ENTREPRENEURSHIP INNOVATION LEADERSHIP
A Partnership for the Ages
JaSFA & Nomura have forged Japan’s premier search fund platform and share their insights and goals. p24
ISSUE 4 JULY / AUGUST 2023
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to the fourth issue of the Horizon Search magazine. We’re so glad you’re here. Starting with this issue, we’ll be switching to a bimonthly cadence to create more substantial offerings. We have many updates.
Since our inception four short months ago, we have been on an ambitious journey. Our core drive is to learn from the compelling stories of distinguished professionals worldwide. We aspire to understand the nuances of global business trends, introduce fresh perspectives, and explore the potential for synergies in various regions and industries through the intersection of entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.
This edition reflects our mission more deeply than ever. Inside these pages, you’ll discover ten insightful interviews that delve into the minds of business pioneers around the world, exploring the genesis of new companies, the innovative renovation of existing ones, and the potent power of investment and mentorship in guiding businesses into the future.
Our team is expanding. In our commitment to bring diverse perspectives to you, we’ve invited more writers into our fold. Their fresh voices will be another dimension in our quest for richer, more varied dialogues. Furthermore, we’re ecstatic to announce our collaboration with the Boston Global Forum, which will enable us to bring you insightful conversations with world leaders. Keep an eye out for our exclusive interview from the C20 India 2023 Summit, one of the official Engagement Groups of the G20.
As we evolve, we’re also introducing a weekly newsletter on beehiiv. This will give you the option of receiving our high-quality content more frequently, right in your inbox. Our journey is young, and the road ahead is as thrilling as it is challenging. Yet, with your engagement, we’re making headway, and the future shines bright. Welcome once more, and here’s to navigating the vast expanse of the global horizon together.
David Lovejoy Editor & Chief Content Curator
Colin Cox began his career at 15 and has thrived through people-first leadership, focusing on fulfilling work over traditional success.
Cordell Jacks, CEO of Regenerative Capital Group, champions societal transformation through acquisition as a key tool for positive change.
Greg Geronemus, co-founder of Footbridge Partners and seasoned search fund investor, shares his journey from acquisition and exit to mentor and guide.
Land of the Rising Funds
Japanese search funds tackle business succession, blending global investors, fostering leaders, and promoting economic growth.
Shashank Raghavendra is a product manager transforming India’s transportation and gig economy by fostering ethical practices and continuous learning.
Ibrahim Abdel Rahim, Moonbase Capital’s Managing Partner, harnesses search funds’ potential, drawing from diverse experiences and strategic focus.
Shahar Polak, Head of Engineering at a pioneering AI company, marries Israeli culture with Western leadership.
38 Strategic Visionary
Stephanie Knight blends consulting and education through Vitalise Ventures and Kurated.ai, empowering users to strategically navigate the future.
John Baker, avid learner and invetor of Cleanzy Sponge, launches RedOak Trust, a traditional search fund targeting SMBs in California.
Warren Chan redefines corporate success by nurturing leadership effectiveness.
“ButInoticedthat, and it made me sogratefulthatat suchayoungage, IfoundaplaceI loved,desperately loved to work at, andIalwaysfelt gratefulforthat.”
Cox Founder/Cox Consulting
peersatthetime, and I saw how mostpeoplewere miserable in their jobs.Andeven today,youlookat thepercentageof peopleengagedin theworkplace;it’s abysmal,right?”
olin Cox’s exciting and unusual professional journey began with dropping out of school in grade 11. When we think of success, we often picture a clear and intentional path full of strategic decision-making toward an end goal. However, the line between where Colin started his career and where he is now is more of a squiggle. And each turn involved being prepared for what came next, no matter what.
Even though he was a good student in school, Colin wasn’t learning the things he was interested in. He grew bored and frustrated and eventually dropped out with no plans for the future. After being directed to a troubled teens program by his mother to learn soft skills, Colin put “video games” under the hobbies section of his application. Through a fortuitous combination of being in the right place at the right time and possessing the necessary skills, Colin embarked on a 5-week work program at Electronic Arts (EA), which turned into a 7-year journey. Two years after working at EA, Colin was promoted to team lead at age 17. His success can be attributed to not only the circumstances that opened doors for him but also his passion and drive, which enabled him to excel. Now he is a CEO/executive coach who directs people towards their purpose in addition to being a CEO peer group chair, a leadership expert, and a contented individual.
success. But there is always a way to be prepared and embrace it humbly.
Colin worked in tech and video games for two and a half decades, but his passion was leadership and helping people grow. The conventional view of leadership is hierarchical with the leader at the front of the pack, driving the team towards a goal. But Colin’s leadership style challenges that idea. He enforces the principle that leadership is less about the “hero” and their objective and more about the people’s journey in achieving that goal. Specifically, the valuable things they pick up along the way.
“A lot of leaders will approach every situation leading people with, ‘I’m the hero, I have problems, and these people have to be my guides and support me.’ But if you flip that on its head and see yourself as the guide, you see the people that you’re leading as the heroes, and they have hopes, dreams, problems, and opportunities. How can you position yourself to help them do that?”
considered authentic leadership.
Colin also practices being a better leader by thinking about ways he can provide the best value to other people. Despite his range of experience, he still experienced impostor syndrome when offered a position as COO at Demonware, which was a few milestones ahead of where he was at the time. And again when he was invited to the McKay CEO Forums.
“I went into a group with a lot of imposter syndrome, and almost from the first meeting, my imposter syndrome washed away. Because with all the experience I’ve had from Rackspace, EA, Demonware, Activision, the amount that I was able to bring to these other peers that I really looked up to made me feel like a peer immediately.”
Because of the short gap between school and work, and his gargantuan professional growth, Colin doesn’t regret his decision to drop out of school as a teenager.
The truth is, there is no right way to
Getting team members fired up, encouraging, and rewarding them after they hit milestones shows that the leaders care about their progress and not merely the result. This can also be
Having a mountain of valuable hardearned wisdom to offer elevated Colin’s confidence. His previous experience spoke for itself, and the hours spent bettering himself and his skills proved useful. Colin subscribes to the notion of having a goal and with it—clear intent, as the essence of strategy.
Purpose in Guidance
Colin coaches CEOs and executives in his primary role but also makes time for leaders at other levels. Because he
likes to make sure he’s making the most of his and his client’s time and offering the most that he can, Colin ensures his clients are looking for the kind of support he can provide and are seeking help for organic reasons.
“When people come to it themselves, that’s when it’s the best because they’re committed, they’re fired up.”
Ideally, receiving coaching is a strategic stepping stone towards his client’s end goals. The complex interconnectedness of civilized life can often make you feel locked into your current state and fear change. The “golden handcuffs” that one of Colin’s clients was in made him detest his work and affected his home life. No “eureka!” type answer would solve their problems. Colin asked them questions, nudged them out of their comfort zone, and catalyzed the idea of change. The result? The client changed roles and organizations and even moved to a different state in the US with their family, finally finding the right life and achieving a lifelong dream. All they needed was a nudge.
Sometimes, asking for help in pursuit of a dream can make the difference between handcuffs and freedom, as we tend to be the ones to hold ourselves back the most. And as a leader, recognizing the importance of that help is invaluable.
Intentional and Emergent Strategy
Colin’s career path hasn’t been defined
solely by strategic choices or fortunate events. He describes his trajectory as a blend of careful planning and fortunate serendipity. It began with his unexpected departure from school to join Electronic Arts—a stint that lasted an impressive 7 years, followed by another 19 in the greater video game and tech industry. The culmination of his journey was a deliberate pivot from corporate leadership to the realm of CEO and executive coaching.
Colin’s seminal moment was when he took the CliftonStrengths Assessment, which is a 177-question test that can be taken to learn about the taker’s strengths and unique powers with personalized reports to maximize their potential. The first time Colin took it, he learned that being a developer was one of his top strengths, and he could help people grow.
“And I thought, what if I intentionally designed a life and a career around really doing that? Not just doing it as part of my role as a leader, as a COO, but what if I was an executive coach? So that helped influence me.”
direction and what steps you want to take to achieve it. A learner at heart, Colin invested in himself by doing his MBA, building his consulting practice, and learning by doing. His productivity and self-improvement lie in knowing what he wants and how he plans on having it within his reach.
“I think, from my experience, it starts with having clarity of what’s important to you. And my observation is most people don’t have that. So, if you don’t know what’s important to you—if you don’t know what your future is and what you’re striving for, even if that’s not where you end up, how do you make priority choices?”
Having his priorities sorted in his mind already, Colin keeps a list of media recommendations called “Someday Maybe” which allows guilt-free disregard until there is an opportunity to explore one of its items. Having three kids and professional responsibilities requires time management, and since Colin’s life is always in motion, he has to set his own boundaries.
The strategic planning that went around creating that career for himself is why Colin now loves what he does.
Making the Most of Life
Colin doesn’t skirt around the idea of efficiently utilizing time. For him, having a clear goal is essential to know your
With remote and hybrid-remote work becoming the norm, the trade-off for having spatial flexibility is setting temporal boundaries. According to Colin, finding the right work culture for your productivity is essential. Some organizations thrive with relentless work, and some allow more work-life fulfillment. Achieving goals can be intoxicating, but Colin advises being careful with success, as it can never stand in for fulfillment. To him, success and fulfillment are adjacent but separate entities. While success can often be perceived as an endless stream of tangible achievements, the fulfillment
and mindful appreciation of your accomplishments truly fuel your work.
