David C Tolson
Class VI Partners
Location: Denver, CO
Industry: Financial Services
David Tolson is focused on the relationship - not the transaction.
Tolson is Co-Managing Director of Class VI Partners, the first of its kind mid-market financial services platform.
“We help entrepreneurs navigate the tumultuous waters of building their business so that the entrepreneur can realize the rewards for the risks taken,” he said. “Focusing on relationships remains our core value and is reflected in everything we do.”
He explained that CapitalValue, the predecessor organization, was founded in 2001 and provided valuation services to entrepreneurs up and down the front range. He quickly recognized a few things about privately owned businesses.
“First, if you can arm the entrepreneur with information on risk and its impact on value, they can build a better business,” he said. “Second, as we saw the impact knowledge around risk had on business owners, we quickly determined there was an opportunity to create a better investment bank.”
Amid their next significant growth phase, Class VI Partners is introducing their technology application (CoPilot), a risk assessment tool directly in the hands of the entrepreneur. Tolson said that over the next 5 years, he expects to see the business grow to $30-$40M in revenue being driven in three primary categories: Advisor (CoPilot assessment and consulting), Investment Banking (traditional M&A and capital raises), and Wealth Management.
“While growth is attractive, making sure that we are maniacal about our culture is critical with a constant focus on the relationship with the client,” Tolson said.
Tolson’s leadership stems into many areas. Co-author, Harvest: The Definitive Guide to Selling Your Company, he is a highly recognized speaker on business value and value creation. Class VI Partners reflects the Company’s mission. His additional accolades include: Chair of the Accreditation Committee for the Institute of Business Appraisers; Distinguished Member of the IBA for contribution to the valuation community; Series 62, 82, 24, 79, 99 securities licenses, and the Certified Business Appraiser (CBA) designation. Additionally, Tolson was the FIRST Chair of Colorado Companies to Watch (4 years) and was involved with CCTW on various committees and chairs for 8 years. He has had numerous articles published on building value, investment banking, and managing organizations (including published author of the book, Harvest), and is the co-creator of the Green and Gold Foundation - a foundation focused on direct giving to Colorado State University. An active speaker at the graduate and undergraduate level on topics of value and investment banking, Tolson is also the creator of educational materials for young adults around financial literacy and created a wealth advisory practice attached to the investment bank for those clients that desired something different. Today, 4.5 years later, that business (Class VI Family Office) has over $500M in assets under management (AUM) and over $1.8B in assets under advisement (AUA).
He proudly shares his leadership skills for success.
“Create a clear vision of the future, over communicate, and foster a culture of change,” he said. “My ability to effectively communicate the ‘why’ to our associates is a driving force behind active and continuous change.” He emphasized, “Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!”
He said that an organization can only be effective if they have the same vision and are working to the same plan, and it is the responsibility of the CEO to communicate that vision and plan.
“Be as transparent as possible! Honesty and transparency eliminate organizational friction,” Tolson said. “Foster a culture of change. Make risk acceptable, communicate the value to the associate, reward the organization collectively.” He added, “Always be listening, learning, and leaning into the headwinds. Be willing to fail fast. Surround yourself with really smart people who you trust and then get out of the way and let them shine! People work harder for you when they feel trusted and valued and they know that you have their back!”
He perhaps summed it up with his favorite quote: “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!”
Having closed hundreds of transactions, and created the Class VI Partners platform, David is a true visionary in how to maximize value for businesses
David is an avid music lover and multi-instrumentalist (drums and guitar). 80's metal lives on!