Entrepreneur Nathan Taylor closed his deal in June 2023 when he successfully acquired US-based Water Runner Inc. We sat down with Nate to learn about his search journey and how his ability to stay hyperfocused and committed made all the difference in closing his deal.
A LOVE FOR SMALL TEAMS WITH OUTSIZED IMPACT
Nathan “Nate” Taylor joined NCA’s ETA program in 2022 with wide-ranging experience in both the military and private sectors. The start of his career journey dates back to 2010, when he graduated from West Point United States Military Academy and began working for the United States Army. He worked as Assistant Director of Operations and then Aviation Company Commander, which had him leading a 111-member reconnaissance and surveillance flight company in conducting counter-terror operations across three continents.
After eight years with the military, Nate branched into the private sector with Merck & Co, shifting his career focus into energy and sustainability. While working as the global energy procurement manager at Merck, Nate pursued a Master of Business Administration in sustainability (with an energy sub-focus) and enrolled at the Yale School of Management, where he learned about ETA from a fellow student and friend.
Nate was intrigued. “Every bit of information I learned reaffirmed that taking the leap into ETA was the right career choice,” he said, citing parallels between the business world and his military experience. “Even though the military is a huge bureaucratic organization, I was fortunate to be in a segment that operated in small teams. We’d take 10-20 people to remote parts of the world on a mission in support of national objectives with multinational partners. That kind of outsized impact with a small team resonated with me, so a big part of why I went into ETA was because I feel like small business entrepreneurship replicates many of the best parts of those experiences.”
Nate’s time in the military had also exposed him to a host of international influences, which played a role in his decision to join NCA’s ETA program. “The idea of forming a cohort of international investors and being supported by them was really appealing to me,” said Nate. “I like having an international perspective and international insights on doing business, and I felt that partnering with NCA offered that opportunity.”
Nate was also drawn to NCA’s streamlined processes and fundraising expertise. “When choosing a partner, I also wanted someone with deep financial experience, specifically someone who was versed in putting together deals, had in-house M&A support, and could help secure investors and funding throughout the process. And that’s exactly what NCA has been,” he added.
CLOSING THE DEAL
Nate kicked off his search in spring of 2022, focusing on infrastructure or utilities companies in the United States, and on June 13, 2023, he successfully acquired Water Runner Inc., a Texas-based company that purifies and delivers bulk potable water to residential and commercial customers throughout the Southwest United States.
When asked how he was able to complete his deal in such a relatively short time span, Nate credited staying hyperfocused on his search criteria. “It’s really important to maintain alignment with your family and your investors on what you’re searching for. The search and acquisition process has a binary outcome: either you get a deal done or you don’t,” he said. “The more focused you are, the higher your chances are of finding your ideal target company and closing a deal.”
When asked how it feels to have successfully closed his deal, Nate said it feels great and is hugely relieving. “There’s an innumerable amount of things to do each day that are engaging and important and require all my faculties – both creative and financial, both the left and right side of the brain – so I’m really enjoying it. I love being outside and working alongside our employees; the mechanics, drivers, the operators – the people that power our local economy,” he added. “I’ve only been at the helm for a short while but it’s been a really enjoyable learning process so far. I’m very excited to start building and see where this goes.”
WORDS OF WISDOM: STAY FOCUSED, TAKE THE LEAP
Based on his own ETA experience, Nate recommends other searchers really hone in on what they are looking for and stick with it. “It’s kind of a paradox. You’d think that the wider the net you cast, the more optionality and opportunities you’d create for yourself,” said Nate. “But you’re actually making it more difficult to get a deal done. I think being constrained, focused and dogged about pursuing your specific search criteria lends itself to a higher chance of finding your ideal target company and closing a deal.”
“I was ready to get my deal done because I’d rather be a CEO for a year than search for another year,” added Nate. “I was the only potential buyer who dropped everything; I stopped searching, we sold our house and we moved to Midland (Texas), which created a lot of goodwill with the seller and gave me the motivation I needed to get this done. So I’d say once you are confident about the company being the right fit, and you’ve got a preponderance of investors who are supportive of the deal, take the leap and be laser focused on getting the deal done, even if it means dropping your search efforts for other opportunities,” he finished.
Nate also highlighted the importance of having a strong team of advisors, expressing his thanks to Paul Pryzant and James Dorough-Lewis of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, who worked around the clock to bring his complex transaction to a successful conclusion; UHY Advisors’ Nick Chambers and Patrick Stark for their invaluable advice, financial and tax diligence; NCA’s Taylor Perry for his excellent financial support as NCA’s M&A lead in North America; NCA’s Director of Investor Relations Chris Meier, who accompanied Nate throughout the process and played a key role in helping him manage and communicate to his investor base; and NCA Co-Founder Christin Malek.
“As NCA’s Co-CEO, Christian stepped up at the most critical periods in the deal process to get us to a close,” said Nate. “His actions gave me extreme confidence in NCA as a program and organization. Having been through the entire process, from raising the search fund to closing a deal, I can wholeheartedly recommend the NCA program to any mid-career professional interested in ETA.”
For more information about Water Runner Inc., please visit: https://www.waterrunnerinc.com/services-1
For more information about NCA, please visit: https://novastone-ca.com/index.php