My guest on this episode is Nick Haschka, back for a third episode to provide an update on his early ambitions of a holding company, which have taken a slight turn. Two years ago, Nick and his partner Anupam Sharma acquired a commercial landscaping company Vargas Gardening. They added a manager and grew the business, but realized the road ahead was going to be substantially more difficult and so made the decision to sell the business, earning a two-year IRR of 122%. Running a second business with a worse economic profile than Wright Gardener wasn’t going to be as valuable an endeavor, and thus they renewed their focus on Wright after the sale. Nick has also been thinking more about search investing, having reduced his investment activity due to the declining economics he’s seeing. We talk about this change of thought, his interest in investing in public micro-cap stocks, and deeper, more targeted industry theses.
(2:39) – Updates since Alex and Nick last spoke at the outbreak of the pandemic
(5:35) – Nick’s venture into acquiring a commercial landscaping company
(9:49) – Selling the landscaping company
(19:30) – What changed in your growth approach with this second business?
(22:35) – How have the last few years been for The Wright Gardener from a growth perspective?
(24:24) – Why have you slowed on investing in Searchers?
(26:53) – Do you get the sense that terms have gotten worse or the quality of deals has declined?
(28:45) – What’s been your experience with investments since slowing down?
(29:48) – What’s your interest in Micro-cap stocks?
(35:28) – How do you think about expanding your network from Search into Micro-caps?
(36:28) – What’s your long-term vision for this Micro Caps approach?
(38:35) – What other topics or ideas are you focusing on?
Think Like an Owner Sponsors:
Live Oak Bank — Live Oak Bank is a seasoned SMB lender providing SBA and conventional financing for search funds, independent sponsors, private equity firms, and individuals looking to acquire lower middle-market companies. Live Oak has closed billions of dollars in SBA financing and is actively looking to help more small company investors across the country. If you are in the process of acquiring a company or thinking about starting a search, contact Lisa Forrest or Heather Endresen directly to start a conversation or go to www.liveoakbank.com/think.
Hood & Strong, LLP — Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. Hood & Strong is highly skilled in working with search funds, providing quality of earnings and due diligence services during the search, along with assurance and tax services post-acquisition. They offer a unique way to approach acquisition diligence and manage costs effectively. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected]
Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and employee benefits programs. Over the past decade, August Felker and his team have engaged with hundreds of searchers to provide due diligence and ultimately place the most competitive insurance program at closing. Given August’s experience as a searcher himself, he and his team understand all that goes into buying a business and pride themselves on making the insurance portion of closing seamless and hassle-free.