timelines and budgets. Sturdiness against macro conditions and the relative viability of individual, innovative companies continue to drive investor demand in these sectors.

The Cascadia team is active in ongoing discussions with companies and investors in the clinical trials technology and pharma services sectors. We are happy to lend our insights and experience as you evaluate your own next steps.

Reach out to our team to learn more


(1) https://www.drugdiscoverytrends.com/pharmas-top-20-rd-spenders-in-2021/
(2) https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/12/19/2576269/0/en/Fujifilm-Announces-A%5B%E2%80%A6%5Dc-to-acquire-the-company-s-Digital-Pathology-Business.html
(3) https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221020005185/en/SubjectWell-Raises-35-Million-to-Expand-Patient-Access-to-New-Treatment-Options
(4) https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221020005185/en/SubjectWell-Raises-35-Million-to-Expand-Patient-Access-to-New-Treatment-Options
(5) https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211026005489/en/Medable-Secures-304-Million-in-Funding-at-2.1-Billion-Valuation-New-Round-Co-Led-by-Blackstone-Growth-GSR-Ventures-and-Tiger-Global
(6) https://www.paradigm.inc/news/paradigm-launches-to-rebuild-clinical-research
(7) https://rockhealth.com/insights/2022-year-end-digital-health-funding-lessons-at-the-end-of-a-funding-cycle/

Cascadia Capital Advises C-A-L Ranch Stores in Merger with Coastal Farm & Home

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to C-A-L Ranch Stores, a leading farm and ranch retailer with 33 locations across Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona, in its merger with Coastal Farm & Ranch, a leading ranch and country lifestyle retailer with 21 locations in the Pacific Northwest. Nolan Capital, current majority partner of Coastal, retains a majority stake in the combined business, which will now operate 54 retail locations across 6 states with over 2,200 associates.

Founded in 1959, C-A-L Ranch is a category-leading ranch and lifestyle retailer for a growing population of country lifestyle shoppers, outdoor enthusiasts, pet owners, hobby farmers and more. There are great synergies between C-A-L and Coastal and over one hundred years of successful farm and ranch retail experience collectively.

“Building C-A-L Ranch into the company it is today has been a great accomplishment by our team, and I am proud of our support for the communities we serve,” said Jerry Ward, majority owner of C-A-L. “This decision was made with the utmost care for my family, our employees and the company’s future. We are excited about the combination of two great companies and I am confident this business is set up for continued success.”

The combination of these two great businesses creates an enormous amount of value and opportunity. We are thrilled to be partnering with Jerry and Tom who have built C-A-L Ranch into a leading player and best-in-class operator in the farm and ranch retail industry,” said Peter Nolan, Chairman of Nolan Capital.

“Farm and ranch lifestyle retail has been the fastest-growing physical retail channel over the past decade. This unique business combination creates a significant regional footprint in the Western United States with exceptional operating capabilities. The combined business is poised to continue to grow into a national platform and become a key consolidator in the channel,” said James Cartales, Managing Director of Cascadia Capital.

The transaction represents another successful deal for Cascadia in the retail sector. Past transactions include the recapitalization of Three Bears Alaska and the sale of Second Ave Value Stores.

For more information about this transaction, please contact a Cascadia Capital Consumer, Retail, and E-commerce team member:

James Cartales
Managing Director
(206) 436-2526

Sanaz Memarsadeghi
Vice President
(206) 436-2591

Cascadia Capital Appoints Meredith Mann Chief Financial Officer

Meredith Mann
Chief Financial Officer

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, is pleased to announce that Meredith Mann has been appointed by the Board of Directors to the role of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.  As CFO, she will be responsible for scaling finance, strategic planning, human resources, technology and operations functions to support a significantly larger firm with a broader footprint. Through the use of KPIs, standardized metrics and quantitative analysis, she will bring greater rigor to our decision making process.

