ITpipes offers a cutting-edge software solution for water, wastewater and stormwater system inspection and management.

ITpipes provides a best-in-class SaaS solution to municipalities and contractors for pipeline inspection and water infrastructure asset management. The software integrates with cameras and camera drones to collect, analyze, and manage data from underground pipeline inspections. ITpipes’ solution is highly configurable, and offers centralized data management, reporting, and analytics along with integrations to other asset management systems.

Water infrastructure is aged and often deteriorating, making ITpipes an essential service for maintaining the operability and safety of water systems. Nader developed a water infrastructure thesis as part of his search, and believes ITpipes is an industry leader for water inspection management. During the diligence process, Nader decided to bring on a partner as COO to help execute his strategy. Since acquisition, Nader has focused on professionalizing the business and building out an outstanding leadership team.

Q&A with Nader

Tell us about a challenging moment during your search – how did you persevere?

I think the truth is that searching for a business is difficult not because it is an objectively difficult job, but because it is lonely and because it is a situation where you internalize almost all the risk inherent to the job. At no time is that as obvious as when you’ve just killed a deal you were once passionate about.

Persevering in a situation like that is as simple as internalizing the truth that acquiring a bad business is orders of magnitude worse than not acquiring at all. I was lucky enough to have investors who were brave enough to speak to me about some of their failures and for that I am very grateful.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of your search process, what would it be?

You’re trying to level up and success at the highest level is often a step-wise function, not a linear one.

Searching can feel psychologically challenging because of how bimodal every step can feel: you either get a reply or you don’t, you either get a meeting or you don’t, the seller either signs your LOI, or they don’t. You’ll feel like you’re putting in the effort but not necessarily moving the ticker. The only way to feel good about yourself while trading “sideways” for a couple of years is to really own and take pride in your process.

How did you approach taking on the role of CEO?

I set out with the initial perspective that the two most valuable things for me to do, aside from setting the overall strategy of the company, were 1) recruiting the right talent and 2) selling the product and the vision to partners, employees and sales prospects. To enable me to focus appropriately on those two things, I brought on a former colleague of mine as my COO which has proven incredibly impactful for us as a company. I believe this has allowed us to move over 3x as fast, as at least half of your time is spent on activities that “keep the lights on.”

I also invested heavily in my relationship with my seller, who has been tremendously impactful in how fast I have been able to ramp up on the market. I was incredibly lucky to have a motivated seller who really wanted to see her company succeed and I cannot overstate the value that brings to building a good foundation in your first year of operations.

How did you use Trilogy as a resource and partner during the process?

An important thing from a searcher’s perspective is having your investors be willing to lean in when you ask for help. Even more importantly, you want them to be capable of adding value in the areas you need help with. In my case, I needed a team that understood what makes a good technology company.

Over the duration of my search, it became clear that Trilogy has purposefully built a technology playbook as opposed to just opportunistically investing in technology companies. Leaning on Trilogy’s CTO during diligence was tremendously important in continuing to gain confidence during the tech diligence process. Having a former Amazon Product Manager on a call to assess the viability of a product enabled me to save time by disqualifying a company early. Whatever it was, the team at Trilogy was as hands on or as hands off as I needed them to be.