A Client’s Perspective: Danai Brooks

Danai Brooks studied engineering at Cornell and held several engineering and operations roles before earning an MBA at Kellogg. Post business school Danai joined JP Morgan’s Mergers and Acquisitions team. He then stepped out of advisory to run a small public industrial enzymes company. After the business was successfully sold to DuPont, he craved something more entrepreneurial and he started looking for a manufacturing business to acquire.

Danai found Komline, a manufacturer of environmental equipment, that fit his interests and was primed for scale. Founded in 1946, the family-owned business was looking for a new CEO. The CEO at the time, the founder’s son, was in his 70s, and it was time to pass on the business. So, Danai became CEO and acquired Komline simultaneously – two birds, one stone.

Since 2018, Danai has achieved 5X growth by executing his business plan, expanding Komline’s product range, enlisting a world-class sales team, and making six strategic acquisitions in the past 1.5 years to fill product gaps and build service capability.

When Danai came in, Komline was home to 100 employees and had two manufacturing facilities. Today, the company has over 400 employees and eight facilities. Change has been rapid, but Danai and his team are excited about continued growth.

When Danai decided to bring in a third-party consultant, Satori, an investor in Komline and a long-time client of Maven’s, recommended Mark. Although Danai had worked with big-name consultancies before, he was sold on Maven’s mid-market expertise and ability to answer targeted questions.

“Sometimes [Maven’s] reports that are 20 or 30 pages might be more informative than a 100-page book from a big firm that throws more resources at it,” he said.

When looking at acquisitions, Maven’s due diligence provides insight into customer sentiment and the brand’s market position.

“These insights have been really valuable,” said Danai. “We look at hundreds of companies and need to boil it down to ones that we really want to make investments in. And so, in that process, we need a lot of different filters, and Maven is one of those filters.”

Danai also noted Maven’s experienced team, which offers top-tier talent at a smaller firm with more focus. Moving forward, he plans to engage Maven again across two areas: acquisitions and product expansion. By engaging Maven at the right stage of acquisition to provide a strategic outlook, brand identity, and customer strength, Komline can continue riding a steep growth trajectory. And when it comes to expanding the company’s product range, Maven can answer critical questions relating to viability and positioning.

“Mark has been excellent, insightful, and concise.”