We are fortunate to have a world-class group of investors who will act as advisors post acquisition. This team brings a wealth of experience investing in and operating small to medium sized businesses. Collectively they have invested in hundreds of companies.
The investor/advisor team includes:
- 17 current and formers CEOs
- Co-Founders of Asurion, an insurance business with >$6B revenue, 280M customers, 15k employees
- Multiple Professors from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School
- Former CEO of women’s fitness centres
- CEO of San Jose Giants
- Stanford University Board of Trustee
- Founders of one of the most important millennial-focused media and marketing companies
- CEO of California-based home health care company
- Founder of one of the top 100 largest U.S. insurance intermediaries
Jeff Stevens has 20 years of experience structuring, operating and investing in search fund companies. Jeff has managed three funded searches during the period from 1990-2005, each one culminating in the acquisition of a lower middle market company. Jeff understands the elements of the search fund model that drive success. In addition, Jeff’s relationships with other experienced, successful search fund investors and current search fund principals allows Anacapa Partners access to invest in concert with a group that has been participating in this business model for over 20 years.
Prior to founding Anacapa Partners, Jeff was the CEO of three venture-backed buyouts – Balkin Cable Holdings (cable television system operator), Ancora Capital (mail presort), and Liberty Fitness (women’s fitness centers). Following these three buyouts, Jeff founded Deeelish! (manufacturer/retailer of ready-to-cook gourmet meals). In each of Jeff’s four ventures he has maintained responsibility for all aspects of sourcing acquisition/start-up opportunities, including identifying potential targets, industry analysis, company specific due diligence, and fundraising (debt and equity) to complete the transaction. Following the completion of each acquisition Jeff became the senior executive of the acquired company with direct reporting responsibility to a shareholder group and Board of Directors.
Prior to beginning his entrepreneurial path Jeff was an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company. Jeff received his Bachelor of Arts and MBA from Stanford University, and remains actively involved in the Stanford community. He participates in classroom case discussion for entrepreneurship courses at the Graduate School of Business, serves as a mentor for students participating in a two-quarter business planning course, and volunteers in numerous capacities for the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Jeff is also a member of the Ford Committee at DAPER.
Jeff is a member of the Board of Directors of developerprogram.com, EZ Shipper Racks, KGHP, mTAB, PEC Safety, Recruit Military, and Sage Data Security.
Ashley has over 15 years of experience advising, operating and investing in high growth venture and private equity backed companies. Serving in corporate development, finance and legal roles Ashley has supported companies through periods of rapid growth by creating and executing business and capital strategies, negotiating complex transactions, building management teams, and managing transformational events in a company’s lifecycle. From 2002 to 2011, Ashley was a member of the senior team at Asurion Corporation, the most successful search fund operating company to date, as the Company’s first in-house counsel and later head of Corporate Development. During this time, she led the execution of multiple transformative acquisitions, an equity recapitalization of the company and multiple subsequent leveraged recapitalizations and advised on the Company’s international expansion in Asia, Europe and Latin America. More recently, Ashley was Vice President of Transactions and General Counsel at Sunrun, a residential solar company, where she led the project finance and legal teams through the raise of over $500 million in proceeds through equity, debt and project finance transactions and was instrumental in developing the strategy and establishing the infrastructure necessary to support the company’s rapid growth. Prior to her operational experience, Ashley was a corporate associate at Venture Law Group in Silicon Valley and Riordan & McKinzie in Los Angeles and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Emilio M. Garza on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ashley graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC, Santa Barbara and Order of the Coif from UCLA Law School.
Endurance Search Partners
Rich is an entrepreneur in the truest sense – he sees opportunities, builds businesses that fill needs, and creates lasting growth. In 1987, he founded NIP Group, a national leader in insurance brokering and risk management. He quickly saw a need to improve the HR model for small businesses, and founded Extensis Group. Since being in business for two decades, Extensis Group has become a national leader in HR solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. He is CEO of both companies.
True to his life-long entrepreneurial spirit, he now enjoys partnering with and mentoring search fund entrepreneurs. As an active search fund investor, he works closely with searchers at every stage to find, buy and build successful companies. He is well known for his availability, engagement level and is sought after for his practical business advice.
Rich serves on the board of Housing Wire, KGHP, PEC Safety, Sage Data Security, Windley Ely and World Wide Security.
