Here at NCA, our process is built from the ground up with teams of specialists on hand to support Searchers from the very beginning of their journey. Research has proven that partnered Searchers are 2.4x more likely to generate a 5x return than solo Searchers, and NCA acts as a search fund partner that provides the capabilities and resources of a large team. We are proud of the highly specialized team of experts we have on hand to assist our Searchers in all phases of their journey. During the deal sourcing phase our Searchers are supported by our Investor Relations, Marketing, Talent Management, and Data Intelligence teams. When it comes to value creation, our Legal and Compliance Team collaborates with Searchers and our M&A team to oversee elements like taxes, audits, and risk management.
Our international support teams of talented and highly motivated professionals make NCA stand out and enable our Searchers to focus their energy on discovering and analyzing the best deals, at every step of the program.
TALENT ACQUISITION & NCA ASSESSMENT CENTER
The journey begins when a potential Searcher submits their application for NCA’s program. These aspiring entrepreneurs are put in contact with our Talent Acquisition team, led by Marine Hamou, NCA’s Global VP of Talent Acquisition & Engagement. “Our role is to ensure the best possible experience for aspiring entrepreneurs right from the beginning,” explains Marine. “That journey begins before searchers are even invited to join the program, when aspiring entrepreneurs apply and begin first discussions with us.”
If an entrepreneur’s application is accepted, they undergo multiple rounds of interviews with NCA team members and are then asked to complete a business case that tests their strategic and financial proficiency. The rigorous selection process continues with an in-depth screening at one of NCA’s assessment centers, which is when the other members of Marine’s Talent Acquisition team step in. They interact on a daily basis with NCA candidates in this phase as they prepare their financial case assignment, which is later presented to NCA and NCA external advisory representatives at our assessment center. The team works closely with entrepreneurs to provide guidance with PPM (Private Placement Memorandum), candidate profiles, interview preparation, and any other documents necessary to present the investment opportunity to investors.
“We are not a recruitment team as our program is built as a partnership with entrepreneurs,” explains Marine, “so the role of the Talent Acquisition Team is to ensure we build the partnership on a solid foundation of trust and transparency. I feel very fortunate to meet searchers so early on in their journey with us.”
It also goes without saying that the legalities of Acquisition Through Entrepreneurship come with a whole set of challenges that require specialized know-how in the field. Therefore the NCA Legal and Compliance support team is also brought in to accompany Searchers from the very beginning of the selection process.
FUNDRAISING & THE BEGINNING OF INVESTOR RELATIONS
If candidates pass their investment case presentation at NCA’s assessment center, the fundraising process to raise the necessary search capital begins to take shape. During this stage, NCA’s Investor Relations team works with aspiring entrepreneurs to help pitch their investment case to their networks and to NCA’s core investor base. NCA itself also backs all candidates by becoming an investor.
One of the members of NCA’s extensive Investor Relations Team is Sandrine Steiner, the Director of Business Development & Co-Investor Management. Sandrine and the Investor Relations Team act as a gateway between Searchers and Investors. In the fundraising stage, they send Searcher documents (like PPMs & Teasers) to NCA’s current and new potential Investors, while also facilitating interviews. Sandrine particularly enjoys the fundraising stage as she has the chance to work closely with each Searcher.
“It’s exciting to support them in their fundraising journey,” she says. “You get to know each Searcher individually quite well – each interview is very different – and I love seeing the dynamics of how the Investors and the Searchers interact with each other.”
After the Search Capital has been raised, it’s official: Entrepreneurs have become NCA Searchers. Once Searcher cap tables are closed, the IR team helps our new Searchers prepare their Investment Agreement and organize Capital Calls, while other teams join in to accompany our new Searchers on the next phase of their journey.
THE SEARCH: TALENT MANAGEMENT & MARKETING
In true testament to the high standards of NCA’s selection process, only few candidates out of many applications make it to this stage of the process. As soon as Searchers are onboarded into the NCA Program they are connected with NCA’s Talent Management team, who play a crucial role in Searcher success.
