Are there more independent sponsors sourcing deals in the lower middle market?
Yes and there are a lot of reasons why. You don't need much to get started. There are virtually no barriers to entry. Since you're not raising capital beforehand, it's relatively easier to be an independent sponsor assuming you have M&A experience. They usually come from different walks of life. Some independent sponsors previously worked for PE funds. Maybe they're former investment bankers that feel they can generate good deal flow on their own. Or, they want to get more involved with companies for which they're raising capital. Sometimes they're former business owners who feel they have the right operational expertise. But you need to have demonstrated expertise since it's mainly a question of getting people to trust you. Sellers just want to know that you have the ability to get a deal done.