What is ETA?

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA)

ETA is the process is the process of purchasing an existing business and running it as the CEO. It is a fast track path to owning and operating your own business and an attractive alternative for entrepreneurs who want to own and operate a company, but do not want to pursue a startup

But ETA is not the same as a search fund.  Instead, a search fund enables individuals like yourself pursue ETA.  More specifically, a search fund is an investment vehicle that enables one or two entrepreneurs to search for, acquire, manage and grow a company.

In order to learn more about ETA in general, we recommend checking out our Useful Links page.

ETA Compared to Other Post-MBA Opportunities

Typical Post-MBA Career CXO Program ETA
Direct report to the CEO No Yes You are the CEO
Attend and Present in Exec/BOD Meetings No Yes Yes
Assigned Mentor Mid-level Exec CEO or Board Member Typically, Board Member(s)
Join Exec Leadership Organizations No Yes Yes
Yearly Base + Bonus ~160K+ $180K $100-275K
Job Certainty Day 1 100% 100% During search ~55-70%, post acquisition 100%
Average Returns N/A ~3-10X 0-13X
Equity N/A ~$300K at exit $0-10M+
Co-investment opportunity N/A ~$150-470K at exit Included in equity, ability to invest in the new management team at exit
Search time/ Time to exit N/A 0 years and 4-6 years 0.5-2.5 years and 4-8 years

The Process for Search Funds Has 4 Main Stages

1. Raise initial capital: 2-6 months

2. Search for and acquire company: 12-24 months

3. Operation and value creation: 4-7+ years

4. Exit: 6 months

The Process is Carried Out Through 1 of 4 Paths

1. Traditional Search

An entrepreneur will raise capital (~$410-430K) from ~8-15 investors to find and acquire a company within 2-2.5 years or less.

2. Incubated Search

The entrepreneur partners with a incubator/accelerator who acts as a single investor and provides the Searcher with various sourcing and growth resources

3. Self-funded Search

The entrepreneur leverages personal funds to support their search period and may use resources such as SBA loans to finance their acquisition.

4. Sponsored Search

The entrepreneur pairs with a single investor who sponsors their search, acquisition, and supports them through the growth and exit.

The "best" path for each person is an individual journey of self-discovery. We recommend interviewing numerous searchers and operators and come to your own conclusion.

To learn more about ETA, check out our Useful Links page

Want to learn more?

Check out the 2018 Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Conference session on Traditional ETA Model Overview