Having recently completed our first acquisition I wanted to reflect and share what I’ve picked up over this journey. I’ve kept a journal since starting but this will be the first digital entry.
For context, Octillion is no longer a search fund but a digitally native consumer brand platform acquiring, operating, and growing an ecosystem of inclusive and sustainable brands in the health, beauty, and food and beverage industries.
While our goal is ‘different’ from a search fund the process to get a deal done is similar. Here are my big takeaways:
A deal is a series of individual variables that must come together.
I’m sure this is common knowledge now, but the funny thing about advice, is the best advice usually gets repeated. The number of things that must come together to get a deal done is incredible (Sourcing, timing, diligence, geography, price, relationship management, financing, customer concentration, planning, and organization.)
A key trait for when you are in the thick of it is speed, adaptability, and flexibility. The amount of people who have lost deals because of analysis paralysis (aka fear) is significant. Trust your work and yourself.
I remember being in Sainsbury on Sunday and talking over some terms we had just received from the seller.., my business partner the legal team and I had an extensive chat to sort this. We got back to the seller on the same day.
My significant other was not best pleased when I didn’t come back with the groceries as I was completely side-tracked.
If you owned a business, would you like to sell the business to yourself as a searcher?
Over this journey, I’ve really enjoyed speaking to a range of different owners and one common theme, for the most part, is the owners have unique personalities, and in the four deals where we got the furthest both parties got on extremely well.
The conversation was professional, fun, and enlightening. On the deals we did not close, we are still in contact and chat occasionally. I’m not one for having endless calls but anytime we did hop on a call to discuss what I always wanted to do is to strengthen the relationship and not weaken it.
A central point of any deal is establishing trust and having genuine intentions.
We acquired a food and beverage brand of which one of the main products is clean coffee (mycotoxin, pesticide, and heavy metal free). I went to all the coffee shops in my area just to learn and get a feel, my partner and I bought several of the products tried them ourselves and gave them to friends.
When we mentioned this to the seller his face lit up and what was a heavy agenda turned into an incredible conversation because I believe he saw our genuine interest. while closing docs weren't signed at that moment, the deal was effectively closed from that convo.
It's important to match your seller’s profile and have some personality as it could be the difference.
You may be solo but you're not alone
I initially started as a solo but was lucky enough to connect and align with the right partner.
This has made such a huge difference—massive respect to all the solo searchers. However just because you are solo doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone. The Searchfunder team has built a truly collaborative and supportive ecosystem.
I’ve met some smart, cool people this past year which has accelerated my learning.
The people I have interacted with have been incredibly generous with their time and they’ve taught me so much and have allowed me to minimize my mistakes.
Octillion aims to become the nucleus of truly ethical brands in the dry foods, drinks, skincare, wellness, and beauty sectors with a healthy, low-sugar, and ‘clean’ profile, pushing new frontiers for quality-led lifestyle options.
We will be acquiring a further 3-5 CPG brands with a 'clean' profile over the next###-###-#### months. as we aim to become a major consolidator of ‘clean’ FMCG/CPG brands. Consistent execution and operating with excellence are central to our strategy for all our brands.
Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to chat, more than happy to be of service.