Search Fund Accelerator places process and learning at the center of the search process. Through data-driven experimentation, we are constantly reevaluating what works and what doesn’t. Each of our entrepreneurs benefits from SFA’s continuously growing body of knowledge once they join their cohort. We work closely with each searcher to build a strong pipeline of high-quality deals. We focus on individual mentoring, coaching and advising so each searcher focuses on the best deals and efficiently navigates the transaction process to a successful close. We build trusting relationships by working together during the search process that are highly valuable when our entrepreneurs become CEOs. Here is how it works:
1. SFA Boot Camp: Accelerate Your Learning. Accelerate Your Search.
Three intense weeks to learn and launch your search, while creating close relationships with the members of your cohort and the SFA team.
Learn to Search
The SFA team teaches you everything you need to know about our proprietary techniques, best practices and technology. This will enable you to rapidly build your outreach engine and quickly connect with company owners.
Launch Your Search
SFA Boot Camp is not an academic exercise. Everything you learn is immediately put into use by launching your search process during the Boot Camp. By the end of those three weeks, your search will be fully up and running. Buckle your seat belt.
Join Your Cohort and Build Your Team
By the end of Boot Camp, you will know the other members of your cohort, the preceding cohort and the SFA team better than you would imagine. These bonds will prove invaluable in the years that follow. At the end of Boot Camp, you will be joined by a dedicated analyst and a team of interns who will work with you as you run your search.
2. SFA Search Engine: Optimize Connecting with Business Owners
Own and Optimize Your Process
Targeted, well-managed, and well-executed outreach is the key to search success. This requires mastering a complicated process: efficiently identifying companies in select industry niches, intelligently reaching out to owners, and successfully learning more about their company. SFA’s experience, knowledge, and IP in all of these processes allows our entrepreneurs to reach great companies.
Tailor Your Outreach. Optimize Your Results.
Experimentation and data-driven learning are at the heart of SFA. We constantly seek to improve our methods by breaking and rebuilding processes and by building or refining tools to enhance our Searchers' efficiency. More importantly, the SFA team supports entrepreneurs as they continually tailor their process to find businesses that fit their profile and interests.
Build and Manage Your Team
SFA’s entrepreneurs benefit from managing their own team: a full-time Analyst and a dedicated group of interns. We select top-notch analysts and interns from a large pool of applicants and train them in order to maximize their contributions to each of our Searchers. They quickly apply their new skills to search and build a skillset they can use throughout their career. We are very proud of the prestigious jobs our analysts and interns have taken after leaving SFA.
3. SFA Mentorship: Evaluate Opportunities Quickly
Engage with Thought Partners
While interactions with the SFA team occur every day, each entrepreneur has a weekly meeting or “check-in” with the SFA team to discuss their progress. We don’t tell you what to do or where to focus. In fact, we tend to answer questions with questions by applying the Socratic method so our entrepreneurs build their muscles to think like investors and focus their energy on the best opportunities.
Think like an investor
Thinking like a dispassionate investor does not come naturally. It is learned. It requires significant discipline, discernment, and patience. SFA accompanies its entrepreneurs through that learning process. Evaluating opportunities quickly is key to success. In fact, until you find the “one” your mantra will be "fail fast and move on."
"Trust The Process"
Our entrepreneurs adopted this phrase, which captures the robustness of SFA’s processes: if you follow the playbook and work diligently, you will find a company that meets your criteria and is well-suited to you and your talents. This peace of mind should help you avoid the many problems associated with unchecked anxiety and pressure to “do a deal.”
4. SFA Transaction Process: Buying the Right Business
The transaction process is complex. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, many different actors involved and, on top of that, all the emotional highs and lows associated with every transaction. SFA works closely with its entrepreneurs to navigate the process successfully.
outstanding deal Partners
SFA entrepreneurs work with the best partners throughout the transaction process. We have close relationships with firms that provide legal, accounting, IT, HR, and risk management services. We have selected them for their ability to collaborate with searchers on due diligence and close transactions. In addition, SFA works with experienced lending partners, giving our entrepreneurs (and sellers) confidence that their transaction will be fully financed. SFA entrepreneurs also have the support of SFA's CEOs as well as all of the seachers in Boston.
Managing the Transaction & Closing
Transactions are fraught with complications. The SFA team works with our entrepreneurs to ensure that they have thoroughly investigated their deal, negotiated appropriate deal documentation, and created a solid plan for managing and growing the business that can be implemented starting on the day they take over as CEO. We also help our entrepreneurs manage the inevitable rollercoaster of emotions on both sides of the deal as closing nears.
Keep the Engine Running
SFA’s proprietary search technology and team-based processes ensure that outreach continues while due diligence on a specific opportunity is underway. This gives our entrepreneurs the confidence to invest resources in an outstanding acquisition opportunity armed with the knowledge that there will be other companies to pursue if that transaction does not close.
5. SFA CEOs: Ready, Set, Grow!
Congrats – You’re at the Starting Line
SFA was created with one goal in mind: dramatically improve a searcher’s odds of buying a good company, successfully running it as CEO, and earning meaningful financial rewards. Buying an outstanding business is only the first step on that journey. As CEOs, our entrepreneurs focus on growing their businesses. The SFA team supports them as advisors, board members and thought partners.
Our CEOs and the SFA team have strong foundation for success. We build on the mutual trust created by working side-by-side throughout the search process. Indeed, the SFA team has “lived the deal” alongside the entrepreneur every day since the very first phone call with the owner.
What's next? Manage and Grow the Business
SFA’s entrepreneurs were selected for their ability to be great CEOs. In the SFA context, that means not only managing the company but also growing it substantially. Each CEO is responsible for driving sales. Given the numerous demands they face, we give our CEOs lots of support, both formal and informal. We have weekly check-in calls, hold quarterly board meetings and provide shared services from SFA HQ. We also promise to always be available for ad hoc advice and guidance.
Trust - true BusINESS PARTNERS
Our CEOs and the SFA team have a strong foundation for success. The mutual trust we create by working together throughout the search process results in highly efficient and trusting relationships post-acquisition. In addition, the SFA team's work alongside our searchers during due diligence gives us unequalled insight into the company and the challenges facing the new CEO from day one. Both of these factors dramatically increase a searcher’s ability to successfully lead their company.
endgame – Create & Capture Value
In addition to their desire to run a company, SFA’s CEOs also want to create personal wealth for themselves and their families. Every CEO charts a different course, from selling the business to continuing to operate it for many years. We help our CEOs think through the options and our system of highly aligned incentives ensures a cohesive effort by our CEOs, SFA and SFA’s investors to achieve the best outcome.