I’ve done a few search fund focused episodes, for instance last week’s episode focused on life during a search. In this episode exploring search funds, Betsy Brandt joins me to talk her preparation in launching her search fund, Forest Park Capital. I wanted to hear more about how a search fund is planned, the benefits of an MBA program, how capital is raised, and so on. Betsy was kind enough to share her experience working in investment banking and operating at a private equity backed company, going through the search program at Harvard, starting and setting up her traditional search fund, and a few advantages of being a female searcher.
This episode is a great review of the many questions asked when considering launching a search. If search is an option you’ve weighed at any point, you will enjoy hearing from Betsy. Enjoy.
Live Oak Bank – Live Oak Bank is a seasoned SBA lender focused on search funds, independent sponsors, private equity firms, and individuals looking to acquire small companies. Live Oak has closed billions of dollars in SBA financing and is actively looking to help more small company investors across the country. If you are in the process of acquiring a company or thinking about starting a search, contact Live Oak directly to start a conversation at liveoakbank.com/contactus.
Hood & Strong, LLP – Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. Hood & Strong is highly skilled in working with search funds, providing quality of earnings and due diligence services during the search, along with assurance and tax services post-acquisition. They offer a unique way to approach acquisition diligence and manage costs effectively. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected].
Traction Capital Partners – Traction acquires companies in the Pacific Northwest with between $1-5m in EBITDA and has acquired two companies to date. Visit their website or contact one of the partners, Justin Turner, directly to learn more.
Thanks for joining. I’m looking forward to having you on here. I want to have somebody who was about to start a search and had done a lot of the work leading up to it, talking to investors, MBA program, just to hear thoughts from that stage of the search. So do you want to go over your background and how you got into search and then why you chose your MBA program and how that process has gone for you?
Yeah, of course. Happy to be here. Thanks Alex. So I am originally from Kansas City, Missouri. Great place to grow up, love the Midwest. And it’s funny, finally being back after I spent, I guess, 11 years away, seven on the East Coast, and I just moved back to St. Louis to start the search. So it’s a funny adjustment period being back in the Midwest after so long, got to adjust to the Midwestern friendliness. But I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, loved it, studied economics. We didn’t really have a business major, but I think it’s funny to look back on that because, in contrast to those days, I remember looking back and I had no idea what I wanted to do in college. I think you have some of those people who come in sophomore year and say, “Oh, I absolutely must be an investment banker and go into finance.”
And I would definitely was a little bit more confused. So it’s funny thinking back to then, because I feel like I’ve had a nice string of experiences that led me to search, but I took internships at a think tank at an insurance company, took economics classes one summer, so all those kinds of things. But going out of school, like one of the really good learning experience for a couple of years. I wasn’t sure exactly what that looked like, but I ended up joining Ernst and Young Consulting Practice and their financial institutions group. So we were focused on performance improvement and risk management for the big banks in New York essentially, but funny enough, I actually realized pretty early on that wasn’t for me. It wasn’t this really intense training background that I really wanted coming out of school.
So I recruited pretty quickly for an investment banking analyst role actually, but ended up starting at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in their tech media telecom group, a year after graduation. So I started with the next analyst class, so risking making the jump, I think from a first job after school. But I think it totally paid off. I would recommend those programs to anyone. It’s a total business boot camp. I feel like you learn a lot in a very short amount of time. I was very challenged, very excited to be there, surrounded by very smart people. I will say, I’ve obviously done a few queries in a conference room at 4:00 in the morning, but who hasn’t that’s been through it? I think it builds character. And then coming out of there, it built this kind of hard numbers driven technical background but I think it was a good jumping off point moving into some other roles.
