137 episodes

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital.

Episodes released weekly. Learn more at alexbridgeman.com.

Think Like an Owner Alex Bridgeman

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 84 Ratings

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital.

Episodes released weekly. Learn more at alexbridgeman.com.

    Kurt Leedy and Kyle Coots - The Three Methods to Grow Capital - Ep.134

    Kurt Leedy and Kyle Coots - The Three Methods to Grow Capital - Ep.134

    My guests on this episode are Kurt Leedy and Kyle Coots, co-founders and managing directors at Miramar Equity Partners. Kurt and Kyle have an interesting vantage point in the search world being backed by a family office with an agnostic time horizon, allowing them to invest in the widest set of opportunities in search and parallel spaces.
    Our episode focuses on a concept they developed they call the three ways to make money, those being classic LBO, M&A-driven strategies, and organic growth. We dive into the characteristics of each along with a few examples from their portfolio.
    We also touch on how the intersection of two or more methods can create exponential outcomes. Finally, we discuss a few theses they find interesting in healthcare and software and how they develop a thesis on an industry.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.

    Special thanks to our sponsor: Oakbourne Advisors

    Links:
    Miramar Equity Partners
    Kurt Leedy on LinkedIn
    Kyle Coots on LinkedIn
    Will Thorndike with Patrick O'Shaughnessy
    BPD Zenith
    Flint Group
    Swoogo
    Encore Infusion
    Constellation
    Business Breakdowns - The NFL

    Time Codes:
    (3:36) - How did your backgrounds help form this concept of “The three methods to make money”?
    (9:18) - Do you have a model of investing that resonates most with what you’re looking to accomplish?
    (12:24) - Have Search CEO’s been primarily focused on one of these three buckets in your experience?
    (15:51) - What are some characteristics & examples you’ve seen of the Classic LBO investing model?
    (18:36)- What questions or risks are you optimizing for when considering LBO?
    (22:13) - What are some factors that have correlated with a high retention rate in companies you’ve observed?
    (24:23) - Can you walk us through how you divide M&A Driven Strategies into its two subcategories: Roll-Up and Transformative?
    (33:46) - Is there some value in having M&A experience for a CEO & their company?
    (35:42) - Why do you think there is such increased popularity in the M&A strategy within Search?
    (39:00) - Which companies and characteristics fall under the Organic Growth Model?
    (46:00) - What are some examples of companies who have combined these methods and found success?
    (51:10) - What are your thoughts on Software businesses and any opportunities in that space?
    (54:40) - What are some ways you develop and validate different theses?
    (1:01:19) - What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on?
    (1:03:32) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Adriana Garcia Ceja - The Power of Role Models - Ep. 133

    Adriana Garcia Ceja - The Power of Role Models - Ep. 133

    My guest on this episode is Adriana Garcia Ceja who recently launched a traditional search fund backed by Footbridge Partners, Pacific Lake, and others with a primary focus on the healthcare industry. Adriana brings a ton of experience to her search, including corporate development at Home Depot and a head of special products role at Applied Concepts, a search fund backed company, during her gap year in her MBA at Harvard.
    We talk extensively about lessons learned at Home Depot, including the many mentors she's had along the way, how to be an entrepreneur in a big company, picking the right search fund model for you, getting hands on experience prior to searching, and how we can encourage more women to become searchers.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.
    Links:
    Adriana on LinkedIn
    Bolivar Health
    Applied Concepts
    Flying Magazine

    Topics:
    (2:37) - What are your considerations when looking at different options in your Search?
    (5:13) - What factors did you weigh when looking at investors?
    (7:33) - What advice did you get from people to help you prepare mentally for Search?
    (9:23) - What motivates you to be so interested in the healthcare industry?
    (11:05) - What was your experience like working at the corporate level at Home Depot?
    (18:14) - Being Entrepreneurial in a Big Company
    (20:19) - Where are the similarities you see in service, retail, and healthcare?
    (22:13) - What observations did you make in hiring, training, and management from Home Depot that could be applied in an acquired healthcare business?
    (26:07) - Where do you draw the line in a Search when it comes to a culture that might be too far gone?
    (30:40) - What was your experience like at Applied Concepts?
    (35:15) - What challenges did you encounter as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
    (37:44) - What will it take to balance the cohort of Searchers?
    (42:37) - Who are some female role models that you admire?
    (44:16) - What are you most excited about in your first year as a Searcher?
    (45:37) - What College class would you teach if it could be on anything?
    (46:27) - What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
    (48:42) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 55 min
    Mark Brooks - Building Transformative Teams - Ep. 132

