Hello Searchfunder community,

I’m currently grappling with a number of complex issues in my search fund journey and am seeking some advice from those with more experience.

My classmate and I initially aimed to establish a partnered search fund in South Africa. However, as we’ve encountered the multifaceted intricacies of setting up and managing a search fund, it’s becoming apparent that a solo search could be more economically feasible. South Africa's small economy poses additional challenges. From a macroeconomic perspective, deal sizes that would typically suit a traditional search fund are also attractive to many established private equity firms. This competition, combined with the fact that partnered search funds often target larger deals, places us directly in the crosshairs of the competitive PE industry.

In light of these challenges, we've considered moving away from the traditional search fund model. However, this shift could potentially deter typical search fund investors who prefer the traditional model.

Also, we both come from finance backgrounds—my partner has a specialisation in investments while mine is in accounting and assurance. There is concern that our skills might not be as complementary as a successful search fund partnership demands. We get along great otherwise and share a lot of worldviews and similar backgrounds.

On the other hand, most of the searches we’ve engaged with have recommended a partnered search. This leads to my primary query: how critical is it for partners in a search fund to possess complementary skills? Particularly, given that the search fund model provides ample room for recent MBA graduates with limited real-world entrepreneurial experience.

As I navigate these challenges, I am interested in gaining insights on the following:

  1. Should we each consider pursuing solo search instead of a partnership, considering the above circumstances?
  2. How critical are complementary skills in a successful search fund partnership?
  3. How can we manage the existing tension and uncertainties this situation has raised?
    4. Given the competitive landscape in South Africa, should we consider deviating from the traditional search fund model?
    I appreciate any advice or personal experiences you may be able to share. I believe that hearing your stories and lessons learned could provide the perspective I need at this junction.

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts.