Transformative ECommerce Executive Eric Kau Joins NEP as Operating Partner
April 20, 2021
Minneapolis, MN and West Palm Beach, FL, April 20, 2021 – Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a leading middle market investment firm founded in 1961, is pleased to announce that Eric Kau, a proven operating executive and CEO advisor, has joined the firm as an operating partner. With breadth and depth of experience across several digitally native ecommerce and direct-to-consumer growth businesses, Kau has an established track record of partnering with founders and CEOs to build scalable businesses and operational engines that drive meaningful growth.
“The entire NEP team is thrilled to have Eric on board. He has tremendous experience backed by a stellar track record of working with companies to successfully realize new ecommerce and B2C revenue, both organically and through add-ons. He knows how to lead disruptive growth using these strategies and guide businesses to integrate new approaches to growth. Eric leads from both behind the scenes and on the front lines, which truly differentiates him,” stated Tony Armand, NEP Partner.
Prior to joining NEP, Kau was chief operating officer at BoxyCharm, a market leading cosmetic subscription company. He served as operational head of several functions, including ecommerce, merchandising, technology, and supply chain, among others. His leadership contributed to helping BoxyCharm realize 5x revenue growth in just 24 months.
Before BoxyCharm, Kau worked at Chewy.com, where he led merchandise operations and was responsible for product marketing, pricing, product assortment, and business intelligence functions, helping to design the entire operations footprint. His efforts helped position the company for an industry record-setting $3.35 billion sale to PetSmart.
In addition, Kau worked for Amazon as a category lead and general manager of its vitamin, diet and sports nutrition business unit. He also held strategy and planning roles earlier in his career at Best Buy and Target.
Kau shared, “I have a passion for advising business leaders on the best way to realize and execute the strategic vision for their companies. Creating value by helping to build companies is the core of what I do, which is a perfect match with NEP’s 60-year mission. I look forward to partnering with and advising NEP’s portfolio company leaders as they explore new capabilities to deliver growth.”
“Like NEP, Eric’s career has been focused on building teams and businesses. He complements our existing operating partner model and is not only a great fit for our team but a huge win for our firm and portfolio companies. Collectively, we are all going to learn from his experience – he’s a meaningful resource who will undoubtedly help our companies grow into even stronger industry leaders,” stated Tim DeVries, NEP managing partner. DeVries notes that NEP is increasingly investing in companies with potential to grow with ecommerce and D2C channels. “Eric will layer new ideas to these businesses, while assessing our entire portfolio for untapped opportunities to grow revenue through these strategies.”
Eric has Bachelor of Science degrees in marketing and general management and technology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an MBA, with an emphasis on strategy and entrepreneurship, from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
With offices in Minneapolis and West Palm Beach, NEP has been investing in growing profitable and scalable middle market companies since 1961. The firm is currently investing NEP X, a $1.6 billion equity fund, and opened a second office in Florida in 2019 to focus on investment opportunities within the strong middle market community in the southeastern U.S.. More information can be found at nep.com.