When Business Journal reporters and editors met to discuss nominees for the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year honors, nearly 200 choices were considered before settling on the top three nominees...In short, we are honoring the people who generated the most important news stories during 2018.


  • Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny, Auxo Investment Partners
  • Kelly Potes, ChoiceOne Bank
  • Tom Welch, Fifth Third Bank

A two-year-old private equity firm has finished raising $50 million for its inaugural fund. Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners said yesterday it closed the investment fund Auxo Growth Holdings I. The firm raised the committed capital from family offices and institutional investors.

Auxo Investment Partners, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based private equity firm, held the final closing of its first investment fund, at $50m. Under Auxo’s model, investors, or Founding Partners, invest not only in its portfolio companies, but also in the firm itself. They participate in all economic benefits generated by Auxo, including carried interest and fees, with a priority position ahead of the Management Partners.

Closing fundraising for a $50 million private equity fund gives Auxo Investment Partners a year-long breather before preparing to raise capital for a second fund. Presuming Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners maintains its present pace of investments, Managing Partner Jeff Helminski expects the firm to return to fundraising mode as soon as a year from now.

Auxo Investment Partners, a Michigan-based private equity firm, today announced the final closing of its first investment fund, Auxo Growth Holdings I LLC. Reaching the hard cap is an important milestone for Auxo, which was founded in late 2016 by three veteran investors and operators: Jeff Helminski, Jack Kolodny and Fred Tedori. Combined with direct co-investment from family offices and modest leverage, the inaugural fund will deploy approximately $150 million of equity in 10 to 15 companies over the next three years – and has already invested over $30 million of equity in four acquisitions, including an industry-leading cutting die-manufacturing platform and a niche maritime transportation platform.