Investment Strategy

Mill Rock’s differentiated business model combines the disciplines of commercial excellence, operations, general management and human capital (typically leveraging a Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 “playbook” generally not accessible in the middle market) with investing. We invest in companies whose owners seek value-added financial partnership and who may or may not wish to sell a controlling stake. Our investment strategy is focused on North American headquartered companies across six industry verticals where the team brings deep commercial, operational and strategic know-how, in addition to extensive investment experience. We target healthy, late stage businesses that are leaders in their respective markets, with growth-potential.


Purpose-Built for Family-Owned Businesses

Although not our sole focus, Mill Rock was purpose-built to work with family-owned businesses, owner-operators and founder-led companies. Since our team consists primarily of true operators and not financial engineers, we understand the challenges that business owners and managers encounter. We have extensive knowledge and experience operating and growing companies and provide substantial strategic, commercial, operational and financial support. We work closely with business owners to achieve multiple objectives including liquidity, succession, organic growth, addressable market expansion, acquisitions and performance enhancement. Above all we recognize that your business is your most important asset and, as such, the selection of a partner is a critical one. While Mill Rock has the ability to invest on a majority equity basis, our Activ Capital® capability provides all the benefits of our sponsorship without relinquishing control.

Our Approach

Mill Rock is guided by a philosophy of transparency and alignment of interests. We pursue investment opportunities highly selectively, and we move swiftly and decisively in executing our strategy. Mill Rock targets compelling returns with minimal volatility and places heavy emphasis on capital preservation through the following imperatives:

• Selective targeting of resilient, high cash flow businesses in stable industries
• Adherence to a core vertical strategy in which the team has deep experience
• Disciplined, process-driven approach to due diligence
• Partnership with strong management, underpinned by collaboration, communication, cooperation and consensus
• Conservative approach to capital structure, with emphasis on flexibility and liquidity
• Meaningful participation and ability to drive outcomes

How We Add Value

We provide significant support to management teams in developing and executing their business plans. We draw on a network of operating executives who bring significant direct operating experience in the same verticals industries we target for investment.

Step one on the path to value creation is the co-development of the Value Creation Roadmap – a strategic vision for the targeted future commercial, operational, financial, and organizational state of each partner company. Our operating team works with management to assess the company’s readiness to achieve the vision applying a standard set of diagnostics to every facet of the business.

Together, we develop a roadmap for shared financial success, which may involve commercial transformation, operational improvement, organization development, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance or some combination.

History of Mill Rock

Mill Rock, originally two smaller islands, lies about 1,000 feet off the eastern edge of Manhattan’s 96th Street, in the East River.  The island lies at the entrance to Hell Gate, which for centuries has been notorious among local mariners for its treacherous navigation due to multiple converging, tide-driven currents, widely varying depths and rock formations.

In 1664, William Hallet bought the two islands, later named Great Mill Rock and Little Mill Rock, as well as a nearby point of land on the other side of the river (known as Hallet’s Point in present-day Astoria, Queens) from local Native Americans.  He apparently never occupied the islands, and sometime between 1701 and 1707, John Marsh is believed to have built a tidal mill on one of them, which may explain how Mill Rock got its name.

At the start of the War of 1812, the War Department built a blockhouse with two cannons on Great Mill Rock. Along with fortifications at Hallet’s Point and at Horn’s Hook (site of Gracie Mansion), this chain of blockhouses was hoped to bolster the defenses of New York Harbor and guard the passage into Long Island Sound from the British Navy. In 1821, the blockhouse was destroyed by fire, and for the next 40 or so years squatters took over the island. One squatter, John Clark, is said to have conducted a lively business selling food and drink to the crews and passengers of passing ships.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set up facilities on Great and Little Mill Rock to experiment with explosives for the planned clearing of large obstructions in the East River. On October 10, 1885, the largest planned explosion prior to the atomic bomb annihilated Flood Rock, a nine acre obstacle that had long frustrated East River ship traffic.  300,000 pounds of explosives –prepared at the Army’s island facilities- were detonated, and shocks from the concussion were felt as far away as Princeton, New Jersey. In 1890, rock fill from the blast was used to close the gap between the two islands. Until 1949, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued to use the now unified island of Mill Rock as a work and storage base for the surveying and removing of hazards in the East River and New York Harbor. With the closing of operations that year, the Superintendent of the base, John Smith, became the last person known to have lived on Mill Rock.

In 1953, the federal government sold the island to the Parks Department for $25,000. Commissioner Robert Moses was concerned that if it were sold at public auction, the island might be acquired by commercial interests and huge billboards would be erected there. He arranged for the demolition of the existing buildings and dilapidated docks, and a new dock was constructed.  Large amounts of rock were placed along the shore to prevent erosion. Topsoil was brought in, and trees and shrubs were planted.

Mill Rock has been used for educational and arts events. In 1969, Commissioner August Heckscher issued a permit for an Avant Garde Festival on the island, which included a hot air balloon ascension, special light displays and giant sculptures. At the conclusion of the festival, Mill Rock was allowed to return to its natural state.  In 1978, Parks placed the island under the care of The Neighborhood Committee for Asphalt Green, and granted the Committee consent to use the island as an educational resource. Today, Mill Rock serves as a scenic resource. Visible from bustling Manhattan, this natural space stands as a historic landmark and a source of tranquility.

For many years, NYC Bird Alliance (formerly known as NYC Audubon), operating with a network of volunteers and scientists, has worked tirelessly to preserve Mill Rock as a nesting islands for herons, egrets and other bird species. Mill Rock Capital is a proud supporter of NYC Bird Alliance on Mill Rock and throughout New York City. You can find out more about NYC Bird Alliance here: https://nycbirdalliance.org/

Social Responsibility

Diversity and Inclusion:

Mill Rock promotes equality of opportunity through an inclusive environment that values diversity of background, experience and thought. We view our commitment to diversity as an important investment in our most valuable asset – our team – and promote this philosophy in our partner companies.

Environmental, Social and Governance Policy:

We believe that ESG issues can directly impact investment performance. We recognize that investing can be both financially and socially profitable, and this philosophy guides our ESG policy.