“I’m super curious about fulfillment, which I define as loving what you do every day, versus success, which is getting that dopamine hit in whatever form. I’m not saying don’t chase success—do it, but don’t overlook fulfillment and loving what you do every day because that’s what I found to be super grounding. That’s what led me to happiness.”
Colin’s professional journey, from Electronic Arts to executive and CEO coaching, perfectly illustrates how careers can weave their own paths, often finding luck in the readiness to seize unforeseen opportunities. In his approach of acting as a guide rather than a hero, Colin highlights the power of people-first leadership and underscores the value of empowering those around him. Through strategic intention and embracing serendipity, Colin has crafted a path that harmonizes with his innate strengths and purpose. Ultimately, his narrative serves as a compelling beacon, inspiring us all to delve into our unique journeys and seek professional fulfillment through intentionality, adaptability, and a commitment to growth.
7 HORIZON SEARCH
8 Relentless Optimist
Co-founder/RegenerativeCapital Group HORIZON SEARCH
ordell Jacks, co-founder and CEO of Regenerative Capital Group, has his eyes set on utilizing entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) as a force for transformative impact in the Canadian economy. Or simply put, evolving companies towards regenerative business.
“Regenerative’ is maybe somewhat of a new term for many folks in the audience, but regeneration really begins with the recognition that the economy, business, and society don’t sit apart from nature, but within it.”
Cordell himself is immersed in his roles as a community member, father of two, family member, and impact maker. He co-founded Regenerative Capital with his mentor and business partner Mike Miller, and the fund was born out of a social impact thesis. The thesis concerned how Miller, who had been shaped by the entrepreneurship endeavors in his career, could give back to aspiring entrepreneurs. They quickly discovered entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) and search funds and were officially introduced to those concepts and circles, despite Miller spending a great deal of his career in acquisition entrepreneurship. ETA and search funds became the basis for Regenerative Capital’s mission to “utilize the largest business ownership transition in history” and help purpose-driven successors to acquire and operate SMEs without the disorienting fluctuations of startups. Using the ETA model, Regenerative Capital invests in, mentors, and trains ambitious CEOs-inresidence in regenerative leadership.
The central idea of regenerative business models is raising the bar for a business’s self-expectation from damage reduction and restoration to value creation for itself, people, the economy, and the environment. Aligning itself with the systems the business operates in is crucial to achieving this. This in turn equates to better value creation and just “better business.”
acquisition entrepreneurs and, despite adopting the model in his work, had never officially heard of Search Funds or ‘ETA’ during his career. However, Cordell has noticed that once people discover the space and overcome the initial surprise of the model, they get involved right away. Cordell thinks this has to do with North American and Western society’s emphasis on entrepreneurship focused on venture launches and scale, and the echo chamber that such mature ecosystems create. The high-stakes excitement of these firmly established areas outshines the relative stability of ETA and dilutes the legitimacy derived from a “hero’s journey” startup narrative.
“Oh, you’re taking someone else’s business and growing it. They’re the ones that really had the idea and took it from 0 to 1. And yes, it takes a very certain person to go from 0 to 1. And as many of us know, going from 1 to 100 takes a whole other mindset.”
The juicy orange that is venture capital cannot be compared to the crisp apple that is ETA, as they are in different categories in terms of impact potential, according to Cordell. He is proactive about not wasting time and talent in a time that requires urgency and efficiency. Search funds and ETA have the power to achieve more monumental goals by placing a capable new generation in existing SMEs to progress beyond the status quo. Cordell’s mission is to make impact in this space fashionable by transitioning the current economy into a regenerative one.
“This isn’t just about taking businesses and making more profit. It’s about taking something good and making it truly great.”
Social Impact Through Entrepreneurship
Despite its growing presence, most people are unaware of the ETA and search fund models and advantages. In fact, Cordell’s business partner had spent 20 years hiring and training
But the journey ahead takes work. One of Regenerative Capital Group’s challenges is innovation, as there are currently no best practices to follow in the regeneration and ETA fields. While the ETA and search fund models are reliable and already fleshed out, the blueprint for a project like Cordell’s is still in its
fleshed out, the blueprint for a project like Cordell’s is still in its early stages. He and his team are building a plane while flying, but they have the support of a great ecosystem of partners and confidence from bright minds. This means that those who wish to be involved must have an aptitude for exploration and a hunger for learning.
The Next (Re)generation
The word “regenerate” literally means “to become formed again” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). And so, nothing could be more intrinsic to the idea of regeneration than reintegrating the space held by former leaders with the next generation. In pursuit of supporting the ETA ecosystem, Cordell set out to learn what the ETA landscape was like by checking in with the Canadian business school network. He was surprised to learn that there was no involvement with ETA at any of the business schools at that time (as of now, two schools have launched ETA courses at the MBA or executive education level). This realization led him to spread the influence of ETA and search funds within a network of business schools to embed regeneration into curricula and use the network to leverage ETA.
“If we’re not training our business students, let alone any of our students, in taking a regenerative approach to solving the biggest issues of our days—then what are we training them in? This next generation of folks are really looking not just to be personally and financially satisfied and abundantly successful. They’re looking to use their life’s path and looking for meaning in their career to tackle some of these big issues that are facing all of us, whether it be climate change or pollution or mental health.”
And the younger generation needs no convincing. Cordell believes Gen Z displays purpose-driven career pursuits and wishes to take wilful action against the poly-crisis of mental health issues, climate change, pollution, etc. As he attended ETA conferences and search fund boot camps and furthered his learning in the US, Cordell commonly heard the complaint that traditional search investors and the people currently
seated at the table are not taking on a social impact lens. There is a consensus that social impact needs to be integrated into discussions and decision-making more. Cordell is ready to collaborate with the next generation of SME leaders to fulfill their professional lives and create change.
Unsurprisingly, Cordell is looking for entrepreneurs whose aspirations stretch beyond self-interest, career, and wealth to being a part of active solutions. Cordell’s hope is that the first cohort, consisting of 4 to 6 individuals, will not only successfully grow and profit their businesses but also demonstrate the promising potential of taking a regenerative lens to a business’s growth.
Career Pivoting and Impostor Syndrome
The immersed and involved individual that he is, Cordell has walked in all directions. His rich career history contains pivots that have brought on steep learning curves—and a lengthy relationship with impostor syndrome. But being a constant beginner in new industries requires intensive learning as you climb your way to stable ground and see the bigger picture. Orienting himself to new environments has made Cordell pick up a myriad of information he can access, connecting pieces of different puzzles together to form a unique image of interconnected industries. Once the line between the new and daunting, old and familiar, gets blurry with time, skills feel more easily transferable.
this kind of management makes it possible to support the diverse strengths of his team members without being an expert in their specific domains and allowing those strengths to create a greater whole. While a symphony is tougher to orchestrate, it is grander than a single instrument.
Cordell Jacks, founder and CEO of Regenerative Capital Group, is revolutionizing social impact through disruptive innovation. His regenerative lens on entrepreneurship significantly raises the bar for what it means to be a good business by adding self, societal, economic, and environmental improvement to the list of company objectives in addition to profit, and uses a combination of search funds, ETA, and regenerative approaches to equip future leaders with the tools to change the world.
Cordell is no stranger to a beginner’s mindset and values the network of transferable knowledge that pivoting careers in pursuit of his true purpose has granted him.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Regenerate. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved June 20, 2023, from https://www. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/regenerate
Cordell has also discovered the solution to the challenge that is leading a team of experts. He likes to participate in what he thinks of as bass-player leadership. As a leader, he sets the background tone and backs the vocals and instruments but lets his rockstar team members take front stage. Embracing
“I’ve come to embrace what is an important skill for many people; not just myself, but the searchers and entrepreneurs that we’re going to be working with—which is a generalist capacity to see networks, to seed ideas and bring them together.”
“You want to go quick, go alone. You want to go far, go together.”
Greg Geronemus Co-Founder and Managing Partner Footbridge Partners
“ Itcanbehardenough tosourceinterestingor promisingopportunities. Andtohavesomebody say,‘I’vegotabusiness owner that wants to meet withyou,’thinksit’sa greatbusiness,andturns outhasprettyreasonable valuationexpectations, that’sagiftthatmany searchersdon’tget. ”
Greg Geronemus has faced the converging struggles of being a search fund CEO head-on and is now leaving an indelible mark in the space as an investor. Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Footbridge Partners and former co-CEO of smarTours, Greg extends invaluable support forged through firsthand encounters with the demanding journey of fundraising, scouting businesses for acquisition, negotiation, transformative growth, and successful divestment. Greg made a professional leap by landing a role in private equity at Goldman Sachs right after graduating from Harvard University cum laude— but yearned for better control over his success and knew there was more to his story.
“Ijustknewveryearlyon that I wanted to do somethingmoreentrepreneurial. Iwantedtocontrolmyown destiny.”
He decided to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School, after which he came across the search fund model and the expansive realm of entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) in a twist of fate and fortune. It was love at first sight. Greg felt it was a perfect fit for his experience in investing for private equity at Goldman Sachs. It was less risky to buy a mature business with a market, steady revenue and cash flow, and this endeavour would help kickstart his entrepreneurship journey. Despite his experience with private equity, Greg’s decision to zone in on small to mediumsized businesses rather than esteemed
private equity firms was driven by a strong desire to pursue entrepreneurship and run his own business. Which ultimately led to…
A Search Fund Odyssey
When Greg first entered the search fund world, tourism was nowhere near his radar. “If you had told me that we would buy a tour operator when we launched our search, I would have asked, ‘What is a tour operator?’ And then I would have told you you were crazy.”
have help in some areas. With an already successful company in place, the search fund model supported their learning and allowed them the luxury of one to two years to find their footing.
Greg and his business partner David Rosner, with whom he operates Footbridge Partners II, launched their journey as Footbridge Partners I. They networked their way to smarTours, a transformative tourism business that optimizes the logistics and leisures of travel to grant clients life-changing experiences. After speaking to the Founder and then CEO, Greg discovered they had stumbled upon a treasure trove of interesting fundamental business characteristics and opportunities for growth.
The search fund journey was a rigorous obstacle course for Greg and David. They encountered challenges in team building, creating trust, sales and marketing, operating in an unfamiliar industry, and leading a team with more experience.
Greg recalls it being a tremendous learning curve. On the other hand, they did
As arduous as being the co-CEO of an acquired business was, a profound sense of gratifying fulfillment accompanied the journey. Greg recalls smarTour’s rare accomplishment of bringing Americans into Cuba for tourism relatively early following the lifting of American tourist restrictions in Cuba. For a brief period, smarTours introduced Americans to the vibrant island’s beautiful culture and allowed rich interactions between Cubans and Americans that had been suppressed for decades. Greg and David replicated this triumph with Egypt, bringing a thousand travellers into the country relatively early, following a brutal stretch from a tourism perspective.
From a business perspective, Greg takes
“ThefactthatIthinkevery searchergoesthroughthis toalargeextent—reallyjust asteeplearningcurve,is all the more reason to be disciplinedwhenyoubuya business.”
“I’llneverforgetthat experienceandbeing able to deliver that kindofimpact.”
pride in making smarTours a pioneer of the B2B2C model, which was virtually non-existent before Footbridge I’s acquisition. They expanded their target market to include businesses and organizations such as universities, retirement communities, chambers of commerce, and other similar entities, creating a new business line. As a result, they impressively tapped into a new customer base and generated significant revenue.
This would not have been achievable without the support of mentors like Jennifer Tombaugh, who was recruited to their board of directors and is an industry veteran. She shared her experience and offered guidance, and Greg likes to think they contributed to her learning by involving her in their work. Overall,
he states she was instrumental in them acclimating to the industry and taking the next steps once their feet were firmly on the ground.
Shifting Search Gears
What separates Footbridge II from other search fund investment firms is its intensity of collaboration and unshakeable attentive support. As an investment firm, Footbridge II backs small to medium-sized businesses and search fund entrepreneurs, providing mentorship and coaching to searchers through all business acquisition and operation steps. Most investors divide their attention between 30 to 50 searchers and 40 to 70 companies.
“We back 2 to 4 searchers peryear,lookingtoendup with9or10companies—a fundamentallydifferent approach.AndIcertainly believe our focus and commitmenttopartnershipis unmatched.”
The name “Footbridge Partners” not only carries a melodic charm but also holds a symbolic significance. It draws inspiration from the Weeks Footbridge that spans the Charles River, linking Harvard’s main campus and the Harvard Business School housing, where David
and Greg lived. The name was revived and given a second iteration, Footbridge II when Greg and David decided to invest in search funds and give their story a sequel. They decided to do this rather than operate another search fund because they had been thoroughly enjoying their investments in search fund entrepreneurs, and eventually asked the next natural question: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this all day, every day?”
Greg and David had also observed a gap in the market for traditional search fund investors working closely with their searchers and deeply engaging in their processes, informed by their own experience as searchers. The firm’s partnership-driven model is a hybrid between traditional search investor and accelerator. It is succeeding in collaborating with businesses such as Softrip, a software company that serves tour operators, and The Skin Center, a leading medical aesthetics practice. Greg and David are making a colossal impact on the search fund model while also having fun.
Experiential Search Advice
Getting into the weeds of the search fund process has taught Greg a few crucial things to keep in mind. He asserts that new searchers should be completely honest about what they want. He states: don’t hesitate to reject an option. According to him, many searchers waste time on opportunities that are clearly dead ends, and he suggests asking yourself: how much do you want this business?
Are you ready to invest all your time, effort, and knowledge into it? Interview the investors as much as they interview you, and remember that many intricate parts need to fit with each other to accomplish
acquiring and growing a business whose success depends on your management.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of stars need to align for you to go buy somebody’s business. That’s not a simple deal. Business needs to be right, big enough, priced right, and the seller needs to trust you, you need to trust them, investors need to be on board—a lot of things need to line up.”
Greg also recommends getting as much financial and mentorship backing as possible because this path is ambiguous, challenging, and, if successfully navigated, incredibly rewarding. Fortunately, the search fund space is filled with entrepreneurs who want you to succeed and are open to sharing their experiences to make that happen.
Greg also notes that knowing the industry the searcher seeks to buy into is not a prerequisite, although it can be a compelling selling point. As he and David experienced firsthand, it’s more than possible for searchers to overcome the learning curve and make some magic happen from the top after a steep climb. That being said, Greg warns that some industries, such as the core operator business, might be inherently too complex to grasp.
diverse future for search funds. He notes that the percentage of women in the traditional investor-backed search fund space so far has stubbornly remained below 10% and hopes to see the inclusion of more women entrepreneurs in the future. He also sees the ETA landscape evolving with various innovative models emerging, bringing more individuals into the space. But the rapid increase in the number of searchers raises questions about a potential ceiling, as the challenges of acquiring and continuing a retiring founder’s business legacy should not be underestimated.
When it comes to navigating the complexities of search funds, Greg Geronemus’ experience and wisdom make him an invaluable resource and mentor.
As co-CEO of Footbridge II, a forwardthinking investment firm combining elements of an accelerator and traditional investor, he dedicates himself to guiding entrepreneurs on their journeys. Having traversed the unpredictable landscape of acquisition entrepreneurship, leadership, and operations, Greg emphasizes the importance of self-honesty when choosing a business to acquire and run, as it will undoubtedly test one’s capabilities in unforeseen ways. His journey, from leadership to mentorship, showcases his willingness to take risks and bet on himself — a quality that has consistently fueled his success.
Looking ahead, Greg envisions a more
The search fund space is currently a small but deep pond. Ibrahim Abdel Rahim, Managing Partner of Moonbase Capital, is a part of the growing group that is aware of its potential for creating new horizons and actively participates in it. Despite their power, he also knows why more people aren’t dipping their toes into search funds.
Search funds are an investment tool that allow entrepreneurs to raise funds to acquire, manage, and grow a business. These funds offer a pathway to leadership roles for entrepreneurs lacking the requisite experience to serve as temporary CEOs, while simultaneously diversifying their portfolios and leveraging their knowledge and ambition (Stanford Graduate School of Business, n.d.). As Ibrahim eloquently says, search funds take the best of venture capital and private equity.
Growing up, Ibrahim knew he would one day take over his
father’s SME in Egypt. But his journey took a detour when he decided to channel his ambition into an MBA at INSEAD, which influenced him to work for McKinsey & Company. Armed with McKinseian strategy and practical experience, Ibrahim returned to his father’s business with a unique approach of combining ambitious ideas with hard work to navigate the resource-based challenges and game-ending consequences of growing an SME.
“Itwastoughbecauseinordertogrow, youneedmoremoney,wehadtaken somanyloans,andinEgypt,ifyoutake aloanandyoudon’tpayit,yougoto prison.”
Ibrahim Abdel Rahim Managing Partner/Moonbase Capital
Ibrahim’s resilience, strong mind, and relentless dedication to his work bore fruit. Alongside his brother Khaled, he grew the business 10 times over. However, after seeing that his SME business was turning into a corporate one, he decided to venture into Silicon Valley through the MSx Program at Stanford in pursuit of individual growth, where he learned about search funds. A few chapters later, Ibrahim was the Managing Partner of Moonbase Capital. Moonbase Capital invests in SMEs through search funds.
Search Funds: An Underdog Concept
If the search fund space is so promising, why aren’t more people participating in it? Ibrahim is shocked by how few people are aware of it. He suspects there might be a few reasons. First, the search fund space faces obstacles in terms of investments and publicity. Currently, search funds are in their nascent stages, with only $2 billion in investments compared to the $600 billion quarterly investment flowing into venture capital. The exhilarating narratives associated with venture capital-backed giants like Airbnb haven’t permeated the search fund space as much either.
attention. The internet has created a virtual space for stories to spread within days, and search funds will hopefully gain enough interest to become the next trend—and in time, the next permanent practice.
Another reason Ibrahim thinks search funds may be out of the world’s focus is the branding disparity compared to venture capital, as it was created by professors and CEOs, who focused on mentorship rather than mainstream finance figures. Ibrahim also highlights the misalignment between search funds and private equity. The private equity model, focused on a small number of companies, is not suitable for search funds due to their need for greater involvement and value creation.
Ibrahim’s “Search Fund Squared” model proposes a smaller fund size of 15 million euros, enabling closer engagement with 20 to 25 companies. It emphasizes active investor participation, expertise sharing, and co-investment opportunities, providing a more agile and collaborative approach for search fund success, in addition to supporting the fundraising goals of young fund managers.
