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Guiding Business Leaders with Mergers & Acquisitions In The Emerging Growth And Middle Markets

Office Locations: Irvine, Los Angeles, Austin, Tampa, and Chicago 


We have seen firsthand that the growing and middle market companies are underserved and we are committed to changing that reality.” – Salt Creek Partners.

SCP was established to fill a void for business leaders in the emerging growth and middle markets. From a firsthand experience, the firm realized that companies are underserved when it comes to a full-service Investment Banking provider. Now, Salt Creek Partners is committed to changing that reality. SCP’s advisory capabilities are designed to teach clients how to build, grow, and improve their companies and enterprise value to achieve varying exits and other strategic goals.

The Chief’s Digest had the pleasure of interacting with Naoto Hall, the Managing Director of Salt Creek Partners. Below is an edited excerpt.

In this modern business world, what exactly does a “Smart Company” mean to you? 

Smart companies know that earning and keeping your clients’ trust is required at every stage of a partnership, and there is no better way to do that than demonstrating it through the quality of your service. The business environment is constantly changing and the best way to serve the interests of your clients is to be willing to challenge the status quo, reject complacency, and learn from a diverse range of individuals and experiences. Consistently challenging the team to bring creativity and innovation in approaching client solutions while refining processes and workflows results in better outcomes.

How successful was your first project roll? Do you think there has been a change in your priorities since then? 

Our first project was successfully executed and served as the foundation for the company’s future. It was a fairly bootstrapped engagement, but we could get the desired outcome by leaning on our previous experience and putting forth the work ethic required. The project gave us the validation and credentials to know we could successfully serve our clients’ mandates while helping us identify where we need to invest internally to increase desirable outcomes. 

Our priorities then are the same as now – we believe in the alignment of finances, values, and objectives, and we are committed to being the premium quality investment bank for the emerging and middle markets.

How would you describe the work culture within your organization? How do you differentiate between smart work and hard work?

Our culture starts with our team – the employees we hire come from a mix of conventional and non-conventional backgrounds such as private equity, buy-side investment banking, and management consulting, which naturally builds a pool of creative and diverse perspectives. As leaders, we emphasize a highly collaborative process both internally in servicing our clients and externally in collaborating with our clients. 

Unlike traditional investment banks, we have innovated our processes to adapt to the current climate and workflows of private equity and corporate buyers. Our success can be attributed to executing a custom M&A process tailored to each client in which each engagement is an intellectual exercise requiring creativity and innovation. 

The traditional view focuses solely on transaction certainty resulting in a lower overall outcome for our clients, but we focus on competitive tension through a market-driven process. An effective deal process also involves enhanced preparation while retaining the flexibility to streamline the intensive marketing and due diligence phases without compromising quality. This allows our firm to meet the exact needs of each of our clients and deliver a better outcome of events.

As a question on adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market? 

SCP maintains long-standing relationships and partners with many CXOs/Owners across Forbes 100 Fastest Growing Companies, Top 40 Private Equity Groups, and Fortune 1000 Industry Leaders, whom we speak with on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Our team is also a mix of generalists and specialists that works across a diverse range of sectors with proven track records managing complex financial transactions, providing investment banking services, performing market research and analysis, guiding companies from concept through hyper-growth, and building companies towards varying exits. 

How does your company contribute to the competitive global platform at large? 

SCP is on its way to becoming the first emerging and middle-market full-service investment bank. Our increasing capabilities and reputation have expanded our reach. We started with sell-side advisory and have since expanded into buy-side advisory, strategy consulting, valuation, and other services. Our first clients originated out of the Southeast U.S., but as we’ve grown and expanded our services, so has our geographic footprint. We now service clients across North America and have expanded into Asia as well.

What have you enjoyed the most while sailing through the ups and downs of your business? 

It’s been an exceptional experience watching the company grow. The two most enjoyable parts are around our clients and our employees. Helping an owner find the right long-term partner to continue their company’s legacy, knowing that the owner can achieve a desirable outcome and peace of mind, brings satisfaction day in and day out. On a personal note, mentoring our employees as they grow into their roles has been highly rewarding. 

Where do you see your company a few years from now? 

We’re continuing to grow and competing against the top banks in the industry. In the next few years, Salt Creek Partners will be known as the premium service provider and the go-to partner in the emerging and middle markets.

The Thought Leadership

Naoto Hall, Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking Division 

Naoto has led over 70 transactions and acquisitions and has significant experience with market research, deal sourcing, financial valuations, and modeling, the due diligence process, negotiation of terms, and post-closing integration. 

In addition to the strength and diversity of our team, the innovation and creativity of our processes, and our industry-leading insights, SCP aligns our economic interests with our clients. We believe in the alignment of finances, values, and objectives with our clients and share the risks as necessary.