Podcast Cover Art Final-01

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.


Filter By Topic:

Viewing Topic: Operators

Andy Cagnetta – How Business Brokers See the M&A World – Ep.128

My guest on this episode is Andy Cagnetta. Andy is the CEO of Transworld Business Advisors, one of the largest business brokers in the country. The typical guest on Think Like an Owner is an owner operator often running a business they acquired, although not always. And therefore, the buyer’s side of a transaction is where we have spent the most time as a podcast. I wanted to hear the

Trilogy Search Series Ep.5: Kevin Knoepp and Zach Seely – Ep.127

Today I’m joined by Kevin Knoepp and Zack Seely. Zach acquired a healthcare software company called FSI in late 2020 with technical diligence help from Kevin, a software due diligence advisor and Trilogy operating executive. Our conversation doesn’t discuss the attractiveness of software as an investment, which it very much is, but rather on how to properly diligence software and operate and improve the business once acquired. We review common

Freddie Bellhouse – Building a Holding Company in the U.K. – Ep.126

My guest on this episode is Freddie Bellhouse. Freddie and his partner Nick Ashford are co-founders of Fordhouse, a UK-based acquirer of small companies. In the eight years since they’re founding in 2014, they’ve done 25 deals and are beginning to consider more fund-like permanent capital structures for future acquisitions. I was fortunate enough to meet Freddie’s partner Nick in New York City, and we hit it off immediately. He’ll

Rob LeBlanc – Designing an International Search Investment Firm – Ep.125

My guest on this episode is Rob LeBlanc. Rob is a co-founding partner of Ambit Partners, a search investment fund founded in 2020 that invests in searchers worldwide in countries like Paraguay, Spain, Germany, and South Africa, where Rob is based. Together with his two co-founding partners, they have raised a $25 million fund with plans to back 50 to 60 searchers in this first fund. Today, they have funded

Brendan Anderson – Building a Compounding Advantage – Ep.124

My guest on this episode is Brendan Anderson. Brendan started his post-banking entrepreneurial career by acquiring Stam, Inc., which manufactures custom bent tubing before founding a private equity firm called ScaleCo where he has raised three funds and acquired 21 companies to date. He built his career by being an operator first and learned to become an investor, a path that’s given them a big leg up when talking to

Trilogy Search Series Ep.4: Kristen Glenn, Jennie Ellis, and Cyrus Symoom – Ep. 123

The 4th episode in our Trilogy Search Series features Kristen Glenn from Reverb People. Kristen is an HR professional with over 15 years of experience in HR Leadership and Business Partner roles. We also have Cyrus Symoom, the Co-CEO of Clariti Software, Clariti helps governments across North America with permitting and licensing solutions. Finally, we are joined by Jennie Ellis, who is an Operating Executive specializing in Talent Acquisition with Trilogy Search

Joe Heieck – Time to Sell or Keep Going? – Ep. 122

My guest on this episode is Joe Heieck. In 2015, Joe acquired gWorks, a software company that takes geographical information system data from government cities and counties and helps them visualize that data on their website among other services. Since then, they have grown impressively well both organically and through acquisition and have recently recapped their investor base through an investment by BV Investment Partners to continue their strong growth

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

Tom Birchard – Kicking Off a Home Services Rollup – Ep.111

My guest on this episode is Tom Birchard. Tom has spent a great portion of his career managing service and operations teams for Ingersoll Rand and Trane, and as of March 2022, has taken a president role with a family office to acquire home services businesses. The family office is Whitney Wilder and it’s technically a multifamily office based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that operates like a private equity firm, but without a fund, giving them lots of flexibility, investments, and timelines. The office

Trilogy Search Series Ep.2: Ryan Turk – Ep.110

My guest on this episode is Ryan Turk. Ryan raised a traditional search fund in March 2020 and closed on Radiation Detection Company only nine months later in December 2020. Prior to searching, Ryan served in the Navy aboard nuclear submarine USS Michigan as an officer managing their onboard nuclear power system. Ryan used this experience to launch his impressively short industry focused search. Ryan and I talk about the pros and cons of being from the Navy prior to becoming a CEO,

Preston Holland – Transforming Flying Magazine – Ep.109

My guest on this episode is Preston Holland. Preston is the COO of FLYING Magazine, which was purchased in July 2021 by Craig Fuller and has been going through a broad transformation to a modern media business. Preston and I became friends over our mutual love of aviation and media, and our conversations are always wide ranging and leave me with a new idea or view of the world. I’m

Subscribe

Join small company investors, search funds, private equity firms, business owners, and entrepreneurs in reading the Think Like an Owner newsletter and other project updates.

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.