Ibrahim’s strategy for Moonbase is an honest and efficient one. He aims to sow the seeds for a successful investor presence through hard work and open collaboration. One of the ways of doing this is by being close to the entrepreneurs, allowing them to lead without restriction, and supporting them in their journeys.
But with his leadership and management experience, Ibrahim doesn’t take search funds’ stability for granted.
As with most innovations, search funds require a compelling and relevant story to bring them to the front of society’s
“It’snotastoryyouwouldtellinabar, andeveryone’slike,‘Wow,’youknow, it’smoreof,‘Okay,weboughtthis wastemanagementcompany,andwe madeagoodIRR.’“
“Investinginsearchfundsisnotboringatall.It’sactuallyveryinteresting. Andbeinganentrepreneurinsearch fundsisevenmorestimulatingthana startup.”
The communication style for each searcher varies, as does the journey, and Ibrahim fosters their agency by creating a more open and collaborative culture in an effort to build trust with the entrepreneurs and solidify Moonbase’s reliability. As with most spaces, Ibrahim predicts that the future of search funds will not be as relaxed, and there will be increased competition. His goal is to build and maintain a prominent presence by working hard now so that Moonbase is a popular choice when the pond gets larger and busier, and searchers have more choice in who they want to invest in them. An investor at heart, Ibrahim knows the vital places to channel energy for mutual benefit.
In tune with the rapidly evolving tech landscape, Ibrahim is keenly aware of the transformative potential of artificial intelligence. With the release of GPT-4 in March 2023 and a spreading integration of artificial intelligence and chat AI into industries, Ibrahim is confident of AI’s usefulness in Moonbase’s management. He believes it can be of great use with manual labour, such as matching entrepreneurs and advisors based on the kind of support that is needed and can be offered. Not only that, Ibrahim believes Moonbase can support the company the searcher buys through its own AI services.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
Acknowledging that entrepreneurship is no easy feat and that the search fund space will only get more competitive with time, Ibrahim has three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs looking to scale their companies. The first one is to find a horizon and keep working towards it. Making mistakes, and many at that, will be a part of the process, but Ibrahim suggests staying positive through it all. Putting on a smile when times are tough and things need to be running smoothly is not easy, but Ibrahim was able to do it for his team members in his SME
The second piece of advice is to normalize seeking help, which the search fund community is always open to. As an SME CEO especially, there are multiple hats to be worn, and having help with some of these departments is smarter than spreading yourself too thin.
The last piece of advice Ibrahim has is to stay focused and avoid branching out too much. Even though it’s difficult to turn down more revenue, he suggests refraining from taking too many gigs.
Ibrahim Abdel Rahim, Managing Partner of Moonbase Capital, believes there is a lot of depth to the world of search funds. However, its current limitations are time, money, and publicity. His exhilarating journey, involving SME leadership, an MBA at INSEAD, work at McKinsey & Company, an MSx program at Stanford, and finally, investments for SMEs through search funds led him to the path he was meant for.
Ibrahim bravely believes in the power of hard work and open collaboration, and his strategy centers around mutual gain and trustworthy relationships by taking the time and doing the work. Ibrahim’s success proves that strong focus, an ability to seek help, and a combination of innovative strategy and perseverance can bring one past any horizon they set for themselves.
Stanford Graduate School of Business. (n.d.). Research on Search Funds. https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/experience/about/centers-institutes/ces/research/searchfunds
“It’s their life. They’re gonna spend 10 years on that. For us, it’s one investment. Yeah, sure, it’s important for us, but at the end of the day, it’s about them. It’s not about us.”
19 HORIZON SEARCH
John Baker has been moving mountains with nothing but his experience, motivation, and planning. Founder and creator of the Cleanzy Sponge and a self-funded searcher with a background in analytics, business development and strategy, and sales—lots of sales—John walks the tightropes of new ventures with a clear mind and stable feet.
Cleanzy Sponge is a hands-free cleaning sponge that is every bit as threatening to inaccessible food and beverage container debris as it looks. The novel product was born out of John’s own troubles with protein powder gunk stuck at the bottom of his bottle and hard-to-reach leftovers in his Tupperware. Coming in three different sizes and colours, the spherical sponges do all the hard work while you shake the container with water and soap.
John looked at customer reviews of existing bottle sponges and noticed a gap in the market he could fill with his product. He consciously designed Cleanzy to be accretive to existing product lines and splash some enjoyment onto the cleaning process.
John, an astute entrepreneur and strategist from the get-go, quickly learned that while idea generation can be effortless, execution is often riddled with obstacles. The application process for his utility patent on the Cleanzy Sponge, which
John Baker Founder & Managing Director/RedOak Trust
gave him rights to own its utility, took three years to get approved. As a result, John advises having a provisional patent, a temporary placeholder that protects your product idea. The track to execute John’s innovation was not as emergent as his vision, but the Cleanzy Sponge is ultimately a hit, with an average of 5 stars on Etsy and hundreds of sales already.
“I thought, why not bring a marketable product to an arena that is considered unappealing or unsexy, which is the sponge or bottle brush category? A product that’s useful, effective, fun, and marketable?”
Pursuing the Right Path
Millennials like John have spent the last two decades observing the technological landscape transform before them. But John hasn’t only been observing—he has taken full advantage of the informational wealth provided by the internet, guided by the vision of autonomous living.
“I began to understand that there was a different lifestyle out there. There was a better life for me and my family. I think I took that on at a young age, and it really motivated me to figure out a way to gain autonomy; to gain financial freedom. And one of the primary ways to do that was through entrepreneurship.”
With a utility patent and a successful single consumer product company under his belt, John could have chosen to build his own startup. But he knew that he wanted to be involved with something having an existing foundation, something that suited him as a person and didn’t present the resource challenges of a business built from scratch. So he spent some time drawing out information from several books offering different insights on entrepreneurship through acquisition, including Walker Deibel’s Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game.
Slowly, a new horizon came into view.
“It just seemed to be the perfect mesh between what
A fresh journey can be daunting, especially when embarked upon alone. However, John is equipped with a clear vision, knowledge, and the unwavering determination to transform the future in his mind into reality. He is currently filling in his knowledge gaps through books such as Financial Intelligence, Search Funds & Entrepreneurial Acquisitions, Measure What Matters, and the HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business to continue his self-funded search for a company he can acquire, grow, and sell.
Long-term Thinking in ETA
John stresses the importance of balancing knowledge accumulation with execution when it comes to new endeavours. Equipping oneself with valuable knowledge is essential in navigating the ETA space, but it is equally important to create a plan and take the next steps after diligently learning. Especially if you’re self-funded and journeying independently, John suggests mastering project management software to help you visualize and plan toward complex goals. Regarding strategy, he believes it’s crucial to consider what kind of a business you aim to acquire and the lifestyle that would complement the work involved in that business.
maximum effort had to be utilized to remain afloat.
“It was a sink-or-swim environment that forced you to think long-term, and so I had to do everything in my power to increase twhe odds of success. Some of the ways I did that were through reading about organization and different strategies from various successful people. I think one of the books that was really influential for me was Ray Dalio’s Principles.”
John fearlessly assumed control over his destiny and didn’t relinquish the direct responsibility for his success, following a strategically crafted path toward prosperity. Undoubtedly, learning and observation were at the core of this process.
Navigating the Mental Mazes
This kind of long-term thinking was essential in John’s previous work, which was fully commission-based, and in which sales cycles lasted between 4 months to 5 years. He remembers that
With its inherent self-doubt and fickleness, entrepreneurship is riddled with feelings of impostor syndrome and analysis paralysis. As a self-funded acquisition entrepreneur, John is all too familiar with the unease of feeling unqualified. He finds solace in exploring different ways to quell his discomfort. Morning exercise or any physical exertion straight out of bed has proved to be the most useful so far. Not only are there physical benefits to exercising, but after a gruelling workout, the bar of comfort
I was looking for and all of my creativity, layering that on top of existing infrastructure. And it makes so much sense to me.”
for the rest of the day is set low for the body and, therefore also the mind.
“The physical struggle is actually a mental training ground. And when you can do that in the morning, it can prepare you for the day. It sets the stage for you.”
John also brings up the value of networking with peers and mentors. Peers, or those on a similar path, can offer empathy when the road is steep, and mentors are invaluable for knowing how to continue forward. It’s essential to have a plan ready when consulting with experienced mentors to respect their time and invest them in your goals. Ever resourceful, John also recommends using the internet as a tool. Inspiring creators on platforms like YouTube share advice on niche topics moulded from their own experiences.
John has methodically strengthened his decision-making muscles on the way to choosing a business out of a seemingly infinite number of choices. Three tools have helped him address the anxiety that comes with this. First, organizing has been useful for John. He keeps in mind that certain to-do lists are more dynamic and can be tackled using project management software. Visualization is another key component that has helped John map out his information in a way that gives him a bird’s eye view, and he suggests arranging information in a way that works for you. Third, John notes the importance of paying attention to the bottom line. Thinking deeply about your objective and the key tasks that will help
accomplish it are just as important as execution. And taking the time to do this thoughtful work in a good headspace can do wonders.
Advice for Young Startup and ETA Entrepreneurs
A student at heart, John generously passes on his learnings to young startup and acquisition entrepreneurs, advising them to have a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) in place and to consider whether a product idea is innovative and disruptive enough to motivate purchases. He also recommends ensuring that existing businesses, with their already established consumer base, cannot imitate a product idea.