Lawrence J. Dunn III CPA
Larry is a talented business leader with over 25 years’ experience. He has generated substantial value in high growth environments by delivering solutions in a wide array of areas, including organizational strategy, corporate development, financial reporting, cost reduction, cash flow and working capital management, and process improvement. In addition to his role at Endurance he is the CFO of NIP Group. Prior to joining NIP Group, he was Managing Director at Ally Financial and a Director of M&A and divisional CFO at AIG Group. He began his career at KPMG. Larry graduated from Pace University with a BBA in Accounting with highest honors. Larry is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Larry, similar to Rich, enjoys working closely with searchers at every stage supporting their goals to build a great company while becoming a highly successful CEO. He is committed to lend his expertise to, and generously collaborates with, all members of the search fund community.
Larry serves on the board of Housing Wire and World Wide Security.
Pacific Lake Partners
Pacific Lake Partners was founded by Jim Southern and Coley Andrews.
Jim Southern is a Co-Founder and Managing Member of Pacific Lake Partners and a successful Search Fund entrepreneur. Once himself a beneficiary of the model, Jim launched the first Search Fund in 1984 under the mentorship of then Harvard Business School professor H. Irving Grousbeck. This fund resulted in the acquisition of Uniform Printing, a $43 million printer of specialty insurance documents. Jim served as the company’s CEO and Chairman for 10 years. Investor returns under Jim’s tenure as CEO were 24x the acquisition capital.
Jim has invested in over 75 Search Funds as an individual investor and with Pacific Lake. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of AlphaCredit, Raptor Technologies, FastSpring, Developerprogram.com, Little Sprouts, Vector Disease Control, Scottish American, Arizona College and Boca Executive Realty. He is often a guest speaker on the Search Fund model at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School and is the subject of an HBS case on his first Search Fund acquisition. Jim holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence, and resides in Wolfeboro, NH, and Boston, MA
Coley Andrews is a Co-Founder and Managing Member of Pacific Lake Partners. Since co-founding the firm with Jim Southern in 2009, Coley has worked with over 50 Search Funds. He currently serves as a Director at Inspired eLearning, Aquavita, dESCO, and Data Fusion Technologies and as a Board Visitor at AlphaCredit, Raptor Technologies, Scottish American, Arizona College, and Vector Disease Control International.
Prior to forming Pacific Lake, Coley worked at Tech For Less, a Colorado Springs-based distributor of new and refurbished consumer and enterprise electronics owned by two successful Search Fund entrepreneurs. Coley was also an Associate at Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, after beginning his career at The Parthenon Group, an international strategic consulting firm.
Coley graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in history and earned his MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Coley, his wife Alisa, and their four children reside outside Boston, MA.
Search Fund Partners
Our team has over 40 years of management and investment experience in a wide spectrum of industries. We have experience in every phase of business, including start-up management and venture capital fund-raising, experience on both sides of corporate M&A, high level executive management, real estate syndication and small business management.
David Carver is a co-founder of Search Fund Partners. He is on the board of iNet Interactive, FastSpring, Great Bay Software, Advanced Network Solutions, UnitedLayer, DataFusion, StaffOne, and Raptor Technologies.
David spent thirty years as an executive in the high tech industry, and has extensive experience in all phases of business, including M&A, fund-raising, corporate strategy and operations. He was CEO of HiFive!, an application service provider; CEO of Hipbone Networks, an online collaboration company; EVP and GM at Network Associates; COO of Network General; an EIR at Institutional Venture Partners; and an executive at Hewlett-Packard, including ten years in the professional service/software divisions of HP.
Dave has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Dave and his wife Julia have two sons, RJ and Sam. He is active in community and non-profit organizations, having founded the Redwood Chapter of National Junior Basketball serving 650 children.
Rich Kelley co-founded Search Fund Partners in 2004. He currently serves on the boards of Discovia, Pet Heaven, DCI, Lund Van Dyke, Verengo, Avadyne, RIA in a Box, ISC, and Medical Positioning, Inc.
Rich Kelley has been involved in numerous small businesses and start-up companies as an operator, owner, and investor. His varied experience includes: CFO of Score Learning Centers, CEO of San Jose Giants, General Partner of the Stanford Terrace Inn, developer of houses and subdivisions, owner of office buildings and hotels, investor in successful tech start-ups (Coinstar, PLX Technology, Corcept Therapeutics). He has also invested in many limited partnerships, including venture funds, and has been involved as a search fund investor since 1994.