So really enjoyed it. Ultimately, was ready to leave and did something I think a little different. I think, most people go into banking because they want to go straight into private equity. I think I had a little bit enough of that world and wanting to try something different. And I really, really wanted to join a business. I’d talked to a few people and I think a few analysts with that skillset can go into a business and really make some changes and have an impact. And it’s an exciting place to be. So I ended up joining Flywheel Sports, which was a private equity backed boutique fitness brand that is essentially the SoulCycle competitor. So 42 cycling studios across the United States. At the time, boutique fitness was booming in New York. There was a new place popping up every block. And so I thought it was like a pretty exciting place to work.
We were also the underdog. SoulCycle was this giant competitor in the room. So, it was exciting, how are we going to catch up to them or beat them or stand out in this crowded industry? But overall, I had a great experience, I would say, at that company. I can go into that more detail later if you’re interested, because it was interesting. But ultimately wanted to go to business school. So decided on that, which is where I learned about the lovely world of search. That was definitely one of the benefits of taking two years off and uprooting your life as I learned about a career path I never would’ve known about before.
So what made you choose Harvard for your MBA program?
I think business school is like a very personal decision. I think there are a lot of great options out there. I think the reason I chose Harvard, I think first of all, in different strokes for everybody, I think once again, it’s a personal decision. I think people there, from what I’ve learned actually took kind of the academic portion seriously. And not that I’m a super serious person, but you’re taking two years off. You’re uprooting your life. I wanted to be in an environment where people have to go to class and have to stay engaged. And I think that really proved to be true there. No laptops, no cell phones, unless you’re in the back row, but everyone is there to be engaged on whatever class you’re in. I’m sure it’s the same with the business schools as well. I think it’s just something that stands out about HBS in particular.
I think secondly, I was very intrigued by the case method. I can’t say I came to learn any specific skillsets at business school. I think a lot of people come in to learn the fundamentals of finance, but already had that background. But I think what it does is it teaches you a way of thinking and how to be a better decision maker. It’s actually a very subtle change because someone says, “What did you learn at business school?” I think I’d have a hard time listing 20 specific things I learned, but it’s something that affects your daily life and how you think about things and think through problems and take the opposite side of an opinion and try to understand where someone else is coming from.
So I think it’s a very subtle way that it changes you. And I think that the network as well. I think that’s part of the reason you go to business school. And there were such dynamite people in my class, loved getting to know them. And I feel like a lot of those connections will still have way into the future. So those three reasons.
What did you go into your MBA wanting to do? And then through your two years, how did your thinking evolve through your classes and conversations with professors and your classmates? How did you wind your way into search?
I had this experience at Flywheel, which I think is a lens that really helped me come to this decision. It was this consumer business. I loved it. I think one changing, for example, from investment banking, I remember my first week on the job at Flywheel and we were in a meeting with the CEO and I put together some analysis on, at the time it probably wasn’t important. It’s like the optimal number of classes on the schedule and how do we optimize for labor costs with the schedule. And I put together this analysis by myself, it’s a small company, small team and presented it to him and he said, “Okay, go do it.” And I never heard that before. I had been a banking analyst where you put together all these analyses, you never get to see anything through.
And I was like, does someone want to check my work? Are you sure this is right. But we implemented those changes. I think that becomes like pretty addicting over time, is coming to the right conclusions. And even if you’re not right, just testing and learning and just trying to have an impact and make the business better, I think it gets pretty addicting over time, I would say. But, so I love my experience there. I really was interested in consumer businesses at the time, I’d had this experience it’s so tangible, right? You could go down the street and go to a spinning class and understand what the product is. And you’re talking about real consumers and the behavior of people. And it’s really interesting I will say, as my train of thought progress, there’s not that great businesses as I’ve come to learn.
So I think going into business school, based on that experience, I thought, you know what, I’ll go to another consumer business and I’ll be head of finance and ops or CFO or something of that nature at a small business. So that was my hypothesis going in, I would say. The summer between my business school years, I took a job. It was essentially finance and ops. So exactly what I thought, in Los Angeles at a director consumer startup, I had a similar experience. I think I loved that role. It felt a little bit like doing the same thing over again. It didn’t really feel like a growth role for me coming out of school. And I think started to feel more like a stepping stone instead of the end goal.