Prior to taking on the CFO role, Meredith spent 10 years in the finance industry, most recently as a Vice President in the Business Services group at Cascadia. Prior to her work at Cascadia, Meredith was at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supporting Global Health initiatives. Meredith started her career in various investment banking roles at the Royal Bank of Scotland and Mizuho Securities.

“Meredith has time and again demonstrated exemplary financial and business acumen, and exceptional leadership, consistently impressing our management team and Board of Directors,” said Cascadia Chairman & CEO, Michael Butler.  “She brings creativity, solid judgement, and a deep understanding of our industry to this role, which will be instrumental in continuing the firm’s growth.”

This appointment comes at a pivotal time for Cascadia, as the firm looks to build on recent momentum and fuel continued product, industry, coverage and geographic scaling of the platform following the strategic investment from Atlas Merchant Capital at the end of 2022.

“Meredith was a driving force in facilitating the successful completion of the Atlas transaction, proving her value as a senior leader of the firm,” Butler added. “At Cascadia, we are intentional about recognizing our highest performing individuals and positioning them within the firm to realize their greatest personal and professional successes.”

“I’m tremendously honored to step into this role, particularly during a time of such significant growth and opportunity for our organization,” said Mann. “We have an outstanding team with deep experience and a powerful combination of talent and strategic vision, and I am looking forward to supporting the firm’s growth initiatives to build the Cascadia of tomorrow and ultimately deliver the best service and highest value to our clients and partners.”

Ms. Mann is based in the firm’s recently opened Austin Office alongside Mr. Butler and a growing team of experienced investment banking professionals.

Cascadia Capital Advises Turtle Island Foods in Sale to Morinaga Nutritional Foods, Inc.

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle-market clients globally, announced that its client Turtle Island Foods, dba Tofurky, a leading plant-based foods brand that manufactures and markets products in the United States, has been acquired by Morinaga Nutritional Foods, Inc. a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. Cascadia Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to Tofurky in the transaction.

Founded by Seth Tibbott in 1980, Tofurky is a pioneer in the U.S. plant-based foods market, originally making from-scratch tempeh for the local community. The company leveraged its humble origins in tempeh and roasts to build a cult following and expand the brand into a wide range of plant-based categories including deli slices, sausages, and chick’n. With a commitment to taste and nutrition and a track record of innovation, Tofurky provides Morinaga Nutritional Foods with a unique opportunity to strengthen its plant-based foods business in North America and expand beyond Morinaga’s industry-leading tofu products.

“Tofurky was one of the earliest pioneers in plant-based foods and has been a steadying force for the industry,” said Erik Einwalter, Cascadia Capital Managing Director. “The strategic buyer community continues to show an appetite for acquisitions that expand their plant-based foods portfolios and geographic reach. We are grateful to Jaime and the team for having been a part of the Tofurky story.”

“We selected Cascadia as our partner because of their plant-based foods industry experience and their cultural alignment with our shareholders and management,” said Jaime Athos, CEO of Tofurky. “We are eager to enter this next chapter with Morinaga and to further cement Tofurky’s leadership position in plant-based foods in North America.”

“Tofurky is a class-leading asset, and with financial and operational support of Morinaga, the brand will see enhanced momentum nationally and internationally,” said John Gulvezan, Cascadia Capital Vice President. “While the sector has experienced volatility over the past eighteen months, we believe the underlying long-term trends will fuel plant-based foods growth as the industry continues to mature.”

The Tofurky acquisition represents another successful transaction for Cascadia in the branded food sector and our continued demonstration of our experience in plant-based foods. Recent clients include Follow Your Heart, Green River Spirits, Pancho’s, Campos Coffee, and Pretzilla.

