Hello Searchfunder Community - wanted to say hi to everyone and looking forward to connecting with other searchers (current/past), investors, and professional intermediaries. I recently discovered the wonderful world of ETA model and have been getting up the learning curve quickly by reading and learning as much as I could (e.g. attended the most recent ETA Conference @ MIT, networked with folks, read the GSB Primer and HBR guide to buying a small business, etc.) to self-educate and build the knowledge base. The more I learned, the more excited I became and I’ve determined the model is great and a viable path for me.

I know I would be a solo-searcher doing an industry-focused search (primarily focus on software/e-commerce/digital-first business but open to any company based on its own merit) but the one thing I’m struggling with and assessing atm before launching is whether I should commit to the self-funded path or competing with recent top MBA grads for search capital in the traditional path. It’s said that if one wants to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together. Some of the pros/cons are clear for each path and I suspect ultimately it comes down to personal circumstances and preference over certain factors (e.g. economics/control v.s. experienced guidance/mentorship). Personally, I’m a few years out of business school so I might not have the advantage of being close to the institutional capital and therefore miss the chance to acquire a larger (in ETA sense) company with benefits that come with economies of scale and higher chance to pull value creation levers. Meanwhile, I don’t exactly consider myself “mid-career” yet with enough operating experience to go on my own without outside counsel/guidance so acquiring a smaller company might afford the independence and flexibility for trial and error but lead to a bumpier/riskier road.

So my question is: Given my background, how should I think about whether to go fast and alone, or go far and together? Curious to hear from folks who’ve been down either path and would welcome perspectives and feedback from both searchers and investors. Thank you!

Lastly, I’m based in Seattle, WA and would love to meet in person soon (following all COVID-related health protocols of course) if anyone’s up for free coffee!