So, I’m really happy I took that summer to test that hypothesis, because I think it gave me a definitive. This was great for a specific time of your life and career, but probably not great afterschool, so happy that I did that. And I think your next question was how I got into search. Is that right?
So, I think it’s one of those terms that floats around a lot like, oh, what’s a search fund? You sort of know what it is, but you don’t exactly know what it is. And I think what was great about HBS is my second year, I had the summer experience like, oh no, I thought I wanted to do this after school. I realized that I don’t necessarily, what in the world am I going to do? Get back for that second year and start taking the search fund classes.
There’s one kind of the first semester and one the second semester. Rick and Royce teach it. It’s a great class. It’s called financial management of smaller firms. And it’s essentially about both the search phase and then the operating phase of search funds. And so I think what it does is really boils down. What does a search fund look like? Who are the types of people that do this? What does your daily life look like? It makes it very tangible. I think before I’d heard of search funds and thought, Oh, that’s crazy. I could never do that. And what this class does is it makes you realize that you’re perfectly capable of doing that. And it’s actually a great path to take after school. It is funny though, I will say. And I think this is a good thing. You have this class, I think they have three sections of it.
So quite a few people take the class. I would say 50% of people are like. “That sounds, I don’t want to do that at all. Who would do that? That makes no sense.” So that 50% is gone, maybe 25% are like, “Oh, this is like pretty interesting, but maybe not for me.” And then you have 25% of the class that actually is interested in it. And it takes the second class. You go into more detail. It’s a more of a hands-on class in the second semester.
And then it kind of finally boils down to the 20 or so people that actually go after it. So it’s a really great, I think that year was extremely helpful in terms of figuring out what I wanted to do. And in other important piece of it besides just classroom work is you need to talk to as many searchers as you possibly can. They bring people into class to talk about their experiences and it’s fantastic, but there’s nothing like hopping on the phone with somebody, who’s going to tell you exactly what their experience has been like, be very open with you is something that I’ve realized. And I think until you’ve spoken to them, I think they said in class talk to 50 searchers I’m out and I’ve gotten to 50, but I was probably in the forties. I think that’s an incredibly important piece of it as well.
And the second half of your last year, how did you think about putting your search together? How did you think about traditional versus self-funded? How do you find investors?
So I will say I probably took a little bit longer than most finally pull the trigger. I think everybody’s a little bit different, but started thinking about this in September. I think I officially pulled the trigger in late April. I think it varies a lot by person. I know certain people in my class who were raising money in February to search in the summer, we’re already just completely 100%. I was probably a little bit more… just wanted to be 100% sure, right. This isn’t a normal job where you can be two years in and decide, Oh, you know what? I don’t really like this very much I’ll switch jobs, which is what the majority of people do coming out of business school. This is a seven year old longer commitment.
So I wanted to be completely sure. Interviewed around a little bit in January, realized nothing. I would say confirmed that this was the path I wanted to take. So officially said. “Okay, I’m doing this in late April.” Started putting more thought into the process, putting together a PPM, what is my search really going to look like? Am I going to do a geographic search? Am I going to do an industry focused search? I wanted to get comfortable. I am doing a Midwest focused search. So I wanted to get comfortable regarding what states I’m targeting. Are there enough opportunities in those states, and then started really thinking about investors? So I would say kind of went out in early June with my PPM, had a lot of investor conversations. I also think that process is a little bit intimidating at first, because you don’t really know what to expect, but in reality, I actually found it quite enjoyable. Just because the search on community is so great and everybody just wants to help you and see you succeed and be very hands-on. I actually found it a very enjoyable experience.
