Here to collect my free membership, and figured I might as well make the required post worth it ;)

To all the people struggling with search right now, this is for you.

I wanted to do a search fund in 2017 after I sold out of my tech startup (we got into Y-Combinator, raised $1 million, and I had a decent exit). Considering YC and Wharton, with the "entreprenerial" background that people kept talking about in search, I figured that I'd be a strong candidate.

But wait.

Let's go one step further. I wanted to show data to prove that I can run an effective search before I even went to investors! So to collect this data, I ran an unfunded search for 4 months using a team of 13 interns (combo of undergraduate + MBA). We reached out to 7,000 businesses, collected over 20 LOIs.

Finally, we had a really strong deal for an HVAC company in the south that had a chain of locations, very low opex cost, huge innovation potential (turn that company into recurring revenue model with selling replacement ACs, upselling IoT services in those homes). Employees loved the company. I vibed very well with the CEO who gave me a nice valuation discount (because we were both Christian).

Even if that deal didn't close, I had proof of concept! So I took it to ALL of the investors in the search fund world (they're all on this website). Paid for my own travel to meet people in Silicon Valley, Boston, Chicago, etc. and presented this. Standard terms. I'm a first generation college student so I didn't wanna squabble over percentages; I just wanted to be an entrepreneur.

All rejections. 100%.

I'm still really fucking bitter about it. And I feel that investors want an ex-management consulting / PE person with a little entrepreneurial bone to itch rather than a TRUE entrepreneur. And that's fine. Now when people ask about search, I tell them what investors ACTUALLY want.

But life went on. I ended up marrying a (now Stanford professor) that wouldn't have been possible if I did search. My portfolio was basically Tesla since 2013 and I went all-in during the 2019 crash. Then went hard into Bitcoin. Then made an investment in a battery recycling stock from an ex-Tesla engineer that went 30x on me. Then invested in SpaceX. Then invested in Luna at $17, and 3x that investment when it crashed to $4 in May (it's now at $100). Plus I still have my own startup exit. So yah...I ended up doing just fine.

I'm petty, egotistical, and edgy as a first gen student who always had to scrap for everything in life. But I also would've been a great small business owner (as a first gen college student who resonates more with hourly wage employees than with fellow Whartonites) and am a fairly good leader (I basically empower my team to do what they want, empathize and support them as a mentor, and celebrate when companies poach them at 2x salaries). Yah, the audacity and awkwardness of declaring yourself a good leader, but they this is a shitpost so w/e.

A lot of searchers fail. And fade into the abyss. It's not as rewarding as running your own company and failing because all you do is cold call + email people as a searcher. But I still value the relationships with my interns (several were invited to my wedding) and the knowledge gained about small businesses.

Feel free to DM me if you wanna chat or be friends. ESPECIALLY if you're struggling. I'm here for ya.