Nonantum Capital Partners is a $1+ billion private equity firm formed in 2018 as a spin-out from Charlesbank Capital Partners. The firm invests in family- and founder-owned businesses, corporate carve-outs, and complex situations where personal partnership is critical and opportunities exist for significant equity value creation.
“One of the best things about Ontra’s Standard Offering is the level of responsiveness. It feels like the lawyers are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So they work when we work. I can get three NDAs in my inbox on a Saturday morning, and I know I can just forward them over to our Ontra team and they'll get executed over the weekend all around the clock. That's why the speed is so condensed, and the efficiency is so good in terms of process, quality, and cost.”
Co-founder and COO, Nonantum Capital
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How to get NDAs done quickly, done well, and at an attractive price point
From its inception in 2018, Nonantum ran “extraordinarily” lean by design. That left the four founding partners handling all aspects of the firm’s operations, from sourcing and closing deals, to processing NDAs, and everything in between. But as Nonantum prepared to launch a second fund in 2021, the founders saw it was time to scale up processes.
Scott Farden, a founding member and COO at Nonantum, recalls: “We had a discussion about what things needed to be done differently as we went from fund to firm. And with the anticipated increase in revenue, we had the resources to make that happen. So after broadening out our staff, we looked at our business model and said, ‘OK, our whole infrastructure for non-deal related things (finance… legal… HR… et cetera) is an outsourced model. What else can we outsource?” Number one on the list was handling NDAs.
At that time, Nonantum was seeing about 300 NDAs per year, taking up several hundred hours of each founding partner’s time.
After evaluating various options, including outside counsel and other law firms that specialize in NDAs, Nonantum considered using Ontra’s Contract Automation solution to optimize its NDA process. According to Farden, “We wanted the highest quality, and we wanted it at an attractive price point. We also wanted a partner that could get it done quickly and done well. That's how we found Ontra."
An efficient workflow created in just two weeks
In November 2021, Nonantum selected the Standard Offering* of Ontra’s AI-powered Contract Automation system. The onboarding process took just two weeks and focused primarily on creating an efficient workflow for Nonantum’s NDA process.
Farden comments: “We wanted to make sure the right people stayed on the email chain so that once the NDA was processed and the CIM came out, our broader deal team would be notified. Because once we get the CIM, the deal team on our side is responsible for assigning it to a person to create a summary. That process was very smooth from the beginning, and that was the thing I was most worried about. I didn't want to become the CIM chasing police, and I haven't had to, which is good."
More deals sourced
Enhanced focus on existing portfolio companies
Faster NDA negotiations
Nonantum gains more time to source deals and focus on portfolio companies
Since partnering with Ontra, Nonantum reduced NDA turnaround time from as much as two weeks to just 3 - 5 days. And that improvement has come as NDA volume increased from about 300 per year to 500.
All told, partnering with Ontra saved several hundred hours for each senior deal member per year.
Farden elaborates: “There's no question that turnaround time is a lot quicker. When we get a new NDA in our inbox, it takes about 10 seconds to forward it to our Ontra team. We don't have to set time aside, dog-ear it, and say, ‘I'll get back to this at 11:30 tonight,’ then spend an hour doing it. As soon as we get an NDA, we send it along, then it’s rolling. And if there ever are delays, it's because the other side is not responsive. It's never been on Ontra’s side. All in all, it’s a more airtight process, and nothing slips through the cracks."
With a speedier, largely hands-free process in place, Nonantum’s deal colleagues are now completely out of the mix. That gives them more time for the firm’s two top priorities: 1) doing proactive outreach to source more deals, and 2) focusing on existing portfolio companies.
Farden again: “We all work really hard and we charge hard, but we have families… we have our health to look after. So if you're spending one to two hours less per day on NDA execution, you can get in a quick run or sit down and read a bedtime story with your eight-year-old. I'd happily have that in my life in place of executing NDAs. For me, that's the best part of having Ontra."
Nonantum's ability to vet more deals also carried a residual benefit…
“Even though most of those extra deals are still likely to be a ‘no’,” Farden said, “the market intelligence we gain from looking at more CIMs is really helpful, especially to our younger people. Their development is enhanced because of using Ontra. The more CIMs they can look at and create, the better their understanding of what makes a good deal, what makes an OK deal, and what makes a bad deal. So Ontra helps them develop better pattern recognition and ultimately become better investors.”