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Think Like An Owner

The Think Like an Owner podcast seeks out conversations with small company owners and investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital.


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Craig Fuller – On The Intersection of Media and Data – Ep. 121

The intersection of media and data has been the top idea on my mind for quite some time now. And my guest today, Craig Fuller, runs one of the best modern examples of this concept in action. FreightWaves, founded in 2016, is a media and data company focused on trucking, freight, supply chains, and all things logistics. To date, they have raised $91 million, will hit $42 million in revenue

Poppy MacDonald – Uncovering Government Data at USAFacts – Ep.120

My guest on this episode is Poppy MacDonald. Poppy is the CEO of USAFacts, a not-for-profit data company founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to gather, organize and share data about the US government at the federal, state, and local levels entirely for free. Many of you will know about my fascination with media and data companies, and this episode with Poppy is a continuation of that strong interest.

Ujwal Velagapudi – “I’ll close in 2 emails” – Ep.119

My guest on this episode is Ujwal Velagapudi. Ujwal has acquired nine small companies, pieces of real estate, and other investments over the past few years and has stumbled upon quite a number of unique companies. He’s invested in a vending business, virtual assistant business, commercial real estate, a sports bar, and several others. This episode is about getting started and is a departure from our usual episodes about larger

Trilogy Search Series Ep.3: Tom Klein and Roland Lessard – Ep.118

My guests on this episode are Tom Klein and Roland Lessard, Tom and Roland launched a partnered search after running a background screening business together and acquired a language service business focused on intellectual property in 2016, which they sold last year in 2021. In both companies, growth through acquisition was a core to their playbook and we spend a ton of time diving into best practices and things to

Michael Arrieta – Building the World’s Best Holding Company – Ep.117

My guest on this episode is Michael Arrieta. Michael is the founder of Garden City and has raised $51 million in permanent capital to acquire family-owned businesses across the country. The raise was completed in March 2020, and already they have three wholly-owned companies and minority stakes in two. Michael came highly recommended by Brent Beshore, and I can see why from our conversations. It’s clear that Michael is a

Caroline Matthews & Connor McCarthy – Acquiring Youth Summer Camps – Ep.116

My guests on this episode are Caroline Matthews and Connor McCarthy, a husband and wife team running an investment firm called Canyonlands Funds that acquires youth summer camps from Maine to Florida. Both are extremely passionate about the outdoors and met on a trip to Bhutan while getting their MBAs at Stanford. After working in private equity for a few years after graduating, they decided to become entrepreneurs in the

Ayo Phillips & Peter Lohmann – All Things EOS – Ep.115

My guests on this episode are Ayo Phillips and Peter Lohmann. Both operate businesses and property services and management and also run Traction EOS in their companies. EOS rightfully gets a lot of attention in the small business world for providing a structure to grow and being what Peter calls it as a culture in a box system. But every operator uses EOS in slightly different ways, and I wanted

Kaustubh Deo – NYC Private Equity to a Tree Service Acquisition in Seattle – Ep.114

My guest for this episode is Kaustubh Deo. Kaustubh recently acquired a tree service business in Seattle through a self-funded search after working in private equity in New York. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kaustubh over the last two years and have found him to be one of the most insightful thinkers in the search space. A good portion of our conversation focuses on concepts like risk-reward

Alex Mears – Lessons for Search from Large-Cap Private Equity – Ep.113

My guest on this episode is Alex Mears. Alex started his career in investment banking and consulting before leaving for the Navy and eventually returning to private equity at the Carlyle Group. Two years ago, Alex launched a non-profit called Search and Acquire to support veterans pursuing search. And he just recently announced a search investment firm he’s co-founded called the Brydon Group to invest in searchers from all backgrounds. I’ve

Tony Layne – A Turbulent Journey of Entrepreneurship – Ep.112

My guest on this episode is Tony Layne. I met Tony and his wife Cassi at SMBash in February after several folks strongly recommended I talk with them and I’m glad they did. Tony and Cassi are lifelong entrepreneurs in various ventures, but by far, their most successful venture is Senior Dental Care, now called Aria Care Partners under private equity ownership. Senior Dental Care started as a mobile dental

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Letters

Each year I write an annual letter to readers and listeners to reflect on the evolution of the podcast and my personal growth.

2020 Annual Letter: It’s Business Time

While 2020 was turbulent to say the least, it was the best year of my life. I married my lovely wife in late August, adopted a corgi, and began working on the Think Like an Owner podcast full-time.

2019 Annual Letter: Gaining Traction

Before getting to the podcast, 2019 was a tremendous year personally. I flew to DC for a FinTwit gathering hosted by Jamie Catherwood, graduated college with a new job, and got engaged.

2018 Annual Letter to Readers and Listeners

As a fun goal for myself, I’ve decided to start writing annual (and possibly quarterly) letters for the Think Like an Owner project to reflect on the growth of the podcast, discussion around the micro private equity market, and my personal learning.