    Mark Brooks - Building Transformative Teams - Ep. 132

    My guest on this episode is Mark Brooks, Managing Director of Permanent Equity. Mark leads Permanent Equity’s post-close operations team, partnering with company leaders to overcome challenges and unlock growth.
    Mark is a really reflective person, which you can tell from his writing on Twitter. He's thought very deeply about management and creating transformative teams, and this conversation is dense with value and insights. This episode is a fantastic dive into all things management, including brevity and effective communication, creating an environment that encourages debate and disagreement, and why great teams are crucial to combat process depreciation.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.
    Links:
    Mark on LinkedIn
    Permanent Equity
    Mark on Twitter
    Margin call scene: Explain it to me as if I were a child
    Morgan Housel
    Ben Thompson
    Matt Levine on Bloomberg

    Topics:
    (2:58) - How important is brevity internally in business?
    (8:17) - When you think about writing key messages, how would you coach communicating via email?
    (10:10) - How do you share ideas across companies?
    (13:10) - How do you make sure your companies aren’t reliant on one person?
    (17:13) - Is there a long term goal that operators should aim for in terms of the decisions they have to make?
    (19:37) - Healthy laziness in delegation
    (23:14) - How do you best shift the mindset of a new manager to think more about team performance vs. their individual performance?
    (26:40) - What are some common character traits of leaders who are great delegators?
    (28:23) - Building a team for space and for stress
    (31:45) - How do you evaluate a candidate’s ability to build a team?
    (33:26) - When you bring in new managers, are there common behaviors or patterns that need to be adjusted?
    (35:59) - The depreciation of processes
    (38:38) - How do you create a culture where employees feel comfortable disagreeing with management?
    (41:48) - How do you try to pinpoint holes in your own processes and methods?
    (44:34) - Of the highest performing operators you’ve seen, are there any consistencies in their daily routines?
    (47:55) - What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
    (50:25) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?
    (52:10) - Which newsletter writers do you really admire?

    • 57 min
    Sara Heston & Peter Kelly - Stanford Search Fund Study - Ep.131

    Sara Heston & Peter Kelly - Stanford Search Fund Study - Ep.131

    I'm joined by Sara Heston and Peter Kelly. Together at Stanford, Sara and Peter, among other projects and teaching, assemble the Stanford Search Study that has been released every year on even years. The study is widely considered the go-to resource for learning about search funds and is often the first resource shared with folks considering the path.
    The first study in 1996 was only two pages long, and the 2022 study released in July is over 30 pages, reflecting both the growth in the Search Fund Model and the increased availability of data. Our conversation covers the purpose of the study, it's evolution since 1996, a half-dozen interesting trends they have observed among Search Funds, characteristics of ideal Searchers, and data sets they want to add to the study in future years. Enjoy.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.

    Links:
    Email Sara here: sheston@stanford.edu 
    Sara Heston on LinkedIn 
    Peter Kelly on LinkedIn
    2022 Search Fund Study
    Search Fund Primer

    Topics:
    (1:32) - What’s the background and genesis behind this broad Search Fund Study?
    (3:28) - How has the audience changed over time and what are the goals of those reading the data?
    (6:28) - What are some decisions you’ve seen made by people utilizing the study?
    (8:02) - What’s the methodology for putting together the study?
    (9:48) - What are some of the most notable things you’ve added to the study over the years as it’s grown?
    (13:10) - Where do you get ideas for new data sets to add?
    (15:27) - What are some interesting trends you’re paying attention to based on the study?
    (18:49) - Why do you think you’re seeing a spike in returns?
    (21:58) - How much of the rise in multiples is due to the 10-year bull market we’ve had?
    (26:59) - Is there anything else notable you’ve noticed that’s influencing Searcher equity?
    (29:22) - How have you seen exits evolve over time?
    (31:53) - Are there any interesting sets of characteristics that the best Searchers have?
    (37:07) - Do you see Searchers who feel out of their element building teams around them to pad weaknesses?
    (39:20) - What are your thoughts on Partnered Searches?
    (42:14) - What are some data sets you’d be excited to add to future studies?
    (45:53) - Do you have a sense of how large the self-funded Search community is?
    (47:39) - How can folks in the community help make studies more robust?
    (49:31) - What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on?
    (53:45) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 57 min
    Jay Davis and Jason Pananos - Serial Acquisition Strategies and Holding Companies - Ep.130

    Jay Davis and Jason Pananos - Serial Acquisition Strategies and Holding Companies - Ep.130

