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Allow me to introduce myself


Welcome to the first edition of the ETA 101 newsletter. I started this newsletter with two intentions:

  1. Help readers understand the different ETA methods and which method is a good fit with their experience and aspirations

  2. Document my journey of doing a search fund to acquire a business

My Story

I’ve always had the entrepreneurship bug. When I was in third grade I learned that the Laffy Taffy I could buy in bulk at Sam’s Club for $0.05 / each could be resold at school for $0.25 each. I loved how money could be made out of thin air through doing a bit of work that others were not willing to do. This desire to do something entrepreneurial went dormant in my 20s - I was working in different industries, building skills, and figuring out what kind of work I enjoyed. In my 30s I was immersed in the tech industry and felt the pull to start a company, but the typical tech model (raise money, run expenses higher than revenue, hope you can grow revenue enough to raise more money) felt wrong. I also never landed on an idea that I just had to pursue.

In 2020 I started to notice other ways to pursue entrepreneurship. I followed Eyal Toledano as he chronicled his MicroAngel method of acquiring small SaaS companies and watched the rise of microacquire.com. At this point I was at Meta (fka Facebook) and harvesting the benefits of over a decade of working in tech. I had fantasies of starting something on the side, but work was all-consuming. I also wondered if I would be challenged and satisfied working on a small-scale product. I felt capable of managing and growing a much bigger company and product, but I had no idea how to get there.

In 2022, a WhatsApp message set in motion a series of events that would result in me leaving Meta and starting a new chapter of my career. I learned via a business school group chat that my sectionmate Katie Laidlaw had acquired ETU, an online learning simulation platform, via a search fund. I knew about search funds when I graduated from business school in 2009, but I thought search funds only acquired aggressively offline businesses located in small towns (think: refrigerated shipping). Katie’s acquisition challenged these assumption: ETU is large, sophisticated internet company in Dublin, and Katie runs the company from Boston.

This set off about six months of digging into the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) world and figuring out how I wanted to participate in this exciting new ecosystem. I ended up raising a Search Fund, which is one of multiple ways to participate in ETA. Search Party Capital was formed in July 2023, and I’m searching full-time for a business to acquire.

What’s Next

So here I am at 43, starting something new in a world that I didn’t know existed just a few years ago. How’s it going? It’s really fucking hard. In Product Management I was somewhat on autopilot - even if I switched companies or teams, I could come in and do the thing. Now every day I’m doing new things that I don’t feel qualified to do. But - that’s also exactly why I left and started this new path. It feels good to be a beginner, and I like the new challenges I’m facing. I’m looking forward to chronicling my journey as I go - thank you for coming along with me.

How can I help?

Hit reply if you have questions about Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition or there are topics you’d like to see covered in future posts.

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