Serent Snapshot: Bill Nunan, CEO of Real Green Systems
Meet Bill Nunan, CEO of Real Green Systems, a field service software company that specializes in landscape, pest control, and chemical lawn care.
Real Green Systems was already a growing software company when Bill was approached to interview for the role of CEO. “I was trying to take a break from my last gig and I was approached by about fifteen different companies for opportunities. A very close friend of mine, Dave Dutch, a board member of Real Green, really pulled me into the conversation.”
Through interviews, a trip to the Walled Lake, MI office, and attending Real Green System’s Annual Users Conference, Bill was introduced to the leadership teams at Real Green Systems and Serent Capital. Over time he met the founder, president, and other key members of the core Real Green Systems team.
Through business discussions, Bill began to sense that joining Real Green Systems could be the right move. When he received an offer, he jumped on the opportunity.
Accessing a High-End Strategic Team
As Bill began taking a closer look at Real Green Systems, he began to see opportunities for growth. “I saw a small, tangible set of levers that were really going to move the needle for the business.” He started working with the Growth Team at Serent Capital to begin pulling these levers.
“What caught my eye about Serent was the makeup of the Growth Team, composed of super-sharp folks with high-end strategy consulting backgrounds.”
“It’s just incredibly rare to be the CEO of a relatively small, high-growth software company and have access to this level of talent. Once I got to know them and learned how they engage and partner with organizations, I knew working with them would be incredibly powerful. The fact that the Growth Team actually comes in, rolls up their sleeves, and helps, really stood out to me.”
Building a Payment Facilitator (PayFac)
Real Green Systems started accepting payments in 2007. Like most software companies, they hadn’t put much thought into how they accept payments.
One of the “growth levers” Bill and the Growth Team had identified was the potential to turn Real Green Systems into a PayFac—payment facilitator. “A payment facilitator is where you, as a company, become a master merchant so that you’re empowered to deliver payment solutions to your customers as sub-merchants.”
“It was through Serent’s planning and insight that the company was able to make that change from the more traditional model, working with a third party, to becoming a true PayFac to provide a full payment solution.”
Until then, Real Green Systems had used third-party providers like most software companies. When Serent Capital came on board, they saw an opportunity to become a PayFac to expand the margins.
“It was in collaboration with Serent that we could step back and look at this holistically and define PayFac as a big lever to improve the overall payments business performance.”
“Serent Capital brought in a strategic mindset and process. They supported our team to help us get from point A to point B. The Growth Team negotiated with our acquiring bank to put the agreement in place and helped coach our existing operators.”
“It was through Serent’s planning, insight, and partnership that the company was able to make that change from the more traditional model, working with a third party, to becoming a true PayFac providing a full payment solution.”
Real Customer Impact
One of Bill’s key considerations was thinking through how this would support Real Green System’s customers—and by extension, the end-user—in terms of collaboration. Creating a PayFac turned out to be a much better, more scalable solution that gave everyone a lot more optionality going forward.
“But based on the new early evidence that we have, it’s going to be a very successful part of the business and drive further growth.”
“We have, in record time, stood up the PayFac. We’re in the process right now of migrating customers from our legacy solution to the new PayFac, which is a much better customer experience.”
“The impact was immediate. We grossly exceeded our original target. Time will tell if we can sustain that number as we drive higher amounts of migration to the new PayFac solution. But based on the new early evidence that we have, it’s going to be a very successful part of the business and drive further growth.”
“Serent, in my perspective, is smart money. What I mean by that is, I’ve worked with lots of private equity folks. The bigger they get, the dumber they get. They decay. Serent Capital is a group of super smart folks. They’re smart money, and it’s attributable to the collective IQ of the organization.”
Bill has spent his entire career in vertical software businesses. As he puts it, “I take great pleasure in learning a new vertical. Serent’s industry knowledge in field services software has been instrumental in accelerating my ramp. Having had the opportunity to spend time with the Growth Team, not only regarding the market research they’ve done to prepare for this particular deal, but the collective experience that they have in field services, has been very helpful. They’ve talked through the competitive landscape in a very digestible way.”
“Thanks to the strong collaboration that we’ve had with Serent, we’ve been able to exceed our initial targets in the PayFac. It’s still early in the process. Time will tell if we can maintain that momentum, but things are looking very promising.”