Spearheaded by Elisa Lorenzi, our VP of Talent Management, the NCA Talent Management Team focuses on ongoing Searcher learning and networking. The team organizes training sessions with relevant experts and guest speakers, facilitates the sharing of best practices between all NCA Searchers, and helps each NCA Searcher manage their budgets for the duration of the program.
When asked what she likes best about working with NCA Searchers, Elisa said, “My team loves having the opportunity to work with an amazing community of highly-motivated professionals who all share the same entrepreneurial ambition. Each of them has amazing know-how in very specific industries and geographies, and that also allows me to learn new things every single day.”
The Marketing Team works closely with Talent Management to ensure on-brand production of all the marketing materials Searchers will need throughout their journey (including their own webpage, videos, and portraits). The team collaborates with Searchers to develop their individual profiles and helps them make the most of their own personal branding to support their search. Officially launching each Searcher on NCA’s LinkedIn page marks the public start of their search.
DATA INTELLIGENCE & DIGITAL SUPPORT TOOLS
Upon onboarding there is yet another team of NCA specialists that steps in to assist our Searchers: our Data and Analytics team. NCA’s Digital, Data and Operations Center plays a pivotal role in our program. This powerful, multilingual team supports Searchers with the massive amounts of data they must procure, process, and analyze throughout their Searcher journey. This includes supplying relevant company and market data (including information on competitors, customers, and suppliers) to help generate shortlists for Searchers, support deal valuation, and support acquisition efforts.
“We are supporting a startup program by leading digital strategy and implementing it,” says the NCA Head of Digital, Data & Operations, Aviva Egulsky Ozeri. Aviva and her team of analysts and interns work closely with the Searchers moving forwards. “It’s rewarding to know that we can make a true difference in their journey,” Aviva adds.
At this stage, the 24-month search process is officially underway. NCA’s support teams continue working with Searchers throughout this process until a target company has been identified. The Investor Relations Team also handles all investor reports and meetings. Finally, another team of specialists comes into play as Searchers prepare their potential acquisition.
ACQUIRING A COMPANY
Once a target company has been identified, NCA’s M&A team supports our Entrepreneurs with the company evaluation and acquisition process. James McLaren is a member of the NCA M&A Team, that assists every NCA Searcher with initial valuation and analysis, structuring and negotiations, due diligence, and the execution of the actual transaction.
Acting as a sounding board throughout the journey, the M&A Team actively reviews each Searcher’s deal pipeline and begins to be heavily involved in an individual deal after the execution of an NDA. “What I like about working with NCA is the excellence of our Searchers,” explains James. “I like seeing the huge breadth of deals that they bring to the table and the unique ways that we can add value to these companies versus a traditional buyer.”
Of course, the M&A Team is not alone in supporting NCA Searchers at this stage of the journey. Our Legal and Compliance team also play a key role, especially in this stage, and in the sharing of best practices and experiences across all NCA Searchers throughout the process. They explain the legal set-up of the program and guide Searchers through all of the associated documentation, providing templates for legal documents like NDAs, LOIs, or SHA, among others. The Legal and Compliance team also participates in the Due Diligence process and structure set-up.
Finally, it’s time for NCA Entrepreneurs to present the deal to investors together with the Investor Relations Team and solicit a second round of follow-on funding to support the acquisition. If they are successful, a Shareholders agreement is put in place between all involved co-investors and the NCA Entrepreneur takes on a managerial role within the company. NCA approves the composition of the Board of Directors (in collaboration with the Searcher) to assure effective communication between stakeholders and to help create growth within target companies by maximizing existing talent, capital, and capabilities.
Here at NCA, we know from our own experience what it takes to design, set up and run a successful business. And as co-investors in each acquisition in our program, we are deeply committed to the success of our NCA Entrepreneurs. The road to successful Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition is a long and difficult journey, but NCA’s program is supported by a wide range of specialists, analysts and advisors that make the Searcher journey as seamless and as successful as possible. Whether that’s in deal sourcing or value creation, the NCA ETA program is powered by teams that have strong expertise in Search Fund investing, M&A, Investor Relations and talent management of Searchers, making NCA a valuable partner for maximizing potential and de-risking our search fund investments together.
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