A broker listed a b2b services company with $500k SDE. Although we declined after seeing the CIM, the broker leaked email addresses for all 161 bidders for this deal. I took the liberty to dig into the other 160 bidders to learn about the competition.

Here's what I found.

Most of your competitors are just random people

The most surprising finding was that 40% of bidders had zero chance of winning the deal. They were tire-kickers, perhaps they heard about search funds from a business school friend, and they poked around a few broker websites.

Competing financial buyers are concentrated in the US cities

Most financial buyers are located in major US cities. We've all heard that competition for deals is much lower outside the major markets, and this map visualizes that argument.

44% of financial buyers are searchers

I'm interested to see how this number moved in recent years as ETA becomes trendier and more middle market PE groups are looking at the same small businesses now too.

Strategic buyers are more geographically spread out

While LA & SF still have concentrations of strategics, most other strategics are more spread out than financial buyers. Even NYC has way less strategics.

You're also competing against the SMB Twitter guys

I was surprised to see one of the big SMB Twitter guys on the list too. Yes, you're competing against them as well. Tread carefully!

Finding data like this is tedious. If you'd like to skip the tedium and get more analysis like this delivered to your inbox, comment below and I'll add you to my email list!