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Keystone RV Co.’s rapid growth was aided by capital infusion from a Boston-based investment firm less than three years after the company’s founding in 1996, according to an article in the South Bend Tribune.
The company’s initial investors were looking to sell the Goshen, Ind., business while founder Cole Davis wanted to expand.
The solution came from Summit Partners, which provided $10 million in capital and assumed a minority position in the company. Day-to-day operations were left in Davis’ hands.
“Without that, we would not have been able to attract the management,” Davis said. “Without the management, we would not have been able to grow the company. You can’t build a billion-dollar company by yourself.”
Prior to Summit’s investment, Keystone reported revenues of slightly more than $70 million in 1998. By 2001, following the company’s sale to Thor Industries Inc., revenue had grown to $400 million.
This year, Keystone could reach $1 billion in sales for the first time, said Don Clark, Keystone’s senior vice president.
The Tribune reported that Summit has other interests in Northwest Indiana, including managing less than 1 percent of the University of Notre Dame’s $3.2 billion endowment.
“It is an attractive area to invest,” said Summit managing partner Joe Trustey. “It has a well-educated workforce, the school system is terrific, there is a tremendous work ethic there, and we see the entrepreneurs being aggressive.
He added, “Indiana is a growth area.”
In November 2003, Summit announced it also provided money to Elkhart-based pontoon boat maker Bennington Marine.
“The boat industry is similar to the RV industry in terms of manufacturing and pulling workers from the same employee base,” said Davis, who is now a member of Bennington’s board of directors.