Rich has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Stanford. Rich and his wife Gina have two children, Riley and Sam. He has served as an elected school board trustee and is active with the Positive Coaching Alliance and Sustainable Conservation as an advisor.
Jim Edmunds joined Search Fund Partners in 2008 after running a company sourced through the search fund model. Jim and his partner found and acquired Celebrity Kids Portrait Studios, a leading provider of upscale children’s photography in 2005. Jim served as President and CFO of the company. He currently participates on the boards of Microdea, Neuro International, Consumeraffairs.com, Gogotech, and UCIT Online.
Before launching a search fund, Jim was an Associate at McKinsey & Company in Palo Alto. Prior to attending business school, Jim conducted business development for PetSmart.com, managed a successful political campaign in Texas, and worked in Investment Banking and Equity Capital Markets at Bear Stearns.
Jim holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was named a Siebel Scholar, and an A.B. in History from Harvard University. He is the treasurer of Building Futures Now, a non-profit dedicated to helping high potential students in East Palo Alto. He lives in Menlo Park with his wife Christine, daughters Emiko and Mika, and son Koji.
Trilogy Search Partners
Scott is a Managing Director at Trilogy Search Partners. Most recently, he was on the investing team of Trilogy Equity Partners, where he is still a Partner. Previously, Scott spent 11 years at Western Wireless Corporation in various roles, including Chief Financial Officer of Western Wireless International which operated mobile networks in Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Scott graduated from Whitman College, where today he serves on the Board of Overseers, and he has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Cregg is a Managing Director at Trilogy Search Partners. Previously, Cregg served as Executive Vice President – Finance, Strategy and Development for VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile US). In addition, he served as SVP – Corporate Development of both VoiceStream and Western Wireless Corporation. Prior to his wireless career, Cregg worked at The First Boston Corporation. Cregg received his BS and MBA degrees from Indiana University. He lives in Marin County, California and is a trustee of Marin Academy. Cregg is also a Partner of Trilogy Equity Partners and serves on the boards of Asurion and ResponseLink and on the advisory board of HarvestWest Investments.
Mitch is a Managing Director at Trilogy Search Partners. Mitch was a Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman from 1989 until 2008, where he sourced and oversaw portfolio investments, as well as lead the firm’s fundraising and client relations. Mitch worked closely with other Trilogy partners while representing Hellman & Friedman on the boards of Western Wireless and VoiceStream. Prior to Hellman & Friedman, he was an Associate at Shearson Lehman Hutton. Recently, Mitch has been managing his family office, investing in a range of private companies. He graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Mitch lives in Marin County, California and serves on a number of for-profit and non-profit boards.
Gerald Risk is an entrepreneur, investor, and educator. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Asurion. Prior to serving as Vice Chairman, he served as Asurion’s President, and as Asurion’s Chief Financial Officer prior to that. During Gerald’s 17 years at Asurion, the company has grown revenue from $15 million to greater than $6 billion. As an investor, he has supported the entrepreneurial journey of a large number of leadership teams in the for profit and not for profit sectors. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Carillon Assisted Living (provider of assisted living services in the Southeast), National Video Monitoring (regional provider of video surveillance services), Sunrun (provider of residential solar services), and QMC Telecom (wireless infrastructure provider in Latin America). He is a Trustee of the Nueva School and an investor in FARM, a social impact investment firm. Gerald is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Gerald began his professional career with Goldman, Sachs & Co. He holds an MBA from Stanford and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Queen’s University in Canada.