“I think it’s human nature to feel, ‘Oh, people would love this. This is awesome.’ But it becomes a different story when they’re using their hard-earned money to buy your product or idea.”
John advises ETA entrepreneurs to fill in their knowledge gaps and gain a firm understanding of the search fund process. His extensive experience in outbound sales has hardened him towards the rejection of cold-calling, but he knows how difficult it can be to get used to.
“Surround yourself with people that have that experience or are currently experiencing that with you because it can really help lift you up, and you’ll eventu-
ally realize that responses like ‘No’ and ‘Why are you calling?’ are not as big of a deal as they may feel in your body.”
He encourages new searchers to actively network and utilize the openness of the search fund space. Ultimately, he expresses the vitality of embracing ambiguity, of knowing you may have to take some steps without complete knowledge of what lies before you—since just as every individual is unique, so is their path to success.
John Baker’s implacable pursuit of knowledge and strategic execution has propelled him to become the Founder and creator of Cleanzy Sponge, start his self-funded search journey in the ETA space, and excel at his professional duties. From perseverance to patents, John’s dedication to learning is an admirable example of how organization, motivation, and a long-term mindset can help you shape your vision for the future. His experience in entrepreneurship paints a vivid picture of the power of determination, continuous learning, and strategic thinking in achieving entrepreneurial success and leaving a lasting impact on consumer convenience.
Stuttgart City Library by Yi Architects. Photograph taken by David Lovejoy using iPhone 6s Plus, 2018.
Land of the Rising Funds
Yutaka Mogi and Noriko Shimazu
Japan Search Fund Platform
A Nomura Holdings and Japan Search Fund Accelerator Partnership
magine a country where many businesses are on the brink of closure, their owners reaching retirement age with no successors in sight. This is the reality Japan faces today, as a looming business succession issue threatens individual companies, local communities, and employment. However, a unique solution is gaining traction amidst this challenge: search funds. These entrepreneurial acquisition models provide a solution for Japanese businesses, offering a path for passionate individuals to step in as successors and breathe new life into these enterprises.
An Unprecedented Frontier in Japan
Search funds, a unique entrepreneurial acquisition model that allows a ‘searcher’ to identify, acquire, and manage an existing privately held company, are gaining traction in Japan. With many business owners in Japan reaching retirement age, search funds present a promising solution to the country’s succession challenges. Despite Japan’s dire demographics, the potential impact of search funds is profound, as they address the shortage of heirs to businesses—a trend often overlooked in discussions about Japan’s declining population.
Japan Search Fund Accelerator (JaSFA), founded in 2018 by Noriko Shimazu, a Stanford MBA graduate with diverse experience in corporate planning and venture capitalism, has emerged as a pivotal organization addressing Japan’s business succession crisis. In partnership with Nomura Holdings, Japan’s largest investment bank, JaSFA launched the Japan Search Fund Platform (JSFP) to invest in and support ambitious young entrepreneurs, known as “searchers,” willing to take over small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose older owners lack successors (Slodkowski & Lewis, 2022). This platform aims to foster new career opportunities for young entrepreneurs and ensure the sustainable growth of Japan’s economy. Currently, six search funds in Japan have been backed by a collaborative effort between JaSFA and a local bank, and JSFP has supported seven in partnership with JaSFA and Nomura. This includes two traditional search funds curated by Shimazu under the aegis of JaSFA. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, LT Partners has been bolstered by the funding and expertise of Shimazu and JaSFA. These strategic investments are cultivating the next generation of chief executives.
Investor Dynamics: The Fusion of Local and International Interests
Search funds in Japan attract a blend of local and international investors, typically comprising around 60% foreign and 30-40% local investment. This unique investor composition brings together deep knowledge of search funds from foreign investors and an understanding of local markets from domestic ones.
Shimazu sheds light on the dynamics between local and international investors, “I would say it is great to have both investors who know about search funds and also have knowledge of the local markets on your board. However, I have noticed that search fund managers often face difficulties due to the contrasting preferences of Japanese and international investors. Japanese investors prioritize companies with growth potential, regardless of recurring revenue percentages or typical search fund criteria. On the other hand, international investors tend to adhere more to traditional search fund criteria and seek larger investment sizes. This difference in preferences can create tension and conflicts among investors.”
Shimazu further emphasizes the benefits of a localized approach, stating, “In our accelerator model, we initially relied on 100% local funding. This approach enabled us to gain a profound understanding of the market, identify profitable, high-recurring revenue companies by leveraging LP (Limited Partnership) networks, and assess the viability of an investment based on our market knowledge, thereby lowering communication costs. This localized approach has been instrumental in the industry’s startup phase, providing the flexibility to address unique Japanese market characteristics and mitigate conflicts. However, as our confidence in our market-fit model grows, we are considering broadening our horizons by opening our second fund to global investors, thereby diversifying our investor base and amplifying our global reach.” Shimazu’s insights highlight the challenges and considerations involved in balancing the interests of local and international investors in search fund operations. While the fusion of perspectives brings valuable insights, aligning investment preferences and managing potential discord remain essential aspects of successful search fund management.
To navigate these complexities, some Japanese fund managers have adopted an all-local model, raising capital solely from domestic entities. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of the local market and aids in identifying profitable growth companies with recurring revenue. By mitigating the risk of
conflicts stemming from diverging investment styles, the alllocal model provides a homegrown solution to the challenges other search funds face in Japan. Nevertheless, cultural factors present another layer of complexity for search funds in Japan.
Broadening Horizons: Beyond the Land of the Rising Sun
The shifting demographics in Japan, with many children of baby boomers relocating to cities and showing little interest in taking over their parents’ small businesses, intensify the need for succession solutions. Although Japan’s market is perceived as slow-growing due to a declining population and sluggish economic growth, some Japanese investors are looking toward the emerging markets of Southeast Asia. However, establishing a robust model in the Japanese market is crucial before venturing into these growth-rich markets. Having examined the dynamics of search funds within Japan, it is worth consid-
ering how this model might expand beyond national borders. Yutaka Mogi, Senior Managing Director of Nomura Holdings, highlights some technicalities and potential conflicts that arise when considering international investors. Mogi explains, “There are some slight technical issues around this because of the taxation issue. Additionally, there might be incongruity among investors, as international investors often prioritize typical private equity-type returns. At the same time, some Japanese LPs, particularly strategic LPs, may have a different agenda, not solely focused on returns but also seeking local support for important local companies.”
Despite these complexities, Mogi emphasizes that the search fund model provides a strong differentiating factor compared to traditional private equity or M&A brokerage firms. He explains, “The significant advantage of our approach lies in the valuable contributions of local LPs. They provide searchers
Passing the Torch. Image created by David Lovejoy using the AI generator, Midjourney, 2023.
access to their extensive networks and deliver crucial information about potential target companies. This early insight can even precede an owner’s decision to sell their company, giving searchers a strategic advantage. Moreover, having the backing of local financial institutions amplifies the value for searchers, granting them both financial support and market-specific guidance.”
Mogi’s insights shed light on the complexities and advantages of incorporating international investors into search funds in Japan. While technical and conflicting issues may arise, the search fund model’s focus on finding the right successor and creating sustainable returns for all investors sets it apart from traditional investment models.
The Future of Search Funds in Japan: A Promising Landscape
The rise of search fund platforms and the expansion of the market for such investments in Japan are inevitable. The increasing number of mergers and acquisitions among smaller companies, driven by the need for owners to pass on their enterprises while still enjoying the profits from a sale, further support the growth of search funds. The closure of businesses without a successor has adverse effects that extend beyond the individual companies, impacting local communities and employment. Promoting the search fund model can mitigate these detrimental consequences and preserve the cultural heritage these businesses represent.
Shimazu envisions a future of impactful investments and market transformation, stating, “Hopefully, we successfully invest in probably six or seven companies with our first fund and then move on to the second one, which we hope will be even larger. This will enable us to invest in more structures. We aim to continue investing in around five companies annually and create memorable success stories. Additionally, we aim to establish the core of our business in rural areas, not just limited to Tokyo. While we cannot invest in every company, we want to build a strong foundation in the market that will have a positive ripple effect. By doing so, we hope to influence and transform the entire market. Once we are confident in our capability to effectively support and empower young professionals into successful CEOs, we plan to expand our business to cater to a wider range of individuals and explore opportunities in Asia and other emerging markets. That is our plan, and I
am hopeful it will come to fruition.”
Case Study: Preserving the Future of Homecare – The Mediplus Succession Story
Mediplus Co., Ltd., a reputable home-visit nursing service known as Tatsumi Home-visit Nursing, faced a critical juncture in the heart of Kanagawa Prefecture. Founded and nurtured by Tetsuya Sezaki, Mediplus had grown into a premier homecare provider with 17 locations across Kanagawa and Tokyo. However, despite the company’s significant growth and over 200 committed staff members, the question of who would lead the company into the future remained. At this critical point, Ryoma Matsumoto and the JSFP came into the picture (JaSFA, 2022).
Ryoma Matsumoto, a corporate investment professional at Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest trading company and a native of Kanagawa, had a strong desire to contribute to his hometown’s welfare. The JSFP saw in Matsumoto, an ideal managerial candidate to lead a company through a business succession. Matsumoto’s determination to be a leader who combines effort with empathy struck a chord with Mediplus’s owner and management team. His vision, drive, and strong ties to the local community impressed them, leading to their agreement to entrust Mediplus’s future to him.