    My guests on this episode are Jay Davis and Jason Pananos. Jay and Jason acquired Vector Disease Control, which provides vector borne disease prevention and lake management services, in 2011. About 4 years after acquisition, they realized serial acquisitions complementary companies could be a powerful growth lever. And 14 acquisitions later, they sold the company in 2017 for a very successful outcome. Following the sale, they founded the Nashton Company where they've been mainstay search investors and the last few years holding company investors.
    They're also co-founders of Compounding Labs, a partnership between Jay and Jason, Kent Weaver and Will Thorndike to invest in long-term holding companies. Our conversation covers their investing in holding companies, how they approached serial acquisition at Vector and how they advise other searchers in the strategy, sources of capital and deal pacing, and building deal teams and when to start that process within your serial acquisition or holding company cycle.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.
    Links:
    Jay on LinkedIn
    Jason on LinkedIn
    Nashton Company
    Compounding Labs
    Stanford Search Fund Harvard Business Study 2022
    Topics:
    (3:17) - If you look at Vector as a play for acquisitions, how did it fit into your strategy?
    (6:41) - What actions did you take to prepare yourself for rolling up other businesses and acquisitions?
    (10:56) - What key roles need to be in tip-top shape before you begin acquisitions?
    (14:39) - What were some best practices you developed over the process of 12 acquisitions?
    (16:14) - How have your roles evolved over time?
    (20:53) - Have you noticed folks things being easier for serial entrepreneurs if they have a partner?
    (22:29) - What other types of investments have high returns in the early days outside of team-building?
    (25:24) - Are there any misallocations of time entrepreneurs have in the early innings of a serial acquisition strategy?
    (29:49) - Does the presence of Private Equity in a certain industry make it more attractive to you?
    (33:10) - What are some factors you weigh when looking at industries to potentially invest in?
    (35:27) - What characteristics do you look for in entrepreneurs?
    (37:46) - How does pace increase factor into your path as the team grows?
    (39:38) - How does the source of capital shift over time?
    (42:38) - What are your thoughts on Long-term holding companies and their increased popularity?
    (47:27) - How do you sus out whether an entrepreneur knows they’re in this for the long haul?
    (50:51) - How do these long-term hold companies shift over time?
    (54:02) - How do holding companies shift your role when investing compared to a traditional search fund?
    (56:59) - What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on?
    (58:43) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Nick Haschka - Reversing Course on a Holding Company - Ep.129

    Nick Haschka - Reversing Course on a Holding Company - Ep.129

    My guest on this episode is Nick Haschka, back for a third episode to provide an update on his early ambitions of a holding company, which have taken a slight turn. Two years ago, Nick and his partner Anupam Sharma acquired a commercial landscaping company Vargas Gardening. They added a manager and grew the business, but realized the road ahead was going to be substantially more difficult and so made the decision to sell the business, earning a two-year IRR of 122%. Running a second business with a worse economic profile than Wright Gardener wasn't going to be as valuable an endeavor, and thus they renewed their focus on Wright after the sale. Nick has also been thinking more about search investing, having reduced his investment activity due to the declining economics he's seeing. We talk about this change of thought, his interest in investing in public micro-cap stocks, and deeper, more targeted industry theses.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.
    Links:
    Nick on Twitter
    Nick on LinkedIn
    The Wright Gardner
    Nick's recommended products, reading, and more!
    Connor Haley on The Fort Podcast

    Topics:
    (2:39) - Updates since Alex and Nick last spoke at the outbreak of the pandemic
    (5:35) - Nick’s venture into acquiring a commercial landscaping company
    (9:49) - Selling the landscaping company
    (19:30) - What changed in your growth approach with this second business?
    (22:35) - How have the last few years been for The Wright Gardener from a growth perspective?
    (24:24) - Why have you slowed on investing in Searchers?
    (26:53) - Do you get the sense that terms have gotten worse or the quality of deals has declined?
    (28:45) - What’s been your experience with investments since slowing down?
    (29:48) - What’s your interest in Micro-cap stocks?
    (35:28) - How do you think about expanding your network from Search into Micro-caps?
    (36:28) - What’s your long-term vision for this Micro Caps approach?
    (38:35) - What other topics or ideas are you focusing on?

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
84 Ratings

84 Ratings

Aaron--p ,

Must listen for entrepreneurship through acquisition

Alex has built a must-listen experience for those interested in search funds and lower middle market PE and SMB operations.

Czar of Tonti ,

One of my favorites.

Great content. Skilled interviewer. Knowledgeable guests.

Dushqqw112 ,

Thoughtful, professional, and insightful - keep it up

Think Like and Owner adds a great deal of value to my day. Congrats Alex and team on such a well done podcast.

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