When I thought about traditional versus self-funded, first of all, what’s so great about this model is the drama relationships and network and like partnership involved. That’s something that really excited me. And I didn’t necessarily see that happening in a self-funded search. I’m doing this by myself. I’m so low, I’ve never done it before. I have experiences, but not everything that I need. And so that whole level of partnership and learning was very exciting to me. What’s going to make this process more enjoyable. I think it’s having people around you that are helping you, not me operating in a silo. So, that’s how I thought about it. I also think the likelihood of closing something is just higher, I think because you probably have that constant circle of feedback from investors and people to go to.
I think it’s just an average of two years versus maybe three years or longer for self-funded. So that’s another attractive piece. And then I think economics converged at the end of the day. I think you could point to self-funded and say, this is a much better deal, but you can buy something a little bit, a little bit bigger and you also have the partnership of your investors. So I think that’s how I thought about the self-funded versus traditional. Wrap that up by the end of June and went through all the fund legal work and then close the fund in July.
Excellent. So between January and April, when you finally decided to do a search and put one together, was there a conversation or a meeting or person who finally pushed you over the edge?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I would love to say yes, but I think what it really is is I think I thought a lot about it maybe too long, honestly, because I think you have a gut feeling that you have that 25% of the people in Rick and Royce’s class that find it interesting. I think you do have a gut feeling early on that this is what’s right for you. The way I thought about it probably in that springtime is, okay, what am I more comfortable with looking back at myself at this moment in five years? Am I more comfortable saying, “Okay, took a job that I was sort of okay with, but it’s stable and it’s comfortable and maybe eventually I’ll do a search or am I more comfortable doing this right now out of the gate and potentially failing?”
30% of people don’t find businesses. I didn’t think I’d find a bad business. I was hoping in mind. I don’t think I hopefully would never do that, nor would my investors let me, but what can you really stomach five years from now? And for me it was all about, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy unless I did this thing that I really, really wanted to do, regardless of the risks involved. I think that’s what pushed me over the edge.
What was the search fund program like there? You talked about a few classes were there are search fund clubs, were there presentations given by investors there or panelists and opportune places for you to meet other current searchers, past searchers investors and other groups.
Yes. So I think the program at Harvard is fantastic. So, the first semester you have this first class financial management of smaller firms and the second is called entrepreneurship through acquisition and it’s more tactical hands-on. How do you actually do this thing, but to your point. So there’s an ETA club that’s extremely active. And within these classes as well. So between the classes and the club, I feel like we always had people on campus like searchers, investors, panels, coffee chats. I feel like there were a ton of opportunities to just start talking to people and you start seeing the same faces over and over again until you started to get a sense of what the community’s like, and who’s really active in it.
But I thought that was great. And I think it’s hard to know. I guess before business school, you absolutely want to go into this, but if you have a sense that you do, I do think it’s to choose a school that just has a general program related to ETA. If I think about myself, I don’t know if I would have gone down this path unless I had this more of a structured classes. So that’s advice I would have for someone even thinking, looking into it. I know obviously Harvard and Stanford have great ones, but I feel like a lot of schools recently, within the last five years have really built up great ETA programs. So would recommend just kind of making sure you’re at a school that has this resources.
If you went into MBA applications, knowing that you wanted to start a search fund, would you go back to Harvard or is there a school that you might consider as well?
I would go back to Harvard. I’m biased, right? It really did the trick for me in terms of learning about all of the steps of the search process. But I think more than that, it’s just making it very tangible. You read these cases about these people who are maybe just four years ahead of you and you can like really see yourself in that person’s shoes, and making those decisions and doing all the things that they did. And I think that’s really powerful. Because I think on the outside and you could say, “Oh, search funds, how am I supposed to be 30 and go be CEO of a business. That’s crazy.” Which I think is probably what I thought, before going to business school. But then these classes just break it down and make you realize I’m perfectly capable of doing that.
So with doing a traditional search, how did you choose the investors who, you don’t have to name any of them if you don’t want to, or feel comfortable doing that, but how did you choose the investors that you have?
