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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Angeles Hires Finance Leader, Buys Company

Three months after Angeles Equity Partners LLC closed a $540 million second series of funds, the industrial-focused private equity firm brought on a new operational partner.

On Nov. 14 the firm announced the former chief financial officer of Torrance-based Divergent Technologies Inc. Ursula Ster was hired as an operating partner covering finance. Ster is now responsible for evaluating new investment opportunities and overseeing financials of the firm’s existing portfolio.

“Ursula is an exceptionally talented finance professional that will complement and extend the capabilities of the Angeles Operations Group,” said Tim Meyer and Jordan Katz, co-founders and managing partners of Angeles Equity Partners.

Ster joins a lower middle-market private equity firm which focuses on industrial businesses, particularly those serving the supply chain. With its investors spanning across the globe, operational partners act as portfolio company integrations who are tasked with transforming underperforming or inefficient models.

Ster comes into this role after overseeing significant fundraising and financing for some of the most robust manufacturing operations in the Los Angeles area.

While at Divergent Ster managed three hefty fundraising rounds totaling to $340 million, positioning the company to well over a $1 billion valuation.

The company had developed a digital production system now leveraging artificial intelligence to modularly manufacture cars in house. Divergent recently announced its series D round on Nov. 13 with $230 million in new capital.

Prior to her experience in auto manufacturing, Ster was the finance lead for Starlink: the fastest growing business segment of Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX. From its development in 2015 to becoming a global internet service provider in 2020, Ster was the financial planning and analysis lead for a system shuttling thousands of satellites worth roughly $500,00 a piece into space.

According to the Wall Street Journal, when Ster left SpaceX in 2021its internet business generated $222 million.

Growth mode

Yielding substantial operational value will be key for a private equity firm expanding its portfolio after an oversubscribed second round of funds brought the firm’s total assets under management near $1 billion.

A day after Ster’s announcement, Angeles announced another acquisition for its platform company Data Clean Corp., folding in Texas-based data center cleaning service Sealco LLC.

Amid a tough fundraising environment for private equity firms, the relatively young firm has been put on the map this year with several exits from its first fund and more in the pipeline.

Founded in 2014 by two Gores Group LLC alum who had developed the industrials vertical for the local private equity stalwart, Angeles now surpasses Gores in terms of assets under management.

In the short term, Ster as a new operational partner will operate with strict scrutiny for underwriting investments as capital markets remain tight and company valuations lean conservative. This latest fund will make approximately 10 investments.

“I look forward to partnering with such a talented group of private equity professionals and portfolio leadership teams to drive strategic financial initiatives that can deliver exceptional operational and financial results,” Ster said.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is a managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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