One of our members asked a question about choosing the location where they plan to conduct their search. Should they search from a location that was their geographic preference or from an airport hub that would make national travel more convenient? Based on our many conversations with searchers, our guts told us that most searchers find a company within 1.5 to 2 hours from their search location. However, we thought that it was time to take a harder look at our crowdsourced data.
30% of search funds find a target in the same area as their search location. The median distance for all known search acquisitions is 60 miles and within a 2 hour drive. The average is pulled up by a host of cross country acquisitions. (The longest distance comes in at a whopping 5350 miles). Thus, the average is 600 miles with a drive time within 9 hours . Essentially, 600 miles is the distance from Portland, Oregon to the California Bay Area or New York City to Charlotte -- both are about 2 hour flights. This indicates to us that the average location is likely to be found within a convenient day trip -- either by car or plane -- from the search location.
As the primary job of a searcher is to build relationships with business owners and properly vet target companies, it's likely these objectives are best accomplished when the target is within a convenient travel distance. Of course, luck can sometimes play into it, too. In our interview with ^ , he talked about how a business owner already happened to have a plane ticket to Mike's location for his kid's tournament.
The data is based on all known search fund acquisitions -- anywhere on the globe -- as of December 11, ###-###-#### Using Google Maps, we compared the search location with the acquisition location in terms of the driving distance and the drive time. We included locations like Hawaii in calculating the distance, but did not include them in the drive time calculation when there's no way to physically drive to the lovely island state.
We further assessed the most popular places from where successful searchers conduct their search. The below chart includes only those search funds that have acquired a company. As you'll see, New York City with its 5 burroughs topped the list followed by the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Bay Area covers a fairly large swath from Santa Clara to Marin and Contra Costa Counties. However, San Francisco County by itself would land within the Top 5 of our list.
If only US cities were considered, then the Salt Lake/Provo, Minneapolis and Houston metropolitan areas would be ranked within the Top 15.
* crowdsourced* acquisition data collected as of 12/11/2019; subject to change.