So there are a lot of different options out there these days, which is great because I think similar to business school or career choice, there’s a different option for everybody. I think now you see the accelerators popping up, sole sponsor, or you go to their office to search, you have a cohort of other searchers and then you have the opposite end of the spectrum, where you have 20 different investors. Maybe you don’t necessarily have a point person that you go to for daily questions and things like that.
So the way I thought about it, I went somewhere in the middle, so I’m working with footbridge partners and they have a little bit of a different model. So they take 40% of the fund, but I really see them as my… I’m a solo searcher… As my partner in all of this, I just kicked off my search, I guess, last Monday, but they have proven they are my constant contact that we have weekly check ins, we’re texting we’re on the phone. It really is great. And so that’s how I thought about that. So I ended up with a group of 10 investors, but I feel like they’re important to highlight.
How are you going to structure your day throughout your search? So you’re in a co-working space. How do you plan out your days and your meetings and your calls and all this other stuff. So how do you get into life as a searcher?
That’s a great question. I’m on weekend right now and I was laughing to my friend the other day. I had this massive list of things to do last Monday. And I think I got through a third of it on day one. So it just seems like it might be one of those things where you never get everything you want to get done in a day. And I was amazed at how much time I spent on the phone with brokers and people that I know, and just try to get my name out there, it’s very time consuming. So to your point, I think I’m figuring out how I want to structure my day. I think I need a little bit more structure, I think it might make sense to break up in the mornings I come in and do X, Y, and Z and the afternoons that’s when I do kind of my broker and owner calls. I’m thinking through that right now, because last week was a mad sprint and probably wasn’t so organized.
How did your first week go?
Oh my gosh, well, it was great I would say, but I had such high hopes for the amount of stuff I would get done. And then suddenly, the week’s over and you’ve made it through half your to-do list. So I’m sure that will continue to happen, but it’s going well. I feel like I’m still doing, unfortunately, some setup stuff. How do I think about intern onboarding and making sure they know how to do certain tasks and what’s the right cadence of check-ins and some more admining stuff like that, that hopefully it’s a one and done. But yeah, mostly been talking to brokers and kind of my personal network. So, but I hope to start really going out to owners today.
How many interns do you think you’ll have?
I feel like I hit at a weird time, because, a lot of people are finishing up their summer internships, but then they haven’t really started school yet either. So I have one guy from Harvard, undergrad who started today, and he’ll be here for the next month. And then I think I’m going to essentially have a semester cohort, probably around five that starts early September and goes through the semester, I guess, searcher tip. I put an application on handshake and I got like a million applications. So if anyone’s listening to this use handshake, but yeah, there’s such great people out there who seem very eager to just learn. So excited to work with some, some undergrads.
There’s obviously not as many female searchers as we’d like. So it’s an interesting point of differentiation being a female searcher. How are you adding that into your search as well?
Yeah, no. I think that’s a very important question, I will say. I think we have four women out of my HBS class this year and maybe more actually, but four off the top of my head. And we also have a fun WhatsApp chat group about the funny things we hear from business owners and brokers, which are piling up, I will say. So, I do think there is a competitive advantage to it, and don’t quote me on this, but it’s just little tidbits I’ve heard from investors that the failure to find a business is about 30% these days, or maybe a bit more. I think women have a little bit of a higher likelihood of actually finding something. And I don’t know if that’s just because we’re underrepresented and maybe we stick out from the crowd.
So when you’re getting a ton of emails from different people, maybe received an email from a woman, maybe just stands out a little bit more, maybe a higher likelihood of responding. I think the way I’m thinking about it specifically is I definitely want to target female owned businesses if possible in the area, just because I think that’s a great way to stand out. And I assume a female entrepreneur would love nothing more than to pass down a business to another female entrepreneur.
So I feel like in terms of my specific competitive advantages, I might as well push on the Midwest button and the female button. Because why not? Another thing to think about when I was thinking about searching, you’ve seen all that data and women are just less likely to take a major risk than men, I think there was a few studies that came out about that the other day or last year. And that’s in the back of my head, right? When I was deciding to go down this path of, why am I hesitating a little bit, not saying that I’m sure there are women out there who are totally risk averse. I’m not trying to generalize, but it was in the back of my head. I want to take this risk.
