International Search Funds Conference kicks off in Barcelona

Top search-CEOs, academics and investors discuss emerging form of entrepreneurship

First developed in the US, search funds have remained relatively under the radar outside the US and Canada until recently. photo: roger rovira

October 18, 2022

IESE´s 5th International Search Fund Conference kicked off yesterday, October 13, from IESE´s campus in Barcelona. The two-day conference is one of the leading events in the world for the international search fund community to come together and explore the latest trends in this unique form of entrepreneurship via acquisition.

Search funds are investment vehicles to finance entrepreneurs (often fresh from business school) as they hunt for opportunities to acquire and grow existing companies. First developed in the US, search funds have remained relatively under the radar outside the US and Canada until recently. However, over the last decade, IESE has become an international reference for research, resources and support for search funds outside North America, as this emerging asset class gains new prominence worldwide.

This year´s sold out conference brings together all the top search-CEOs, active searchers, new searchers, leading academics and search fund investors from around the world to meet and discuss the latest developments in international search funds. The conference´s packed academic program includes sessions on Replicating the Model in New Geographies and the Challenges of Growth, among many others.

Speakers include, among many others:

  • Jane Kaggwa-Snow, Founder & CEO, Aquavita Holdings, Kenya. Jane is the founder of Impala Investment Holdings, the first Africa-based search fund, and the Founder and CEO of Aquavita Holdings, the leading provider of water as a service across East Africa.
  • Jan Simon, IESE Professor of the Practice of Management of Entrepreneurship, Spain. Jan is the Academic Director of the IESE International Search Fund Center, as well as the Managing Partner of Vonzeo Capital, an investment firm that invests in search funds. Jan is also the author of the 2021 book Search Funds & Entrepreneurial Acquisitions: The Roadmap for Buying a Business and Leading it to the Next Level.
  • Simon Webster, Investor / Former Operator, UK. Simon is an investor and entrepreneur who raised the first search fund outside the United States. He led the sale of the business in 2005, achieving top quartile returns for his investors. Simon invests in and mentors search fund entrepreneurs, investing on a global basis.
  • Sara Rosenthal, Partner, TTCER Partners, US. Sara is a Partner at TTCER Partners, an investment firm that invests only its partners’ own capital, with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs who want to build enduring businesses. She is also the co-founder of the Women’s Search Network.
  • Santiago PerezManaging Partner, Cerralvo Capital, Mexico. Along with his partners, Santiago manages Cerralvo Capital, with 20 active search funds and 23 portfolio companies. The fund is active in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Spain and Israel.

To coincide with the conference, IESE also released its sixth biennial study of international search funds. Working in close partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford GSB), the study sheds light on how the search-fund model is maturing in Europe and Latin America while forging new paths in Africa and Asia.

IESE´s ongoing work in search funds is part of its wider entrepreneurial ecosystem, which provides advice, networks, funding, programs and research for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors.