Entrepreneur | Austin
Ben Davis, an Austin-based entrepreneur and private investor, he starts and sells companies in various industries. In 1995, he co-founded LandTel Communications LLC, the market leader in satellite services for drilling platforms. In 2006, Davis and his partners sold majority interest to a private equity syndicate. In 1997, Davis co-founded Aquatica, Inc., a commercial diving firm serving the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, exiting in 1999 via sale to publicly held Cal Dive International.
Davis remains active in energy and clean technology investments. He is a Managing Member of Rapid Energy Services, LLC, which sells solutions for the energy, maritime and aviation industries. He is the largest shareholder of one of the country’s five largest biodiesel facilities. He is also a managing director of Westlake Securities, an Austin- and Houston-based investment bank that raises capital and provides mergers and acquisions advisory services for clients.
After a few minutes with him, it’s clear that Davis savors the entrepreneurial process. Asked for advice to budding entrepreneurs, Davis says that a critical part of his project filter is the integrity of the people involved.
“I am constantly impressed with the creativity and energy of entrepreneurs. But none of that matters if they don’t have integrity,” says Davis. He encourages young entrepreneurs to surround themselves with people of character, especially mentors “with a little gray hair.”
“Some things only come with experience,” he says.
Davis cites luck and timing as key complements to hard work in determining the success of a business. “Outsized returns come from investing in a talented team in an industry with the wind at its back. Even the best of teams have a much harder time if they’re not in a growth sector,” he continues. “The art is anticipating what that next sector will be.”
He also cautions that he, like other entrepreneurs, “has to remember that although current capital markets can ‘make a genius of an idiot,’ the halcyon days never continue uninterrupted.”
The biggest challenge in what he does? Time in the day. He laughs and says that if you want to talk to the real multi-tasker in the family, it’s his wife, Julie, who’s been a stay-at-home mom with their three daughters, Parker, Alex and Cate (11, 9 and 7). “Anytime I think I have a lot going on, I simply need to exchange calendars with Julie.”