The FORT Podcast: Tim Ludwig – Partner @ Majority Search – A Deep Dive on Search Funding
Tim is a Partner at Majority Search, a private equity firm focused on helping top mid-career professionals pursue entrepreneurship through acquisition (EtA). He is a veteran search fund investor who has backed over 80 search funds and first-time CEOs since 2007 and purchased three companies directly. Before Tim began investing in search funds, he was an executive at a diversified real estate company, consulted with Arthur Andersen and a middle-market manufacturing company, founded two online publishing companies, and held positions with Dell and a venture-backed start-up. Tim graduated from The College of Wooster, received his MBA from the University of Michigan, and lives in San Diego with his wife and two teenage children.
On this episode, Chris and Tim discuss:
- A deep dive into the search fund industry and how it matured over time.
- What Tim has learned from interviewing hundreds of CEOs.
- How Majority Search structures deals that align incentives.
- Lessons from valuing 1000’s of small businesses.
(2:51) -Tim’s background and career
(17:28) – What is a Search Fund in traditional vs. self-funded?
(25:42) – How do deal structures work when you begin a Search?
(29:25) – How big is the Search Fund community and how can people get in?
(32:47) – EBITish on Discord
(34:08) – What are some characteristics of a successful Searcher?
(45:46) – Is there a way to sense if someone has common sense and judgment?
Chris now acts as the Searcher for the remainder of the episode
(52:40) – What are the best practices for finding businesses to buy?
(59:43) – What are some industries or business types that really excite you?
(1:03:42) – What does the process look like once we’ve got an LOI between a Searcher, Search Fund, and Seller?
(1:10:11) – Is there any one reason that causes deals to fall apart?
(1:12:14) – Do you prefer if the seller stays on in some capacity during the transition to new owners?
(1:15:35) – What kind of returns are you looking for to determine if an acquisition was a success?
(1:18:56) – What are some low-hanging fruit new owners can capitalize on to grow a business they’ve acquired?
(1:23:07) – Do you care if owners implement some kind of EOS or other operating systems?
(1:24:08) – What should an owner expect to see in their first 30-60 days on the job?
(1:27:41) – What does the owner’s relationship look like when working with someone like Majority Search?
(1:31:46) – How are returns made throughout the life of an investment?
(1:34:23) – What’s the balance between the portfolio owner and the CEO creating ideas for growth?
(1:35:57)- How do you handle unexpected hyper-growth?
(1:39:19) – How do you think about the wave of Baby Boomer business owners headed for retirement?
(1:41:46) – Who would you back if they came to you as Searchers: Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos?
The Fort is produced by Johnny Podcasts