The underrepresentation of women in search, you didn’t see it as intimidating. You saw it as just another challenge to take on within search.
I thought it was pretty exciting. There’s an opportunity there. And I do think women might have a better, also not to generalize, but I think I have typically a pretty high EQ. And I think in terms of building relationships with business owners, I think that’s a place where a lot of women can really excel and hopefully I will also excel. And so I think the underrepresentation is a huge opportunity here.
Yeah, certainly. That’s going to stick out in any owner’s mind when they hear, because most business buyers they are going to hear from are men. So hearing a woman almost regardless of what your pitch is like, you’re going to stand out in their mind.
Yeah. And I think I’ve already hopefully sort of using it to my advantage. So I’m based out of St. Louis. I can’t remember if I mentioned that, but I joined a female focused co-working space. They happily accept men, but just generally female focused and I’ve already been introduced to about a dozen people. Who’ve been passing me on to five of their contacts. So it’s already kind of paid dividends, I would say. So that’s a way I’ve set myself up.
You said there were a few conferences of female entrepreneurs and founders. Are there a few that you can join in your area?
So it’s funny. I have them teed up. A lot of them are annual memberships. And I feel like during this very strange time, we’re all living through. I’m trying to wait until it opens back up. But there are a ton of networks in the Midwest. I think in every city on female executives, the names are slipping my mind at this moment, but the goal would be to join as many as possible obviously, and hopefully be in the right place at the right time.
How do you mentally prepare for a search knowing that you’re going to have a bad day here and there and you need to pick yourself back up and coming into the next day, ready to go?
Yeah, now, it’s something I’ve been thinking about. I think first of all, something I’ve noticed and I think probably a lot of people who choose to go down this path or this way. I need to put some guideposts around when is work time and when do you go home and call it a night? I think it can easily bleed into all hours of the day. And I think from a mental health perspective need to put some guideposts around. Part of it is just being in a good mental and physical space, I know that sounds silly, but I’ve talked to searchers who find it extremely helpful to have a great workout routine eat very well and just kind of be in a good head space. I think that’ll be important, especially after business school, which was unfortunately, a lot of eating and drinking, would be excited to get back into a schedule like that.
I also think, the question is how do you pull yourself out of a bad head space? because I think it’s easy to, especially when you’re operating in a silo to think yourself into a hole of this isn’t going well, or this conversation went so poorly. And how do you rebound from that? I think it’s just taking a deep breath, honestly, every once in a while. I think I’m trying to incorporate some of those five minute meditation things into my daily schedule. I’m not going solo right now, but hopefully it’s part of it going forward, but I guess just the ability to pull out of a bad head space whenever something gets you down.
I guess we never talked about the types of businesses you’re going after. So is there a particular industry you mentioned having consumer backgrounds, are you looking at for consumer businesses or did those experiences turn you off to consumer and you’re looking at something else instead?
Oh my gosh, I should have mentioned this. They completely turned me off of consumer businesses. I think after my experience at Flywheel, you think, okay, maybe this was just a bad experience. I sure did probably heard that business, has not trended well since I’ve been gone. But then I kind of had my second experience last summer and well, that was a pretty good business. I think consumer businesses are just so difficult. Well, they can be extremely fun. You understand the product, you understand the service, you are a consumer of those products and services. You are subject to the whims of consumer preferences and those are so, so hard to predict and building, a very loyal and sticky customer base as a consumer businesses is near impossible. So definitely ready to leave those in the dust, I would say.
So only pretty much looking at B to B businesses, something that’s mission critical, services based, honestly kind of your classic search criteria, which I’m sure you’ve heard a million times probably staying away from anything manufacturing related. And then I am doing a geographic search. So while I will be industry focused, I’m from the Midwest, I am excited to be back. I feel like sometimes once people leave for the East coast, they don’t typically come back. So I’m excited to buy a business in the area. And so I’m looking in the nine states around Missouri, Kansas over to Ohio up to Illinois and down to Tennessee. So that’s where I’ll be looking.
