Serent Snapshot: Joe Kucik, Founder of Real Green Systems

Serent Snapshot: Joe Kucik, Founder of Real Green Systems

Founder Joe Kucik discusses partnering with Serent Capital, finding an opportunity in payments, and more

December 9, 2022


Meet Joe Kucik. Joe is the founder of Real Green Systems, a software platform designed to help lawn care companies take care of all their routing, scheduling, invoicing, and customer service needs. We sat down with Joe to learn more about his experience working with Serent Capital.

“We’d experienced double-digit growth for 15 straight years. We were very fortunate. And we had no interest in talking to private equity,” Joe recalls. “But one Wednesday afternoon I got an email from Stewart Lynn, a partner at Serent, saying I’m gonna be in Detroit next week, can I have a few minutes of your time?

“And when he started talking about the value of our business, what it would mean to Serent Capital, and what they could do with it, that finally led to an investment in Real Green.”

Working With a True Partner


From the start, the Serent team’s commitment to building trust stood out to Joe. “I’ve always been about relationships – relationships with my team, relationships with our customers. In my discussions with the team members from Serent Capital, I never felt like I received an answer that was wishy-washy, that they were beating around the bush or trying to avoid the question. They were always pretty direct, even when maybe I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. We were talking to four other private equity firms when we engaged with Serent, and I didn’t always get that same feeling with other people.

“After the closing, we owned about 25% of Real Green. But the thing that impressed me about Serent was that they treated us like we were 50/50 partners,” Joe reflects. “The discussions were always frank and open. And they never forced anything down our throat.

“They might give us ten suggestions on things they thought we should be doing. We’d come back with two or three things and say, ‘we think we can execute on those things but we can’t do all 10, so let’s get those top two or three up and running.’”

Recruiting Top Executive Talent


By working with Serent’s Human Capital team, Joe was able to find top talent and build out the Real Green team. “We brought in a new CEO, a new CFO, a new chief information officer. We took our sales team from four people to sixteen people in a few months, and that really ramped up both the inbound and outbound sales and marketing for the company.”

“Serent collaborated with me to pick our CEO, work with that person and bring them on,” Joe recalls. “There was about a six month transition where I handed over the reins to our new CEO, Bill Nunan. Serent did a phenomenal job of finding and bringing in the right people to help us grow.”

Finding An Opportunity In Payments


Right from the start, Serent spotted a tremendous revenue opportunity for Real Green in payment processing. “Even before we closed the deal, Stewart was talking to me about what he believed we could do with payments. And to be truthful with you, I thought he was out of his mind with the kind of numbers he was talking about.

“He turned out to be one hundred percent correct. We had the opportunity to take our revenue from 27 basis points to 85 basis points by building our own payment facilitator. And so that’s what we began doing. It was a brilliant move. It paid back in six, seven months. Just an exponential explosion of revenue. And again, we were moving in the right direction already, but with Serent we were able to accelerate that exponentially.”

Serent brought together experts in payments to make the payment facilitator a reality in a matter of months. “We brought a consultant in to work with us on the payments. And then Craig Foos, from Serent Capital, was very instrumental in working with my daughter Kellie, who was running our payments. They were able to build the payfac in just a few months. And probably the biggest game changer we had at Real Green was the opportunity to sell the new functionality with a new fixed pricing model. Customers love that new model because they know exactly what they’re going to pay. There’s no question.”

Arranging The Perfect Exit


Serent’s collaboration on payments dramatically increased the value of Real Green. “We ended up getting an offer from the number one pest control software company. We were the number one lawn care software company. They saw that marriage as being perfect and gave us an unsolicited offer. The word got out and another company jumped in the ring and threw an offer on the table.

“At that point, I was discussing this with Stu several times a week. At first the thought process was, we’re still early on in this, we’ve got a lot of runway left. Why would we consider selling now? But as the offers kept increasing, it just seemed logical that we should explore that path. And as it turned out, two years in, we ended up 7Xing the investment. The outcome was just unbelievable, the timing, the partnership with the new company, it all fell into place.”

For Joe, Real Green was more than a company – it was a family. “All the people I worked with for the years that we partnered together began to feel like family. And when people do what they say they’re gonna do and you develop trust, you want to be there to help them when they need the help. And so the friendships, the relationships, the outcome, we put it all together. It was just a fantastic outcome.”

It was fitting that when Joe sold Real Green, his daughter Kellie became part of the Serent family. “I’m a little biased. It is my daughter. But she did an absolutely astonishing job – getting the payfac set up, getting our customers to come over. People don’t like change, but she was able to push pretty hard and get people to move from one payment system to another. I think that led to Serent making her an offer when we sold to WorkWave to come on board with WorkWave and help other companies try and achieve the same success we did.”


Serent Capital invests in growing businesses that have developed compelling solutions that address their customers' needs. As those businesses grow and evolve, the opportunities and challenges that they face change with them. Principals at Serent Capital have firsthand experience at capturing those opportunities and navigating these difficulties through their experiences as CEOs, strategic advisors, and board members to successful growing businesses. By bringing its expertise and capital to bear, Serent seeks to help growing businesses thrive. Learn more about our portfolio companies.


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