I am backed by twenty experienced investors, some of whom I have worked with closely for over 10 years. All have extensive experience investing in medium-sized businesses, and the majority of them have backed founder succession situations. Most are participating in this venture not only as an investment opportunity, but also as advisors and mentors to help grow the acquired business. All have invested initial capital into the fund, and in aggregate, we are aiming to deploy between $3 million and $25 million in equity capital in the transaction.
Individual Backers – Personal
Moudi and Omer Ben Shach
Omer and Moudi manage a range of technology, energy, and real estate investments on behalf of the BM Holding investment office. Current investments include GasNGo, a fleet and fuel management solution provider, Juganu, a municipal infrastructure technology firm, Mobiwize, a smart vehicle technology company, MDD Bell, an oil recycling business, and Paz, an oil refining and distribution business.
Mario is partner with Stikeman Elliott, one of Canada’s top M&A law firms. I’ve worked with Mario on a number of potential transactions over the years, and he is well-known for his involvement in both large high-profile M&A deals across Canada, as well as in completing many mid-market transactions.
Mark is the founder and managing partner of Satov Consultants, a strategy and operations consulting firm specializing in serving mid-market companies. I worked with Mark from 2008 to 2013, executing a wide range of projects for over 20 clients, among them firms in professional services, retail, financial services, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, and telecoms. Mark and his team continue to advise a wide range of companies as well as private equity firms. Mark is also an investor in several start-ups and mid-size businesses.
Glen is an experienced private equity investor, formerly the head of technology, media, and telecoms practice at Teachers’ Private Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in Canada. He was also a partner with Imperial Capital, a mid-market private equity fund manager, where I worked closely with him from 2013 to 2017. Most notably, we invested together in Ackerman Security, a commercial and residential security business, where I also became heavily involved in various strategic and operational initiatives. Glen’s other past investments include technology businesses such as SonicWALL and Blue Coat Sytems.
Individual Backers – Entrepreneurs Who Have Acquired and Grown Mid-Market Businesses
Rob Cherun and Sidney Sommer
Rob and Sidney are entrepreneurs who currently run Stealth Monitoring (formerly UCIT), a video security business based in Toronto, Canada. Rob was in my shoes seven years ago, when he raised a search fund to find a company to acquire and operate. He found Sidney, who had founded UCIT and had grown it to an operation with 55 employees, and was looking for the next step to take in his career. Ultimately, Rob and his search fund partner Erik acquired most of UCIT, and partnered with Sidney to continue to grow the business. The company now serves thousands of customers and has hundreds of employees in the field as well as offices in Toronto, Dallas, and Manila.
Mike Arblaster and Jeff Tung
Mike and Jeff launched search fund CPS Management Partners in 2013, and acquired Windley Ely, a workers’ compensation claims management business. Following the acquisition, they accelerated growth in the business and grew it many times over, building one of the leading claims management businesses in Canada.
Jay Davis and Jason Pananos
Jay and Jason launched a search fund in 2008, and acquired mosquito and pond management business Vector Disease Control International. They successfully expanded this business, and over time combined it with mosquito and pond management businesses in other geographies, building the largest such service provider in the US. Since then, they have also invested in several other small and medium business management transition situations through their holding company The Nashton Company.
Steve Lau and Rameez Ansari
Steve and Rameez launched search fund Highland Creek Partners in 2013, and acquired dESCO, now renamed FieldEdge, a provider of software for businesses with field service operations. Steve and Rameez successfully grew the business several times over under their ownership.
Aspect Investors – Andy Love, Brad Buser, B.A. Cullum
Aspect Investors was launched by Andy Love, who himself as a young entrepreneur acquired Behavioural Health Group (BHG), an outpatient substance abuse treatment company. While he ran it for six years from 2006 to 2012, the company grew to become one of the largest providers of opioid addiction treatment services in the US. After exiting the business in 2012, Andy launched Aspect Investors, where he was joined by Brad and B.A. Cullum, raising a committed capital fund from institutional investors in addition to investing his own capital to invest in the same thesis: backing young, ambitious entrepreneurs to transition businesses from retiring founders. Aspect has now invested in over 50 such acquisitions, in sectors including healthcare, software, travel, telecommunications, and legal services.
Cambria Group – Natalie Cryer, Lew Davies, Rene Lajous
The Cambria Group is a private equity firm investing in small and mid-size businesses, having backed over 100 acquisitions over its history, many of these by first-time CEOs. The team’s experience spans a wide range of geographies and sectors, among them software, healthcare, business services, security, professional services, and education.
Endurance Search Partners – Richard Augustyn, Larry Dunn
Endurance Search Partners is a serial investor in lower mid-market business transitions, having backed over 100 such situations. Rich is an entrepreneur who has launched and continues to operate two businesses, NIP Group, a national insurance brokering and risk management firm, and Extensis Group, a national leader in HR solutions for small businesses. Larry Dunn is a finance professional with over 30 years’ experience, including as Director of M&A and Divisional CFO at AIG. Both continue to lead NIP Group and Extensis Group, while pursuing their passion backing younger entrepreneurs through Endurance Search Partners.
Granite Point Partners – Kent Weaver
Kent is the Chairman of Progressive Home Care, a Northern California-based home health care business that he acquired and then operated as CEO for 13 years, after starting his career in the management consulting business. He has subsequently backed acquisitions of over 75 other lower mid-market businesses by young CEOs in sectors including healthcare, software, and business-to-business services through his investment firm Granite Point Partners.
Housatonic Partners – Mark Hilderbrand, Joe Niehaus, Will Thorndike
Housatonic Partners is a private equity fund with offices in Boston and San Francisco, which has invested in over 60 companies. The principals also regularly back young search fund entrepreneurs in situations similar to Red Oak’s. Will Thorndike is also known for his popular investing book: The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success.
McIntosh Properties – Michael Bennett
McIntosh Properties is a family-backed investment office that has supported multiple owner-operator transitions over the years, including some well-known business transition success stories in Canada. The firm has over 30 years of experience, and its professionals are dedicated to a values-directed approach to investing, including a passion for their families and communities.
Relay Investments – Sandro Mina, Martin Steber
Martin and Sandro acquired their first businesses as young MBA graduates in 1991, getting into the security alarm and billing services industries at the time. They led both companies through successful growth and eventually sold both to other investors. They subsequently went on to invest in other buyouts of small and medium businesses by young entrepreneurs, to date having backed 150 such investments in 19 countries through Relay Investments.
Search Fund Partners – Dave Carver, Jim Edmunds, Rich Kelley, Todd Tracey
Search Fund Partners specializes in backing management transition buyouts by young entrepreneurs, having backed over 50 investments in $1M to $4M EBITDA businesses by young entrepreneurs taking over from founding owner-operators. The firm was one of the first “funds of search funds”.
Vonzeo Capital – Kristoff Puelinckx, Jan Simon
Vonzeo Capital is a recently launched fund set up to invest in buyouts of existing small and medium businesses by young entrepreneurs. Co-founder Jan Simon is a professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona, where he teaches entrepreneurship through acquisition. The other co-founder, Kristoff Puelinckx, is an experienced entrepreneur who founded several businesses and advised many more, particularly in the technology, media, and telecommunications industries. The fund’s investors include multiple successful search fund entrepreneurs as well as institutional backers.