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Chicago Booth - Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Series

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A podcast series featuring all things related to search funds and entrepreneurship through acquisition. Hosted by Brian O'Connor, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and Managing Partner of NextGen Growth Partners.






Operator, Adviser, Investor: The Entrepreneurial Trifecta

John Shoaf, CEO of an Oregon-based company that provides educational marketing services for registered investment advisors, speaks about the three roles of an entrepreneur. He discusses his path to pursuing entrepreneurship, why he chose to assemble a diversified group of investors to fund his search, and how he’s made the transition from investor to operator of a company.

Duration: 00:20:38

Perspectives from the Search Fund Investor

Chris Killackey, Partner at Prairie Capital, has over 23 years of experience in private equity and middle-market lending, including time with Banc One Mezzanine Corporation (now part of Chase Mezzanine) and American National Bank. In this episode, Chris speaks from the point of view as an investor in search funds and provides insight into what behavioral qualities Prairie Capital looks for in the searchers and entrepreneurs they fund.

Duration: 00:20:58

The Two-Man Search Fund: Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Patrick Dickinson, co-founder and Managing Partner of Ninth Street Capital Partners, discusses his early exposure to ETA through working with a merchant banking group specializing in acquiring and operating companies, and his eventual decision to pursue an MBA and round-off his business skills. He went on to found Ninth Street Capital Partners with Michael Weiner, which now has a diverse investment portfolio and successfully exited Castronics in 2012. Patrick reveals the secret behind his...

Duration: 00:23:38

Transforming the Model: Evolution of the Search Fund since Irv Grousbeck

Mark Egan, a founder and Managing Partner of Boston-based investment firm Marion Equity Partners, recounts the last 30 years of the search fund model and how he’s seen both searcher and investor’s approach change over the years. Mark provides his words of wisdom for those looking to start a search fund and emphasizes the power of community in entrepreneurship.

Duration: 00:23:23

Dynamics of the Relationship Between the Investor and Searcher

Matt Burr, General Partner at Matland Capital, lends his expertise to discuss the dynamics of the relationship between searcher and investor, and what leads to a rewarding partnership. Matt expounds on his own experiences as an investor in search funds, as well as those of his father, Craig Burr, to provide a glimpse into how the investor thinks. He highlights a key trait their entrepreneurs have, “native intelligence,” and how it separates successful searchers from the rest.

Duration: 00:23:45

Journey of the Self-Funded Searcher

Austin Hall, Founder and Director of Brick Street Partners, reflects on the first six months of his search, looking back to his initial motivation to pursue entrepreneurship through acquisition, why he chose a self-funded search, and how he’s measured success thus far. Austin openly discusses the challenges of focusing his search in a confined geography, and explains the benefits of the self-funded model.

Duration: 00:22:06

Working with the Business Owner

This episode features Chuck Mishoulam, Founder of Alert Protective Services, and David Silberstein, Managing Principal of Anchor Light Partners, and CEO of Alert Protective Services. The duo provide a 360-view of the acquisition process – from making the decision to sell, working through a broker to source and execute the deal, and how they’ve ensured a smooth transition post-acquisition.

Duration: 00:27:59

Speaking From Experience: Coley Andrews of Pacific Lake

Coley Andrews, Co-Founder and Managing Member of Pacific Lake, a well regarded institutional investor in search funds, lends his perspective on a wide variety of topics. Beginning with his personal story and the inception of Pacific Lake, he delves into the common traits of successful search entrepreneurs, investment theses that can lead to good outcomes, the importance of having a bias to action, and advice on best practice when serving as a search fund entrepreneur turned CEO.

Duration: 00:18:32

Words of Wisdom from an Expert Board Member

Dennis Chookasian, Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and incredibly accomplished executive, shares tactics for juggling multiple professional responsibilities, how to work with your board as a young CEO, and key reasons why companies fail.

Duration: 00:29:38

The CEO Odyssey. Evolving from deal professional to company leader.

Brad Morehead, Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, recounts his own professional journey, moving through careers in investment banking, private equity, and ultimately to company operator as CFO of FeldCo, and later CEO of LiveWatch Security, which he acquired in 2010. In the conversation he reveals secrets to leading and managing people, the characteristics of successful serial entrepreneurs, and the importance...

Duration: 00:30:16

Perspectives of the Successful Independent Sponsor

Alex Schneider, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and the founding partner of Clover Capital Partners, talks about his personal career path to becoming an independent sponsor, shares the stories behind his initial investments, touts the merits of having an industry focus, and contrasts the differences between pursuing a business with committed equity funding versus more open ended arrangements.

Duration: 00:34:57

Raising A Search Fund

Matt Taylor, Managing Director of search fund Gypsum Ridge Capital, shares his reasons for pursuing a search fund, working with a partner, choosing your investors, conducting the search from two locations, and tactics to maximize the probability of success.

Duration: 00:22:02

Searching for the Business

Search fund entrepreneur Shamus Hines of Silverfield Capital talks about his strategies for finding the right business, how he balances his time between searching, assessing companies, and performing due diligence, getting the most out of interns, intermediated versus proprietary deal flow, communicating with investors, and how to effectively engage with business owners.

Duration: 00:27:04

The Legal Aspects of Search Funds

Raam Jani, Partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, provides perspective on the legal aspects of the search fund through the full lifecycle, from raising the search capital to closing the acquisition. He covers what legal documents come into play and when, key terms that often receive attention, and when it's appropriate to use your attorney and when to DIY.

Duration: 00:29:19