KCN companies

We invest in you

KCN Companies brings 50+ years of operating and transaction experience, with diverse skillsets that complement the unique challenges of lower-market businesses

Our Story

"Let's buy companies to own and grow forever."

Our Founding Partners
Kalen, Chris, & Nate
Kansas City

Chris and Nate have worked side-by-side since October 2012. Kalen and Nate have been hunting buddies since 2006. Nate introduced Kalen to Chris over a Brobeck's meat platter in November 2022. They hit it off immediately.

The rest, as they say, is history.

As we started to envision what would become KCN, we kept returning to a simple idea: let's buy companies to own and grow forever. We realized that our differentiated mix of skills (banker, operator, lawyer) could provide companies with a unique "swiss army knife" of solutions to tackle any business problem.

The three of us also believe there is, in fact, a "right" way to do business: with integrity, humility, and hard work. We do what we say we are going to do. Nothing fancy. United behind these principles, we officially launched KCN Companies in 2023.

Our Values

We take your business seriously.
But not ourselves.


Be direct and be honest. Do what you say you are going to do. Accept responsibility for your mistakes.


Learn from everyone. Don't burn bridges. Remember where you came from. Never put yourself on a pedestal.


Persevere when things get difficult. Remain calm under pressure. Embrace the mess.


Ask questions. Is there a better way? Why can't it be done? Seek to solve unsolvable problems.

A word From our Partners

"You know who you will be working with: Us."

We are proud to introduce you to KCN Companies, our holding company located in Prairie Village, Kansas.

KCN is a platform-based holding company seeking to preserve legacies and build long-term value.

We invest in and partner with companies to accelerate their growth path, while offering our time and expertise to help grow businesses.

Selling your business is a monumental, and often emotional, decision. We get it. We strive for quick, transparent feedback and communication.

We're a small team by design. When KCN buys a company, you know who you will be working with: us.

We would love to hear from you, so please call any of us, anytime. We look forward to earning your trust.

Kalen Smith
Chris Jones
Nate Lien



Kalen is a former Army engineer turned business operator and investor. From a small town in Northwest Missouri, he graduated from West Point, served in Iraq and Afghanistan and transitioned out of the Army through business school at Yale. Before co-founding KCN, Kalen worked for a Memphis-based healthcare company, invested in software and healthcare businesses while at a private equity company, and operated in a Kansas City based food and beverage manufacturing business.

He and his wife Celinda have two girls who play soccer and the piano. Kalen has several hobbies that he takes too seriously, including cooking, woodworking, golfing, and being outdoors.


Chris is a licensed attorney who, before co-founding KCN, was a partner focused on mergers and acquisitions in a large Kansas City law firm, eventually becoming the General Counsel of a large public company. He was born and raised in Kansas City, graduated from the University of Kansas and lives in Fairway with his wife and three boys.

Most of his time outside of the office these days is filled by following his three boys to innumerable sporting events (while occasionally coaching). Chris is a mediocre grillmaster, a Kansas Jayhawk fan—yes, football too—and wishes he could travel more.


Nate has spent his career in various finance and operations roles in banking and energy.  Prior to co-founding KCN, he was the Treasurer and head of Investor Relations of a publicly traded energy infrastructure company. He was raised in Iowa, graduating from the University of Northern Iowa and has spent the past 20 years in Kansas City.  

He lives in Leawood with his wife Carla and three kids.  He’s an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Cubs and Iowa Hawkeyes and enjoys spending time away from work at his kids’ various activities and at the lake with family.


Interested in working with us?