Under the agreement with JSFP, Matsumoto planned to use his investor’s perspective and business development experience to drive growth measures, improve operational efficiency, and secure Mediplus’s successful succession. He envisioned creating an environment where all staff members would feel proud and rewarded, with plans to expand the company and make it a leading name in the home-visit nursing industry.
His aspirations aligned well with the mission of JSFP, which aims to improve the corporate value of small and mediumsized enterprises and provide investors with profit opportunities in the private market. This partnership illustrates the power of search funds like JSFP in securing successful business successions and facilitating the matching of ambitious leaders like Matsumoto with thriving enterprises like Mediplus.
Under the dedicated leadership of Ryoma Matsumoto, the legacy of Mediplus/Tatsumi Home-visit Nursing is flourishing through the strategic application of the search fund model. Matsumoto has initiated numerous projects, many of which
are already yielding significant results. He has improved the nurse hiring process, tripling the number of applications compared to pre-acquisition figures. His dynamic plans for the year include the inauguration of new stations, bolstering the company’s presence in Kanagawa and beyond.
Matsumoto has also invested in enhancing the company’s brand and culture. The positive shifts have been recognized by both staff members and industry players, and training sessions have been developed to ensure a smooth transition for new hires and to upgrade existing staff skills. His focus on performance measurement has led to the establishment of a new personnel assessment system, which ensures fair reflection of staff contributions and skills in their tenure and bonuses. He has identified key performance indicators and initiated tracking them, enabling more effective discussions with General Partners about future strategies. For instance, the staff utilization rate per station is improving through the transparent sharing of utilization rates with station leaders and collaborative discussions on how to enhance these figures.
Further demonstrating the value of his network, Matsumoto successfully recruited a top-tier Chief Operating Officer, further positioning Mediplus as a leading provider of home-visit nursing services. Matsumoto’s dedication to his community and commitment to maintaining Mediplus as an industry leader exemplifies the role of search funds in ensuring the continuity and growth of valued businesses in the Japanese market.
Conclusion: Seizing the Future
With the interplay of local and international insights and the unwavering commitment of passionate searchers, the future of search funds in Japan is promising. The model offers a unique solution to the succession needs of Japanese business owners and holds the potential for expansion into other regions, such as Southeast Asia and China. By exploring the exciting landscape of search funds in Japan, whether as a seasoned investor or an ambitious entrepreneur, you can actively contribute to shaping the future of business succession in Japan. Embracing this opportunity is crucial, not just for business owners but also for preserving Japan’s cultural heritage and ensuring the continued success of its respected businesses. The JSFP, through its prescience in identifying and investing in promising succession opportunities, demonstrates its pivotal role in shaping the landscape of Japanese business succession.
JaSFA. (2022, December 28). JSFP 第1号サーチャー松本氏、株式 会社メディプラスを承継. プレスリリース・ニュースリリース配 信シェアNo.1|PR TIMES. https://prtimes.jp/main/html/ rd/p/000000011.000094389.html
Slodkowski, A., & Lewis, L. (2022, January 26). Nomura Launches Fund to help “greying” companies find Young Executives. Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/ content/14a31253-8789-43d0-b942-d4c27b363a78
Ryoma Matsumoto (R) takes over Mediplus from founder Tetsuya Sezaki (L).
29 HORIZON SEARCH
Shahar Polak Head of Engineering ImagenAI
hahar Polak treats confrontation as a speedbump on the road to marvellous success and change as a permanent wave to ride. Head of Engineering at ImagenAI, a miracle tool that accomplishes an unimaginable amount of work in a short period, Shahar’s presence infuses business practices with the nimbleness of his Israeli heritage and a leadership style steeped in authenticity. With digital progress rapidly growing towards a singularity and barriers to successful entrepreneurship weakening, Shahar actively evolves his mindsets, embraces shifting trends, and instinctually seizes opportunity.
ImagenAI’s origin story is quintessential to identifying a personal problem and deriving a public solution. After his wedding, the Chief Technical Officer of the photo editing tool, Yoav Chai, discovered that he would have to wait three months to receive his photographs. According to Shahar, each wedding creates roughly 4,000-5,000 photos—some considerably more—and for every 1 hour of the photo shoot, it takes 1.5 hours of post-production editing.
and Developer Advocate at Active Fence. One of the projects Shahar worked on was identifying bad actors, such as white supremacy groups and locating and uncovering information about potential attacks or hate crimes. Computer vision-based AI was used to detect symbols and imagery relevant to these groups, and then to scan the internet for petabytes’ worth of information. And before Active Fence, he was Lead Engineer and Tech Advocate at BreezoMeter, a tool democratizing access to air pollution insights and connecting businesses to environmental impact by overcoming intellectual gatekeeping.
AI is a double-edged sword according to Shahar. It can eradicate malicious content, improve workflow, equalize access to complex information, and eliminate language barriers for media consumption—or it can be used for political propaganda through tools like deep fakes. Inherently a neutral entity, the positive or negative impact of its power lies in the hands of its user. But Shahar suggests being broad-minded about AI’s ability to create change because it can significantly improve life in small ways. One of these ways for Shahar is enhancing the audio of his podcast for software engineers, which is one of the best in Israel.
Coincidentally, Chai was doing a Master’s in Deep Learning at the time and was writing a thesis on photo and imaging. He co-wrote an academic article about parameterized colour enhancement, and the research spread like wildfire. Two years later, ImagenAI was born—cutting 90% of editing workflow by making artificial intelligence do the notorious labour. Not only that, the company recently engaged in a proof of concept project with Fuji, in which it developed a direct pipeline from hardware to the cloud. From the moment a photographer captures a snapshot, it swiftly ascends to the cloud, journeying to ImagenAI’s servers for real-time editing and ultimately returning to the cloud for review.
The tool has undeniably changed the world of photo editing.
Meaningful AI Usage
Shahar has worked with artificial intelligence for impressively virtuous causes. Before ImagenAI, Shahar was a Tech Lead
“Ithinkbeinganearlyadopterisastateof mind.Andthesamethinggoeswithartificial intelligence.Onceyouembeditinevery singlepartofyourlife,thenifanewAItool comesout,youthink‘Oh,it’snotnew.It’s justthenextstepoftheevolution.’”
Shahar fearlessly runs head-first into disruption, hoping to be a part of solutions that will not just modify but transform current landscapes.
“Oneofthethingsthatlifeexperiencehas taughtmeis:don’tbeafraidofchange.Fear isnotagreatmotivatorforbusiness.”
Fear impedes creativity and suspends progress. Shahar’s approach to balancing risk and cautiousness is always trusting
his intuition, which takes years to develop.
The Israeli Way
Shahar has noticed several fundamental differences between Israeli and Western cultures. After serving in the Israeli infantry, he moved to New York for a few years to visit his parents, study, and run a clothing store before returning to Israel. Shahar holds a deep appreciation for the profound connections he forged in Israel, transcending the mere factor of growing up there. Even his immigrant friends found little difficulty establishing close bonds, testifying to the inherent strength and ease with which interpersonal relationships are formed in Israeli society.
“HereI’vegotmyclosestanddearestfriends, andwe’vebeentogether,someofus,since secondgrade.Andwe’remeetingevery singleweeknomatterwhat,likeclockwork. Onceaweekatleast.Otherwise,wefeellike we’llloseoursanity.”
Besides social culture, Shahar also draws a distinction between Western and Israeli approaches to career paths for adolescents. His younger sister, who grew up in the US, began thinking about her career at age 18, like most of her peers. In Israel, the jump from student to professional is more streamlined as young adults serve in the army for a few years, then travel for six months to ease into everyday life, and only then unwrap the question of what they want to study by the time they’re in their mid-twenties. Meanwhile, Shahar’s American friends were getting their PhDs at that age.
Firm but Empowering Leadership
As a leader, Shahar is invested in the growth of his team members. He brings his all-or-nothing mindset to the journeys of his team members, encouraging them to take big swings and own up to their mistakes. Allowing mistakes creates trust over ownership, and nothing gets swept under the rug for fear of punishment. Shahar also emphasizes bringing out the shining aspects of team members.
“Manytimes,Iseethatwetrytofixpeople’s weaknessesandhelpthemwiththeirshortcomings.I’mnotsayingdon’thelppeople withtheshortcomings—butifthey’regoodat something,doubledownonthat.”
If a programmer works in back-end development but is more passionate about front-end development, Shahar doesn’t let that natural talent and enthusiasm go to waste.
Sometimes leaders don’t have all the information or don’t know what the road ahead is. Shahar likes to be honest with his team about what he doesn’t know to respect their cognizance and maintain trust. He knows that a team member can often tell when a leader is not being transparent, and he prefers to seek help from his team because he believes in their potential. This kind of collaborative leadership also influences the team member to be similarly open when they make their way up the ladder and lead their team.
By taking their time to think, explore, and decide, younger Israelis enter adulthood later but begin with a clear vision, no debt, and greater motivation. Once they start working, Shahar notes it’s not uncommon to see 60–70 hour work weeks.
Problem-solving is another area in which Shahar introduces thoughtful innovation. The general procedure for discussing a problem is laying the solution out on the table to be addressed, which Shahar is prepared for in meetings. However, he’s aware that if his solution takes up all the space at the beginning, his team members and employees will not have anything to contribute. To allow for more diversity of ideas, Shahar is the last one to speak. This way, he can not only take in their input but improve his solution, ultimately empowering his team members.
