On a cold and dark night of November, in the vincinity of the Champs-Elysées area in Paris, INSEAD and IESE Alumni Associations joint the strength of their network to pitch the Search Fund model to local investors (the event was hosted by the international lawyer firm Cabinet Déchert LLP).

Who would have thought that the event was sold out already 5 days in advance, despite being organized in the same evening than a well-broadcasted Private Equity award conference with 1,000+ participants hosted a few blocks away ? Certainly a good sign showing the growing interest on Search Fund in France.

Obviously the reputation of the panelist helped: Simon Webster, first European to have ever raised a Search Fund in 1993, Tobias Raeber, first Swiss Searcher who, with Kronos Capital and his partner Thill Bossert, acquired Herchenbach Industrial Warehouse in 2015, and Bruno Léa, first French Searcher who acquired Performer CNC in July 2019. José Martin Cabiedes, one of the first Spanish Search Fund investor, should have completed the panel but faced very last minute constraints.

In front of 80 attendees, a fair mix of seasoned investors from PE or VC background, high net worth individuals or even prospective Searchers or ETA Entrepreneurs, Simon Webster explained how, in the early 90’s, he learnt about the Search Fund model from Stanford searchers and how having a practical model helped him tremendously to convince local investors and to structure his search in the UK. Tobias Raeber, who in turns learnt about the model from Simon in London, explained his success story and how having a partner helped him to deliver substantial value (above average) to his investors. Last but not least, Bruno Léa , who met with both Simon and Tobias prior to launching his own Search Fund in France, put the final touch by describing the astonishment of seasoned French investors when they understood how his genuine, hand-written and individually tailored letters would reach the sellers’ desk whereas piles of formal, standard brochure-type of letters from renown PE funds would directly end up in the garbage bin !

One could feel that the ice had been broken during the networking cocktail when the participants were able to directly approach the panelists and organizers, enjoying petit-fours and a fine cup of vin-du-Jura provided by François d’Aligny, co-organizing this event with Benjamin Givelet.

In a nutshell, with 6 search funds either raising or searching in Bruno Lea’s footstep, the Search Fund model is definitively taking off in France !

For more details about this event please contact François d’Aligny (Ayerma Transmission) or Benjamin Givelet (Stella Maris Equity). Some pictures of the event: