April 28, 2022

Our First Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) Conference

Our First Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) Conference

This past Monday, we got the chance to attend the 8th Annual Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) Conference as a sponsor. This was our first ETA Conference, and we loved chatting with search enthusiasts from around the world about their process and pain points to finding businesses to acquire, own, and operate. Two takeaways that stuck out to us from this conference:

The EtA community is incredible

The EtA community is notably tight-knit and energizing: there was a spirit of camaraderie in the crowd, and we found attendees to be gregarious and easy to talk to. This was the first ETA Conference since the pandemic, and people’s enthusiasm for outreach and networking showed.

While there is definitely an increased interest in search, the actual numbers of searchers remains small: one MBA program head we chatted with noted that there was a large % increase in people joining the EtA program at their business school, which in may really mean going from 2-3 people to a 5-6 person cohort, but this was still a large uptick from previous years. This small, committed community of search enthusiasts made up about half of the attendees at the conference.

Alongside searchers, there is also a supporting backbone of enthusiastic investors, experienced operators, and industry mentors like Steve Ressler (check our his new EIR program at Brydon, which launched this month!) These members of the community was highly influential, either through the reach of their ideas or through maintaining platforms like Searchfunder.

There are many paths that lead towards search

In conversation with searchers, we noticed that the path towards a search fund can actually lead from many sources. Many searchers (especially those currently completing their MBAs) are weighing the options between taking on corporate jobs at established companies versus jumping directly into search. Some may already have jobs lined up post-graduation, but intend on making the jump after a few years of operational experience.

Others hail from developer or tech backgrounds, either as engineers or data scientists, and many come from a consulting, banking, and PE backgrounds. Additionally, there were a few people who had only heard of EtA a few weeks ago, and this conference was their first foray into the world of search: “I heard about this 3 weeks ago, and now I’m here.”

Searchers from any of these paths commonly cited autonomy, agency, and ownership as being the the core reasons they wanted to progress towards owning and operating their own business. The lifestyle implications and the type of work you’d get to do when running a business appealed to them greatly.

In conclusion

We really enjoyed the Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) Conference and would gladly recommend it to any would-be or current searcher as a way to be fully immersed in this vibrant community. If you were an attendee to ETA Conference and missed us at our table, please let us know— we’d love to chat with you about wherever you are in your search process.

A little bit about us: when we were searching, one of our biggest pain points was keeping a steady flow of volume in our deals funnel. One of the main pain points here, was that we were constantly monitoring several hundred sources: marketplace listings, aggregators, brokerage sites, email lists, and direct relationships with brokers. We spend an inordinate amount of time just organizing a system to keep the system running, and left us with a realization that there’s an opportunity to build something better here.

At Kumo, we’re building software to help optimize the search for your next business acquisition. Kumo aggregates thousands of sources into one easy-to-use platform so that you can spend less time sourcing, and more time closing deals. Sign up for our private beta at withkumo.com!