How do you value potential? Potential of great ideas, great companies, great leaders? While many businesses struggled through 2020, Zak Nugent and his valuation firm, Scalar, doubled their efforts to put the company on a strong growth trajectory and expansion. Their business? Determining value. Value of other businesses, that is. Scalar is one of the premier business valuation firms in the world, completing more than 2,000 valuations per year. In fact, some of the most interesting companies in the world turn to Scalar to value their business right from the start.
But in order to understand why well-known brands like Zoom, Slack, and Casper turned to Scalar for their valuation long before they went public, it’s best to first understand how a small team in a Salt Lake City suburb disrupted an established industry. Zak Nugent did not set out to be the CEO of one of the largest boutique valuation firms in the world. After graduating from the University of Utah, he took a job with Cardinal Heath in Chicago. But Utah drew him back home to work with his brother Adam. Adam and Zak started a technology company called America Home Today, which was an online marketplace to connect homeowners to subcontractors and home service providers such as roofers and plumbers. They swung for the fences with this venture, but they unfortunately had to wind down the company in the midst of the 2008–09 financial crisis.
Zak spent time pondering what lessons he learned from his successes and failures during his time as CEO of America Home Today. He concluded that even though he had a degree in economics, and experience working in finance, what he wanted next was an opportunity to further improve his finance skills to succeed in his next venture.
In discussing his next career move, a friend recommended Zak connect with an early-stage valuation firm called Scalar. In fact, the company was so new that Zak became full-time employee number two.
For a valuation firm that specialized in venture-capital and private equity backed companies, it was a hard sell to be based in Utah and enter a market centered primarily in major metropolitan areas including New York and San Francisco. But Scalar was bound to disrupt the market. To offer a quality valuation report in weeks instead of months, while still maintaining excellent customer service, Scalar invested in its people and processes to transform the way that valuation services were done. Success followed.
Since then, Zak Nugent has played an instrumental role in the growth of Scalar, working hard to ensure double digit growth year-over-year and eventually becoming the CEO. As a result of his focus, Scalar has grown to become the second largest 409A valuation firm in the nation.
As the CEO, Zak attributes his company’s success to a strong focus on customer service. He believes that the effort he and his team put into serving their clients differentiated the company and springboarded them into opportunities the company would not have otherwise had.
Scalar grew to offer 20 different types of valuation services. With an expanded scope of services came a global presence. Headquartered in Draper, Scalar has a diverse, nationwide remote workforce and additional offices in Argentina.
When asked about their future, Zak succinctly delivered a healthy list of initiatives. “We are investing heavily in technology and going from a service-based offering to technology-enabled service offering. We launched a secondary direct fund called s20 Capital where we purchase equity interests in growth stage, private equity, and venture-backed companies. And we launched a sellside investment bank called Accretive Partners, which provides sell-side advisory services including M&A, primary and secondary capital raises, and debt financing.”
This year, the company also plans to expand its physical footprint with the construction of a new building addition and expanded operations in Draper.
But even with all these ambitious objectives, Zak still finds time to help build up his community and serve as a resource to others. A true connector, Zak engages his local and global network of professionals and businesses with each other to find beneficial opportunities.
“Sometimes it is as easy as connecting the right talent to the right group. Other times it’s knowing a source of funding that can aid a company’s growth. Bottom line is that when you focus on what you can do for other people, everyone wins,” he says.
Under Zak’s leadership, Scalar has not only grown as a company but has also become a conduit of growth by connecting companies with funding sources enabling them to scale and grow their businesses.
When not at work, Zak enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids. They can often be found riding their bikes, hiking the Wasatch Front, or playing freeze tag in the backyard.
Visit scalar.io to learn more.
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