For more information about this transaction, please contact the Cascadia Capital deal team:

Erik Einwalter
Managing Director
(206) 436-2538

John Gulvezan
Vice President
(206) 436-2549

Or other senior members of the Cascadia Food, Beverage & Agribusiness practice:

Michael Butler
Chairman & CEO
(206) 436-2530

Bryan Jaffe
Managing Director
(206) 436-2534

George Sent
Managing Director
(206) 436-2511

Cascadia Capital Advises TERRA Staffing Group in Investment from Hastings Equity Partners

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to TERRA Staffing Group (“TERRA”), an industrial and professional staffing and recruiting provider, in its investment from Hastings Equity Partners (“Hastings”), a leading business services private equity firm focused on founder-led, middle market businesses that are positioned for rapid growth.

Founded in 1983, TERRA Staffing Group has grown into one of the largest privately-held staffing firms headquartered in the west, with locations in Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle areas. The Company has consistently been a Diamond Award recipient of ClearlyRated’s “Best of Staffing” for both client and talent satisfaction.

“Greg and Jen have built a world-class staffing business and we look forward to working with them to continue TERRA’s geographic expansion. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with them,” said Grant Reckhow, Principal at Hastings.

“Cascadia provided excellent strategic advice to us throughout our transaction process as experienced advisors that demonstrated a deep understanding of our market and business,” said Jen Lambert, Chief Strategy Officer of TERRA. “The team helped us navigate the landscape of potential partners, ultimately leading to a partnership with Hastings that perfectly aligns with our culture.”

“I’m thankful we chose Cascadia as a partner that was looking out for our best interests and helped us achieve our goals as a company,” added Greg Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of TERRA.

“TERRA has leveraged its technology, tools, and operating practices to grow into one of the preeminent workforce solutions providers in the country,” said Hugh Campbell, Managing Director and Head of Cascadia’s Business Services team. “Hastings is the perfect partner to help TERRA expand the reach of its uniquely consultative offering.”

For more information about this transaction, please contact:

Hugh Campbell
Managing Director
(206) 436-2564

Looking Back: A Year Defined by Growth

Year in Review

With the first month of 2023 behind us, we’d like to take a moment to look back on what’s happened in the last year and thank our clients, partners, and team for a wonderful year. We are grateful to work with so many amazing and innovative entrepreneurs, family businesses, and private equity firms, as well as the talented and steadfast service professionals of the deal-making community who, together, build the high-quality growth companies with which we are honored to be associated.

Despite a challenging and volatile market environment, the last year has been defined by growth for Cascadia. Our most significant highlights include:

A Closer Look at the Last 12 Months by the Numbers

A National Investment Banking Platform

View Transactions Map

Our Client Focus

We have served clients across the industry verticals we cover, providing trusted advice and counsel, and ultimately facilitating successful transactions that often exceed client expectations. We thank our clients above all else for trusting us with their business. Your success is our success, and it is an honor to work with you.

If you are interested in more information on our recent transactions, you may download a complete list of transactions in the last year below.

The Value of Industry Sub-Vertical Expertise

Our team has long held deep expertise and transaction experience in niche segments across a variety of industries. We remain committed to our sub-vertical industry structure, with each of our bankers focusing tightly on specific segments of an industry. This allows us to provide the most innovative and expertise-driven service for our clients, as well as to align the right individuals within our network, across industries of common focus.

Click below to view the  sub-vertical expertise areas for each member of our team. 


Once again, thank you to all of our clients and partners. We believe the prospects for 2023 are strong and look forward to working with you all in the coming year ahead. Please reach out if there is any way we can be helpful.

Cascadia’s Growing Team – 2022 Senior Hires & Promotions

In 2022 and early 2023, several Managing Directors and senior investment banking professionals were hired and promoted to augment our experienced industry and coverage teams.

James Cartales Promoted to Managing Director at Cascadia Capital
February 3, 2022

Cascadia Capital is pleased to announce the promotion of James Cartales to Managing Director in the firm’s Consumer & Retail group. As a Managing Director, Mr. Cartales will continue to provide M&A advisory and equity capital raising services to founder and family-owned companies across the ecommerce, experiential retail, and consumer services sectors.

