Spotlight on success: Forging a new path with entrepreneur Will Hunnam

12 Jun 2023 | News

Entrepreneur William Hunnam closed his deal in April 2023 when he successfully acquired UK-based Forza Doors Ltd. We sat down with Will to learn about his search journey and find out what drove him to pursue Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition in partnership with NCA.


 Entrepreneur William Hunnam closed his deal in April 2023 when he successfully acquired UK-based Forza Doors Ltd. We sat down with Will to learn about his search journey and find out what drove him to pursue Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition in partnership with NCA.


We recently had the pleasure of interviewing entrepreneur Will Hunnam, and when we asked him to reflect on how his career led him to where he is today, Will described a professional journey with two distinct blocks: a strong corporate foundation and a natural evolution into entrepreneurial ventures.

“I had grown a lot by being part of such a big organization, but I was ready to make decisions and forge my own path,” Will said. “So after 15 years, I made the decision to step out of the corporate bubble and become an entrepreneur.”

Tracing Will’s story brings us to the UK, where he grew up and kicked off an early career with Shell. He would go on to work for Shell for 15 years, an experience that forged Will’s professional foundation and was backed by many growth opportunities, including being able to complete a BEng in Marine and Mechanical Engineering at Northumbria University.

Will moved into entrepreneurial ventures and spent the next decade running a series of businesses for himself and for foreign investors. In 2013, he became one of three Founding Partners of Capro, a corporate advisory firm, and in 2016, he and another Capro founder co-founded Orbitt, a fintech investment platform that matches investors to investment opportunities. Will successfully completed three funding rounds at Orbitt, raising both equity and debt from Angel investors, VC’s, and strategic partners.

At that point in his career, Will had taken his strong corporate foundation and then built up experience working across equity, structured term debt, asset finance, working capital, and trade finance transactions. He began exploring other ways he could continue building on his current entrepreneurial path. In 2020, he began learning about Entrepreneurship through Acquisition and, in the process, discovered his next professional challenge.


Will initially embarked on his search and acquisition journey on his own, but when he learned about NCA’s program a few months into his search, he realized his dream of acquiring a small UK business could evolve into something more.

“I saw that partnering with NCA could make it possible for me to acquire a business at a much bigger scale and receive support throughout the ETA journey,” Will said. “That was attractive, especially the support in those aspects of the ETA process where I had limited experience, so I decided to apply for the program and have never looked back.”

In late 2021, Will joined NCA, bringing with him a longstanding entrepreneurial track record and his solid 15-year, blue-chip multinational career. “The thought of merging my engineering and senior management experience, and applying it to a single SME business with great growth potential, was very exciting,” said Will.

Will focused his search on engineering services or light manufacturing companies based in the UK, and after 17 months he successfully closed his deal in April 2023, when he acquired Forza Doors Ltd., a leading UK supplier of fire-rate and non-fire-rated timber doors, panels, and doorframes used in commercial interior construction.

“It was actually slightly opportunistic,” Will explained, “I was primarily looking at engineering and engineering services but was also exploring manufacturing companies with significant owned IP, which is where Forza fit in very nicely. Forza Doors Ltd. is a fantastic business,” added Will, “and from the first moment that I started to learn about the company, it immediately felt like a good fit.”

When asked to reflect on how it feels to have reached this stage of his journey and look ahead to what the future holds, Will said, “It’s still very much sinking in. We spent months focusing on the deal, which was a lot of work; you go from that intense work phase of finalizing the deal, to a sense of relief and achievement as the deal closes, to the realization that now the real work starts as you step into your new role.”

“I’m excited to be stepping in, to get to know the business from the inside, and to integrate with the company’s strong, existing management team,” he added. “This is a long-term journey and potentially the last professional role I’ll ever have, so there’s a lot of mixed emotions, but mostly a lot of satisfaction and excitement in getting to this stage. I really look forward to the years ahead as we grow the business together.”


In addition to the many support teams that are a crucial part of NCA’s ETA program, Will also highlighted the more indirect benefit of being part of a community of searchers. “The softer side is that connection you build with the other people in the program,” said Will. “Being able to pick up the phone and speak to other searchers who’ve already acquired and hear about their experiences of going through the deal process, or simply being able to talk to others who are going through the same experiences is really helpful for bouncing ideas, sharing learnings, and managing the natural ups and downs of the search.”

Will also called out succession challenges and the personal relationship he built with the business owners at Forza Doors as playing key roles in his search and eventual acquisition. “Succession challenges are very much a reality,” he said. “You hear about it before you start your search, but, as you go deeper, you start to identify a pattern in the reasons why businesses are coming to market for sale, and, very frequently, succession is a challenge as older owners are looking towards retirement.”

He continued: “The owners and the Director at Forza Doors had built that business over 13 years. They were looking for a solution that allowed them to step back from the day-to-day business, but also they have a lot of vested relationships and respect for the team. They were really looking for the right new owners who would continue to live by the same values, the same kind of respect within the business, and of course, take the company forward and grow it from there with minimal disruption.”

“In my case, there was a competitive acquisition process with other potential buyers,” added Will. “I think one of the reasons we were selected was specifically because of the personal relationship we had built, and the fact that we brought both a solid transition of ownership and also new management they could get aligned with. So, I think in that respect, ETA definitely marries all of those components for everyone involved and brings those two sides together.”

When asked if he had advice for others considering launching a search fund, Will cautioned that there’s always uncertainties in the ETA process. “I didn’t close my first deal that we negotiated on and I looked at hundreds of opportunities,” he said. “I think that’s the thing: you just have to keep looking at the opportunities, getting out there, talking to people, and building those relationships. Then with a bit of good luck and a lot of hard work, it will fall into place.”


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