WASHINGTON and CLEVELAND, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Inkwell Group, LLC, a new private equity firm, has launched with a distinctive strategy to leverage the proven power of racial and gender diversity to enhance business performance and build value. Co-Founders Chijioke Asomugha and Marques Martin are experienced operators and investors who have previously completed and advised on more than 20 acquisitions and divestitures totaling more than $3 billion of transaction value. In addition to providing operational expertise and strategic support, The Inkwell Group seeks to enhance lower middle-market companies through the addition of diverse executive and boardroom leadership. Numerous studies have shown correlation between diversity and financial performance, including a 2015 McKinsey report which found companies in the top quartile of gender and racial diversity were 15 and 30 percent more likely to have financial returns above the industry median, respectively. "We are focused on driving growth and believe in the additive impact that diverse executive perspectives and an inclusive culture can have on that process," said Asomugha, who previously worked at private equity firm Cyprium Partners and Goldman Sachs. "Small businesses rarely have complete management teams and tend to seek support within their existing network, resulting in group think that runs contrary to igniting innovation. Our approach directly addresses this obstacle to growth." Investment FocusThe Inkwell Group targets control investments in fragmented industry sub-sectors within Healthcare, Financial Services, Industrial Manufacturing and Media & Telecom, where it has strong experience and relationships. The firm will invest from $3 million to $30 million of equity per platform in proven lower middle-market manufacturing and service companies with up to $10 million in annual EBITDA. The Inkwell Group is currently investing on a deal-by-deal basis prior to a debut formal fund within three years. "Our goal is to help owners receive partial liquidity while remaining invested in the growth of their companies, should they so choose," said Martin, previously at Key Bank, where he directed the small business team with $4 billion of assets, and private equity firms Riverside and H.I.G. Ventures. "We're confident combining our management and operations expertise with our well-defined investment methodology will achieve this result while generating attractive returns for our investors." The Inkwell Executive SuiteAs part of its strategy, The Inkwell Group has created and oversees The Inkwell Executive Suite, a leadership platform attracting experienced women and minority executives. The Suite acts as a deal sourcing network for the firm and is a mentoring and coaching resource for Inkwell Group portfolio executives. It also provides a pool of accomplished operating partners to augment existing portfolio company management as C-level executives, advisors or board members. "The Inkwell Executive Suite enables us to bring our companies the diverse talent and expertise critical to success," said Martin. "We are excited to discover and provide opportunities to leaders of all backgrounds who can bring value to our portfolio companies."