Mr. Cartales joined Cascadia Capital in 2013 and has been involved in over 40 transactions over the last nine years at the firm. During that time, he has played a central role in Cascadia’s marquee consumer transactions [….continue reading….]

Scott Ames Joins Cascadia Capital to Launch Financial Sponsor Coverage Efforts
March 8, 2022

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, is pleased to announce that Scott Ames has joined the firm as Managing Director of Financial Sponsor Coverage. In this role, he will continue to develop and institutionalize relationships with leading private equity firms, family offices and other capital players across the U.S. Mr. Ames will work closely with Cascadia’s industry sector bankers to make valuable connections, effectively coordinate deal flow, and leverage bankers’ sub-vertical expertise to provide buy-side, sell-side and financing services to the firm’s clients and institutional partners.

“Following a national search, Scott is the best cultural fit and the clear right choice to launch this dedicated effort at Cascadia. He will provide an unwavering focus to our approach of building deep strategic relationships with private equity and family office firms [….continue reading….]

Cascadia Capital Welcomes Corey Berse as Managing Director, Operations
July 2022

Corey Berse serves as Managing Director, Operations for Cascadia Capital. He is responsible for the firm’s operations across Human Capital Management, IT and Information Systems, Compliance and Facilities Management. He has a particular focus on helping ensure the firm’s strategic growth through effective practices across recruiting, development and employee experience.

Prior to joining Cascadia, Corey spent 16 years with Houlihan Lokey in a variety of roles across Business Unit Management and Operations, Marketing and Human Capital Management [….continue reading….]

Cascadia Capital Adds Technology Focused Managing Director, Jim Stone, to Austin Office
January 5, 2023

Cascadia Capital, an investment banking firm focused on growth companies in the middle market, is pleased to announce that Jim Stone has joined the firm as a Managing Director in the Technology practice. Mr. Stone is based in Cascadia’s Austin office where he will bolster the firm’s presence in Texas. He will continue to focus on providing M&A, capital raising, and corporate finance advisory services to software and tech-enabled services clients in the fintech, payments, healthcare IT, government, and legal tech sectors, as he has throughout his 26-year investment banking career.

Mr. Stone brings his experience as a client success-driven investment banker, former corporate growth executive, and former business lawyer to benefit Cascadia clients. He has completed more than 70 M&A and capital raising transactions for growth companies and has successfully closed sell-side and buy-side engagements for leading private equity firms [….continue reading….]

Cascadia Expands its Financial Sponsor Coverage Group with Addition of Kerri Hagen
January 11, 2023

Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, is pleased to announce that Kerri Hagen has joined the firm as a Director in the Financial Sponsor Coverage group. In this role she will be responsible for expanding the financial sponsor coverage platform, with a focus on broadening and deepening relationships with middle-market private equity firms and other institutional investors in the Northeast. Ms. Hagen will work closely with Cascadia’s industry and product bankers to make senior-level connections, and effectively deliver Cascadia’s deal flow and leading investment banking services to our private equity clients.

“I’m thrilled to have Kerri join our Financial Sponsor Coverage group to lead our coverage efforts in the Northeast [….continue reading….]


Additional Cascadia Promotions
January 2023

Novan Le was promoted to Senior Vice President in Cascadia Capital’s Healthcare Group, focused on M&A and growth equity advisory for healthcare technology and services companies. Novan brings over 10 years of corporate finance and M&A experience working with public and private companies in the healthcare and technology sectors. [….continue reading….]


Cascadia was also pleased to promote five team members to the position of Vice President and 5 team members to the position of Associate.

Cascadia’s Sub-Vertical Expertise by Banker

Highlighted below are  sub-vertical expertise areas for each member of our team.  Our full industry coverage and sub-vertical expertise is outlined on our industry pages.

Trust. Experience. Independence. Results.

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