Why We Started Ten:34

Ken and Justin started Ten:34 Partners to solve a need we continually encountered. We met with more and more small business founders and entrepreneurs that have been all-in on building businesses that have either reached their current potential or don’t have a natural succession plan. Historically, institutional investors have ignored this segment because of size, reliance on a few key team members, and/or the perceived heavy lifting to jumpstart the next phase of growth. But this is exactly what drives and excites us at Ten:34.

Collectively, Ken and Justin have more than 60 years of experience investing and advising companies in the lower middle market. Small businesses often encounter constraints (dollars, people expertise, disagreements between owners) that delay or prevent taking that next step forward. We can be that lever that provides the “stuff” (money, skillset, connections) that leads to furthering your objectives.

If it’s that easy (and it’s not!), then why do so many investment firms avoid these situations? Because typical private equity firms have a three-year investing window and need to realize returns within five to seven years. Due to this time pressure, they are seeking businesses with scale and many of the growth dynamics already in place. We thrive on working with you to identify those growth dynamics, utilizing our experience and network to fill those holes and seeing them take off together.

Ken and Justin’s careers showcase a deep commitment to family-owned businesses. We have been lenders, equity providers, advisors, and operators. These past experiences led to our launching Ten:34 in late-2020. Our concept is to take our skills and collaborative approach and partner with a few select business owners to create companies that are the perfect combination of operational success, customer-centric execution, and a commitment to growth.

Often, small business owners are focused and reacting to day-to-day operations and don’t have the resources to accomplish their vision for the future. That’s where we come in. You keep running the business, and we’ll focus with you on the strategy and growth to accomplish your priorities.

Who are Ken and Justin?

We are

Developed from extensive Board and Operating experience

We are
Value Enhancers

Evidenced by track record of strong returns

We are
M&A Specialists

Executed more than $500 million transaction value

We are

Varied experience leading business units as CFO and Head of Corporate Development

We’re all those things, but we’re also family guys with six daughters between us, community supporters, and active participants in non-profit endeavors.

private equity firm Ken

Ken Marblestone

For Ken Marblestone, Ten:34 Partners is the culmination of 30+ years interacting with and advising family business owners on capital raising, selling, and buying businesses. He fully appreciates the drive and skilled entrepreneurship it takes to run a small business, and, through Ten:34, he is very motivated to continue on his path of building successful business relationships and companies. His most recent positions include managing director at boutique investment bank Cascade Partners, where he advised on the National Deal of the Year, and as President of Citizens Bank in Ohio and Michigan. Ken is also a Founding Member of Channing Realty Advisors, a commercial real estate investment platform. He has a long history of community involvement and is currently on Mt. Sinai Foundation’s investment committee, Community Fund’s board of directors and finance committee, and is co-chair of Menorah Park’s annual campaign. He is also on the board of directors of First National Bank in Howell, MI (OTCBB: FNBH).

Ken and his wife, Janisse, have three daughters, one son-in-law, two dogs, and two part-time cats. When he’s not working or taking care of the pets, Ken loves to be outside, is passionate about working out, enjoys reading, and is working on improving his cooking skills.

private equity firm Justin

Justin Stark

Justin Stark has been involved in the founding of three businesses and has served as the lead investor and board member for several lower middle market companies. Justin has achieved success investing across the capital structure of healthcare and business service companies like Peak Health Solutions, an AMN Healthcare Company, and National HME, a hospice-focused DME company sold to Tailwind Capital, to name a few.

After spending more than 18 years investing and advising lower middle market companies with various investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms, Justin understands these businesses and the resources they need to achieve their destiny. He utilizes, along with Ken, a playbook learned from these experiences while working closely with founders and entrepreneurs to ensure the vision is realized together.

Justin has served as the lead investor and board member for several lower middle market healthcare companies. Outside of work, Justin is the proud father of three young daughters and is passionate about current and world affairs, cooking, and gardening and wishes he was more dedicated to working out.

Let’s build a partnership focused on your success.