Shahar also likes to tackle the more immediate symptoms of an issue before addressing its root cause because the minor, more distracting problems can obstruct the bigger challenge.
“Mysolutionisusuallyintwophases.First, fixtheproblem.Youhaveaflattire,fixthe tire.Afterthat,goandfindoutwhatcaused it.”
Shahar Polak, Head of Engineering at ImagenAI, epitomizes
visionary leadership and transformative innovation. ImagenAI has revolutionized photo editing, reducing workflow by an astounding 90% under Shahar’s guidance. He fearlessly embraces change, recognizing the power of AI to democratize access and improve lives. As a leader, Shahar empowers his team, fostering trust, transparency, and a culture of collaboration. He encourages bold risks and values individuals’ unique strengths.
Seeking diverse perspectives, Shahar’s problem-solving approach blends ingenuity and pragmatism, allowing creative solutions to flourish. By tackling immediate challenges and uncovering root causes, he paves the way for sustained success. A firm believer in the potential of AI, Shahar embraces disruption, driving innovation and inspiring others.
As Lead Product Manager at Rapido Bike Taxi, a motorbike taxi app service revamping commuting in India, Shashank Raghavendra is an alchemist who seamlessly blends market insight, customer needs, and technological pos-
sibilities into transformative solutions. Product managers like him are involved in all steps of a product’s lifecycle, from planting the seed of an idea to maintaining the thriving forest it creates.
“Productmanagementletsme solvereal-worldproblemsfor thepublicandalsodefinehow theirliveschange,orhowthe marketchangesasawhole.”
Lead Product Manager/Rapido Bike Taxi
Materializing groundbreaking ideas through innovation is the essence of Shashank’s work. At Rapido, he is striking a clever balance between reliance on public transport and dependence on cars by introducing motorcycles to the mix. The sleek and swift two-wheelers allow users to zip through notorious rush hour traffic while also saving money—vanishing away the problems of intra-city commuting and inconvenient public transit. Despite the brain drain that has been taking place in the country for decades, Shashank is highly optimistic about India’s startup environment, which he states is currently rich with opportunity from the minds that have remained to cultivate it.
“At this point, India is growing at a pace that is just insane. So if you are a startup founder or you want to try something out, I think this is the best time to do that.”
Gig Worker Loyalty
Shashank has developed some unexpected insights about startups in the app service business since he’s been in it. One of them is the delicate balance between meeting high demands through ethical means of supply. During the growth phase of a startup, the focus is primarily on improving the customer experience to attract demand and supply automatically. However, gig workers often face significant pressure to fulfill tasks and have been observed to take extreme measures. To address this, Shashank proposes the tactical solution
of providing the workers with tiered options, letting them choose the number of orders they want to complete. Incentives are tied to these tiers, offering higher rewards for higher order volumes. This approach recognizes the importance of ethical considerations and the gig workers’ desire to maximize their earnings.
Another startling observation Shashank brings up is the creation of a gig worker’s market following an increase in app service platforms. A growing variety of options has shifted the dynamic between employers and workers, with workers having a say in where they want to take their passengers. This shift is particularly prominent in the two-wheeler space.
shank is hopeful about job displacement in the product management industry. He argues that his industry’s practices vary from place to place, as cultures and preferences differ widely, especially in a diverse country like India. Bangalore itself is a melting pot that behaves differently from other states—which means that public behaviour is never geographically standardized, and generalizing needs is impossible. In Shashank’s opinion, understanding who the users are, how they behave, and addressing gaps in problems cannot be done by AI. He thinks, or at least hopes, AI doesn’t replace the human contact that makes these observations possible.
Shashank is also incredibly steadfast in improving his skills. Striving to remain ahead of the curve, he is vigilant about the direction of current trends to see what kind of value he can offer in rapidly transforming landscapes.
The competitive market in India has forced innovation in pursuit of adaptation and prioritized the customer’s loyalty as well as the employee’s. The two-wheeler space and its relative lack of regulation have created a labour market for a smaller group of part-time workers, such as college students, who are also given more control to maximize their output within their limited hours.
Shashank’s product management magic comes into play in such decisions.
Agility in the AI Era
Artificial intelligence has slowly been seeping into every industry, transforming analytics and engineering, and shifting how we see writing and editing. But Sha-
“I think we need to have that agility to constantly keep asking the question of, ‘What value can I add today,’ and maybe keep changing accordingly to be relevant in this new AI space. How can we be more human? I think that’s how we can survive this whole wave.”
With the integration of different roles, skills, and industries, Shashank thinks it’s time to stop evaluating careers and experiences narrowly and start thinking about how they can be transferred. Our
“Nowweareaskingthe driver,‘Wheredoyouwant togo?’”
emotional agility and self-evaluation must quickly adapt to new needs and gaps. In countries like India, students are expected to choose a prestigious career path and commit to following it with the expectation of an aligning role. However, the idea of a future full of twists and turns is becoming the norm. Technological developments like artificial intelligence are continuously transforming the landscape, and it is no longer possible to predict career trends in the future.
Instead of being asked what they want to be, students should be encouraged to think about the kinds of problems they want to solve.
about the MBA graduate’s potential. But Shashank sees value in the frameworks it provides.
“For me, there has been a shift in terms of what I think I can handle—everything from better time management to my outlook towards things at work and the world.”
Doing an MBA has also widened Shashank’s perspective on hard work, resilience, and the ceiling for greatness through the people he has met and the professors who have offered him a treasure of knowledge and guidance.
Maximizing the MBA
In addition to putting his efforts into Rapido, Shashank is also pursuing an MBA at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). Most MBA students use business school as a stepping stone to a desired career, but as an individual already established in the product management industry, Shashank hopes to use it to level up his product management skills and eventually chase bigger goals. Expanding his knowledge after establishing his career also allows him to apply his understanding to his work, immensely improving it. On the one hand, tech billionaires like Elon Musk like to go against the grain by being pessimistic
Shashank Raghavendra, Lead Product Manager at Rapido Bike Taxi, is throwing new colour into traditional commuting in India. Rapido balances public transport and cars while delivering unparalleled convenience and cost savings by seamlessly integrating motorcycles into the transportation mix. Shashank proposes a tiered system of gig-worker engagement to address the shifting labour market with increasing options for workers and emphasizes the vitality of leveraging complementary industries. In an era of AI dominance, Shashank remains a staunch advocate for human interaction and empathetic understanding in product management. He also actively works on improving himself and his skills to continue being a problem-solving expert within society.
“If you’re too myopic or structured in the way you think—that might actually be a disadvantage in this current era.”
37 HORIZON SEARCH
Director, Vitalise Ventures Adjunct Professor, Duke University
Stephanie Knight CEO, Kurated.ai Managing
n an increasingly asset-driven and result-oriented world, Stephanie Knight does not concede her individuality to competition—instead, she carves out space for herself. A valiant achiever, Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of Kurated.ai, Managing Director of Vitalise Ventures, and Adjunct Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Stephanie was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company for several years before she set out to chart her path with Vitalise Ventures, a consultancy and training company that innovatively uses a unique apprenticeship model for its broad range of clientele to provide strategy, team development, and training services.
“I am a consultant and educator. That’s the most concise framing of it, but the core of who I am is a management strategy consultant and a generalist at heart.”
Stephanie embodies the qualities of a critical and strategic thinker, an efficient communicator, and an inquisitive intellectual, always drawn to challenging yet fulfilling endeavours. Her dual roles as an educator and practitioner have enriched her thinking and enabled her to apply instructional expertise to her consulting work.
Forging a Career Path
After several years at McKinsey, Stephanie began contemplating her career trajectory with the potential goal of becoming a partner at the firm. She took some time to reflect and ask herself the necessary questions: was she ready to invest two years of her life to reach this destination? Was this a good time to do so? The answer was no. After considering her broader life and variables like family relocation, she realized it was not favourable for her to journey toward a partnership. She made the pivotal family decision to move across the country and continue pursuing the question of her next career stop. Amidst the uncertainty, one thing remained clear in Stephanie’s mind: her desire for independence.
Throughout her career, Stephanie has been able to keep consulting, critical thinking, and curiosity at the nexus of her work, and Vitalise Ventures has played a role in that. Stephanie was initially confident she wanted to do one-on-one consulting, and the lack of capital and high stakes of hiring employees supported this vision. This approach afforded her greater autonomy in determining project scope, client selection, and project timelines, enabling her to focus solely on ventures aligned with her core competencies while carefully screening potential clients.
With time, however, Stephanie discovered that without the extra help to conduct a plethora of tasks associated with delivering a complete strategy engagement, she was limiting herself to smaller projects. She wanted to take on more significant work without involving more people, but no existing model would fit both needs. So she created her own.
A Revolutionary Consulting Model
Models such as search funds and Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) have a compelling apprenticeship component built into them, where entrepreneurs can receive training before acquiring and managing businesses. Support and openness are the crux of these spaces. Taking this into consideration, Stephanie wondered:
“Why doesn’t consulting work that way? Why couldn’t it work that way?”
She spotted an inefficiency in the work arrangement in which top consulting firms like McKinsey operate. External consultants are brought into a client organization and spend a signifi-
“Iwasquitedeterminedtotrytopavemyown way,notjustfiguringoutwhereonacorporate ladderIcouldfitandhowclosetothetopIcould getusingtheMcKinseyspringboard,butinstead wantingtogoandchartmyownpath.”
cant amount of time not only interacting with, engaging with, and interviewing client members to source the necessary data for insights, but they also go above and beyond to learn about the client company and its priorities, taking the effort to clear necessary security measures for accessing secure information or meeting certain people. A lot of time and energy is spent acquiring information before it is used.
With Vitalise Ventures, Stephanie proposes an alternate apprenticeship and collaboration approach. Her strategy, communication, and critical thinking would function in partnership with the client company’s consulting engagement, allowing the client company more control over their execution and generating grand results with a quarter of McKinsey’s rates. The client could also choose younger generations within their organization to receive hands-on training in top firm tactics from ex-McKinsey leaders like Stephanie.
democratized access to a substantial amount of information and can offer insights, summaries and analyses at the click of a button. Tools such as Microsoft Copilot and the ever-evolving ChatGPT are giving unprecedented potential to productivity. On the other hand, however, Stephanie notes that artificial intelligence’s bustling creations come to a halt when data needs to be distilled into a compelling story backed by a clear strategy and insight. The speed of decision-making, actionability of narratives, and overall judgment still lie in the hands of the business. “There’s a variety of folks that I’ve gotten to work with, coach and mentor over the past few years at data science companies, health care companies, retail, oil and gas, finance, etc. And all of them need to curate down their stories better.”
“We’ve now apprenticed, up-skilled, and trained that part of your core workforce to continue moving through their work and communicating at this top level. We’ve delivered on a core strategy or operations excellence engagement. And arguably, we’re going to have better execution on the outcomes and the recommendations that the consulting engagement came out with because those key owners and change agents are in your organization.”
What’s not to like? Stephanie’s model teaches the client organization to fish rather than catch the fish for them and leave them well-equipped in the long term. Through Vitalise Venures, she skillfully chiselled away at the problems of the conventional consulting model to create a dynamic masterpiece.
Carving a Space Around AI
A pertinent topic on Stephanie’s radar has been the emergence of publicly accessible artificial intelligence in recent months. She has observed that, on the one hand, chat AI has
AI is equalizing access, not execution, and more businesses and individuals need to learn how to use it for higher-level goals. To bridge this knowledge gap, Stephanie founded her second business, Kurated.ai. The educational technology company teaches professionals how to use communication tools such as PowerPoint, email, and reports to bring their audience onto a learning journey and effectively convey their narrative.
Ultimately, Stephanie cleared a path for her business by identifying a problem and forming a solution to leave its users more prepared for today’s fast-paced world.
Stephanie Knight is an ingenious opportunist who has touched the ceiling of impact as an Adjunct Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Founder of Vitalise Ventures and Kurated.ai, and former Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Co. Both her businesses solve unrealized problems while ensuring great benefits for their clients. Vitalise Ventures empowers individuals, companies, and the next generation with expert training with her consulting; and Kurated. ai educates the growing AI user population about storytelling with AI-generated data. Stephanie’s brilliant mind and speedy execution are superpowers in the clutter of an increasingly result-oriented and data-driven world.
Intelligent Fusion. Image created by David Lovejoy using Midjourney, 2023.
In life, the personal and professional spheres can often mirror the principle of ‘yin and yang,’ ideally intermingling to create a harmonious whole. This concept is a guiding force in the life of Warren Chan, Director of Anacapa Partners. By integrating passion, ambition for impact, legacy planning, familial support, and self-care into his professional narrative, he has crafted a comprehensive life tapestry where personal and professional threads coexist in balance. This harmonious fusion not only influences his investment decisions but also magnifies his impact on others’ lives. By nurturing this internal equilibrium, Warren assumes a more profound role, demonstrating that a balanced life is not only beneficial but also transformative.
Warren Chan Director/Anacapa Partners
“I think, in terms of what we choose to do as our vocation, it’s really important to do what we enjoy. And I love what I am. I love what I do. So as a result of that, it doesn’t really feel like work.”
Stephanie Knight CEO, Kurated.ai Managing Director, Vitalise Ventures Adjunct Professor, Duke University
Anacapa Partners is a private equity fund with the strategic focus of providing capital and visibility to search fund entrepreneurs and assisting them through all steps of their leadership journey. This particular investment vehicle resonated with Warren because mentorship, learning, and mutual gain are at its heart.
Warren credits his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his friendships, relationships, technical skills and, most importantly, his love for learning and tinkering. MIT instilled in him the drive to break things apart, understand their structure, and experiment with new ways to improve himself and his work. He looks for this same curiosity in his searchers and aims to fuel their journeys with passionate learning. On the other hand, Columbia Business School trained him in the harder skills of evaluating businesses and business models. Warren sees investing in search funds as an impactful force that can improve individuals and companies, setting a ripple effect of positive influence in motion.
Gratitude and Curiosity
The driving force behind Warren’s and his family’s work is their Christian faith and gratitude. His purpose is to give back and keep the valves of opportunity open to allow the flow of affirmative impact.
As the scope of corporations expands globally, the tradition of transferring trade secrets and best practices within family businesses is dwindling. In this changing landscape, the support networks and mentorship resources crucial for small and medium-sized family enterprises are growing increasingly sparse. Profit motives overshadow artisanal skills, and the core values of businesses risk being eroded. Despite these challenges, Warren remains steadfast in his commitment to the intergenerational apprenticeship model within the search fund sector, bolstered by the mentorship he has personally received from his own family.
“I view my relationship with many of my family members in a similar vein as I view my relationship with other forms of mentors. So it’s just an extended roster of mentors that I have at my disposal. And I think many of them bring a very long-term oriented mindset, just given multigenerational involvement with family business.”
Working for the betterment of others lays out a foundation of fulfillment in your personal life, knowing you’ve responsibly passed on the support you’ve received. Accordingly, being an impactful part of the process, working in a team, and contributing to an end goal are all reasons why Warren enjoys investing.
Warren and his family approach their work by being intensely curious and sharing their learning path with other people to improve their journeys. He believes in being a helpful mentor to the searchers he funds and acknowledges that he has his own cohort of personal and professional mentors in his life.
Mentoring and Intergenerational Businesses
Several of Warren’s relatives run companies implementing similar management and operating structures as Warren’s successful searcher CEOs, giving him access to parallel lines of thought and execution. Warren’s family is large and runs different types of businesses, but he has noticed that the underlying legacy in their business practices is ultimately helping those around them.
Search funds can bring the family back into business with an attractive model of time investment, training, and mentorship. Participants in the process may not be true family members, but they can provide similar levels of attention and advice. And what could be a more salient practice than equipping leaders of the future with tried and tested business mindsets?
Big investments return high gains. Warren believes there’s a correlation between a high-quality search process and a highquality CEO. A searcher CEO who takes over a small business can save it from shutting down and continue its legacy. Not only that, Warren agrees that the mentor-mentee collaboration can be a powerful one, “pairing young, smart, ambitious,
“In terms of why we do things, I think we would sum it up as—we do it to serve God. It’s a form of showing our gratitude for everything we’ve been given. So we want to share that gratitude with
hungry entrepreneurs” with “older, more experienced, wealthy individuals.”
“This model of mentor-mentee type relationship is a really powerful combination for many small businesses who really don’t have the pre-existing governance structures or advisors that we bring to the next stage of growth with searcher CEOs at the helm. And so that’s why you see the returns that we’ve generated.”
Equally important to the success of a business is the journey of the searcher. Investors play a pivotal role in shaping these paths, masterfully balancing faith with strategic calculation. Yet, this leads us to ponder: What about the mentorship role of leaders like Warren?
Self-Care in Leadership
In addition to investing in search funds, Warren also invests in himself. As a key figure at the center of a project, losing your own gravity makes it difficult for others to orbit around you and believe in your management.
“All of these commonsense things like living a good life and caring for employees might not have shorter-term benefits that you can see, but over the long run, I think they build a healthier business.”
As part of this strategy, Warren acknowledges the boundaries searchers need to establish for themselves. Despite the lure of potential opportunities in international markets, many entrepreneurs choose to remain within the US. This decision, he explains, allows them to leverage the strength of the American economy while maintaining realistic funding capabilities and timeframes for their search processes. Cultural considerations also come into play. However, as an industry-agnostic investor, Warren empowers his searchers to determine the kind of business they wish to acquire and lead. With this approach, he hopes to eventually harness the full benefits of a global network.
Stability, rooted in balance, lays the groundwork for meaningful innovation and dynamic growth. As Director of Anacapa Partners, Warren Chan demonstrates how work and personal relationships can harmoniously coexist, much like the yin and yang principle. His approach is characterized by gratitude and curiosity, ensuring that he takes care of his own needs while endeavoring to make a lasting, positive impact.
Believing strongly in the search fund model’s potential to foster more selfless businesses, Warren puts this theory into practice daily. By investing time and energy into the things he loves, he not only enriches his own life but also enhances the value and performance of his financial investments. In this way, he exemplifies the power of balance, showing how personal fulfillment can dovetail with professional success.
In a drive to achieve, it’s easy for leaders to become lost in numbers and lose sight of the holistic aspects of success. Warren emphasizes the importance of mental well-being and equilibrium, seeing them as integral elements of leadership. Over the years, he has refined his investment approach, shifting to a more concentrated fund that allows him to fully support a smaller cohort of searchers, fostering both their business ambitions and their self-care practices.
Imperfect Balance. Image created by David Lovejoy using Midjourney, 2023.
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