Finance capabilities have historically been out of reach for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). To efficiently leverage the skills, processes, and perspective of the finance function, large corporations build dedicated, multi-person FP&A and Corporate Development teams. This is a seven-figure annual investment that doesn’t match the resource set of smaller businesses, so these companies have placed the burden on team members to play out of position, suffered through manual processes and sub-par execution, or simply gone without.

First Water has spent years honing the model to open up this capability and experience set to SMBs. With our holistic finance toolbox, the Relational Finance model, and our team, First Water has created the solution for the market’s biggest problem: Access.

  • Access to the finance sounding board to explore and assess options and plot the path forward;
  • Access to the tools and processes to harness your data and build credible forecasts to keep your finger on the pulse, set achievable goals, make confident decisions, and hold teams accountable;
  • Access to diverse finance perspectives across private equity investing, investment banking, lending, consulting, and SMB management to bring partners to your side of the table with ‘other side’ experience; and,
  • Access to the experience and capital network to support you through all phases of capital raising and transaction execution.

Our approach has been built purposefully to enable long-term relationship building with our partner companies. This is enabled by the combination of capabilities and a model (Relational Finance) which offers flexibility in engagement and the ability to pivot with the goals and circumstances of our partners. We start relationships with a dialogue about goals, and that dialogue never stops.

As a result, we are the only firm capable of all the following:

  • Design, build and maintain any aspect of the FP&A function, deployed through proprietary methodologies for consistency, speed, and cost efficiency;
  • Run transaction processes start to finish, with billions of dollars of experience across a variety of transaction types, and with a deep capital network within the lending and private equity communities;
  • Serve as a trusted FP&A project consulting resource, with a long-term track record supporting portfolio companies of prominent private equity firms; and,
  • Deliver the full capabilities of the finance function to SMBs through a model that can be accessed for less than the cost of a single in-house finance professional.


Message From Our Founder

“First Water was founded with two missions. We are filling the finance function gap within SMBs relative to their large corporate brethren, while also creating a continuous and diverse learning environment for finance professionals. As a result, our team is uniquely empowered to bring incremental solutions and experience-laden dialogue into the partner companies we serve. For us, there is no greater honor than to be a trusted partner on deck of the ship heading into uncharted waters.” – Ben Lehrer

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