One last question about consumer. Did you find any business models within consumer that would be attractive to a searcher?
Yeah, that’s a good question. Maybe I’m so jaded by my experiences that I haven’t even given it a second thought, but I do think like med spas have some merit, not that they have recurring revenue by any means, but I do think there’s a level of customer loyalty and repeat revenue. I think those could potentially be of interest. And I felt a lot of searchers have actually acquired in that space. And I understand why.
I imagine being from the Midwest is also compelling when talking to owners, have you found that to be the case too?
I actually have. And it’s interesting. I found it with brokers as well. I’m in the early phase. So I’ve been talking to more brokers recently to generate that initial deal flow, but I actually do think it resonates. I’ve put it in my outreach emails. I’m from Kansas City living in St. Louis, really want to buy in the Midwest and it’s come up on every call. And so I do think it’s a nice differentiator. And I hopefully think there’ll be some benefit to a level of geographic focus instead of saying I’m looking at all 50 states. I think there might be a little bit of a benefit to just being focused on one region.
What class in college would you teach if you can teach about anything you wanted?
I love this question. It’s hilarious. So this might sound a bit weird, but at Vanderbilt, there was this class and it was called human sexuality, which sounds bizarre I know, but what it was really about is the history of human kind and how man has evolved over time. And it was honestly one of my favorite classes at Vanderbilt. And then I read the book Sapiens. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. Also, a similar theme, just how humans have progressed over time and what are the key moments in human history that have made us to be the way we are. So it would probably be some class surrounding those topics and themes.
What’s a belief you used to hold strongly that you’ve since changed your mind on?
I thought about this question. Something came into my mind. It’s not particularly deep, but I remember moving to New York City and saying, “I will be here forever. I will die at Manhattan. I am a New Yorker forever.” And it’s funny how quickly that feeling dissipates. So life is hard there after a while. So I’m thrilled to move back to the Midwest.
Is there something about New York that you got tired of after a while in particular?
Yeah, I think there are so many benefits to New York, but I just think the general level of daily anxiety can be tiring at times. And it’s funny, I feel like I moved to New York from the Midwest and then from Nashville and I’ll never forget, here when you’re on an elevator with somebody you say, hello, you say, good morning, you strike up a conversation. Just how things operate here. I will never forget getting into the elevator at Bank of America one morning and chatting up someone that was probably a managing director, and they looked at me like I was insane. And so I think there’s a layer of just general anxiety and friendliness and go, go, go that I think I missed after a period of time. And obviously it is so expensive. So, happy to be back at a place that’s maybe slightly worries no more.
Yeah, certainly. What’s the best business you’ve come across?
I’m still overlay. I will preface this by saying that, but it’s actually something I came across my fiance’s desk a couple of months ago and I thought it was hilariously interesting. It was a garbage concierge service for apartment complexes that, not that go up and down, but that sprawl across some land. So you can’t necessarily use garbage shoots. I think it was $6 million in revenue, $3 million in EBITDA, like insane margins, flexible labor force, no overhead. It was just recurring revenue. It had basically like checked every box. So I thought that was pretty interesting and something I never pretty even know it was out there.
Did he buy it?
He did not actually. He passed on it. They were in the middle of another deal. So I think that’s part of the reason but…
Interesting. Was there something else about the business maybe that they weren’t really interested in?
Off the top of my head, I don’t think so. I think it checked every box. I think there are no barriers to entry in that market. I assume anyone can start a garbage concierge service. That might be the one downside, but other than that, it was completely flexible gravy train.
Thanks for joining us today. I’m glad to hear from a searcher about to begin. So congrats on your first week and I’m excited to follow your search as it progresses here.
Awesome. Yeah, thanks for having me. Thanks Alex.
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