Jim Ellis is a Lecturer in Management at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He is currently teaching two strategic management courses that focus on the early stages of the entrepreneurial process. Jim cofounded Asurion with Kevin Taweel to provide value-added solutions for the wireless communications industry. Jim is and has been a member of a number of boards of directors of private companies including BUILD, Asurion, Service Source Inc., Memento Press, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, and Southern California Risk Management Associates. . Jim holds an MBA from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree with high honors in economics from Dartmouth College. He is also a recipient of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Kevin is the Chairman of NEWAsurion. Since co-founding Asurion with Jim Ellis, the company has grown from 40 to 40,000 employees becoming the world’s largest provider of technology protection services, partnering with the world’s top companies and brands and serving over 250 million customers. Prior to founding Asurion, Kevin served as Chairman of Mill River Corporation, an investment company. He also worked with many Fortune 500 companies to develop and execute corporate strategies and financial plans while working in Mergers & Acquisitions for the investment bank Salomon Brothers. He earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and holds a Bachelor`s degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University. Kevin is also a former recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Bret serves as the Chairman of Asurion overseeing the growth and success of Asurion’s strategies and business operations. He brings more than 30 years of proven leadership, business management and consulting experience to Asurion’s executive team. Bret’s prior business experience includes CEO, COO and General Manager positions at companies such as Excite@Home, Kendara, Risk Management Solutions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also worked at McKinsey & Company, consulting to Fortune 500 companies on strategic, operational and organizational issues. Bret is currently a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, sits on the Board of Directors of Stanford Health Care, and serves on the Stanford Business School Management Board. Bret graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in engineering and earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Bret serves as an officer of the Board of Directors for CTIA – The Wireless Association.
Jim Johnson & Matt Diamond
As COO of Alloy, Inc., Mr. Johnson led operational management and guided many of the company’s growth initiatives. Until 2005, Alloy, Inc. included the youth merchandise brands Alloy, CCS and dEliA*s. Under Mr. Johnson’s direction, these businesses grew to be among the largest direct marketers (e-commerce and catalog) to teens and young-adults in the U.S. and were divested via a public to public spinoff. He was instrumental during key expansions, including the acquisition of Alloy Entertainment (formerly 17th Street Productions), the youth media behemoth behind pop culture phenomenon’s “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Pretty Little Liars”, among others, which was sold to WBTVG earlier this year.
Prior to founding Alloy, Mr. Johnson was a member of GE Company’s Corporate Audit Staff and a graduate of its Financial Management Program. He held a variety of financial, operational and business development positions within GE, most significantly in GE Japan and GE Brasil. Mr. Johnson received his B.A. in History from Hamilton College in 1989.
In 1996, Matt Diamond co-founded Alloy, Inc. together with Jim Johnson, taking the company public in May 1999 and building it to become one of the most important millennial-focused media and marketing companies of the past two decades. Alloy Digital was the outgrowth of Alloy, Inc.’s interactive division, a dedicated unit formed in 2009 addressing industry needs amid shifting market trends.
When he was CEO of Alloy Digital, his keen vision was instrumental in the company’s meteoric rise in a rapidly evolving digital space and the significant growth of globally recognized and top-ranked media platforms. The recent key strategic role in the recent “merger of equals” with Break Media gave rise to Defy Media, and Matt guides corporate strategy and oversees company management as the new CEO.
Mr. Diamond also serves on the board of Do Something, Inc. and, in 2009, the youth focused non-profit organization honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Alloy’s considerable contributions. He has also supported youth education initiatives in New York City, dedicating his time to the Bronx Academy of Letters—awarded a rare A in both the Department of Education’s 2006-07 and 2007-08 progress reports—and as a member the PENCIL program pairing business leaders with public schools. Alloy supports other charitable organizations such as the Ad Council and the Lagrant Foundation.
Mr. Diamond graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in International Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991 and received his MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1996.
Tom Cassutt and Dave Lazier
Mr. Cassutt currently sits on the boards of American Security Products, Columbia Sanitary Products, Dynamic Growth Dental, and Positive Coaching Alliance. He received a Bachelor of Physics Degree in 1982 from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate. In 1986, he received an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar and the recipient of the Alexander A. Robichek Award, given each year to the top student in finance.
Mr. Lazier is a private investor who has made more than 130 investments in search funds. He is also the president of American Security Products, a leading manufacturer of high-security safes. From 1984 to 2011, Mr. Lazier served as Controller, Vice President of Sales and then Co-President of Nelson Nameplate Company, a manufacturer of membrane switches and product identification based in Los Angeles, California. From 1982 to 1984, he worked as an engineer for IBM Corporation.
Mr. Lazier currently sits on the boards of American Security Products, Columbia Sanitary Products, Datum Technologies, and Gogotech. He has previously served on the boards of Glendale Memorial Hospital Foundation, the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.