Brown Robin Capital Executing a Search Fund Acquisition

By Robert B. Chess, Austin Kiessig
2013 | Case No. E472 | Length 23 pgs.
Brown Robin Capital details the experiences of Stanford GSB graduates Ryan Robinson and Lucas Braun in pursuing a search fund acquisition. The case explains the search fund model and provides historical asset class performance statistics. Then, the protagonists detail the decision to engage in a search fund, raising the initial search capital, performing due diligence on a series of prospective acquisition targets, abandoning several potential deals, and ultimately buying and running a data services business called OnRamp. The case weighs the personal and professional factors inherent in operating a search fund.

Learning Objective

This case was originally taught in S348: Creating and Managing Very Early Stage Ventures. The course is designed to help students visualize the process of forming a company or several other types of new ventures, and ultimately weigh whether those career paths are appealing to them or not. This case is intended to pose the following questions to students: -What are the advantages and disadvantages of the search fund model versus starting a business? -Assess the protagonists as a team for both the search and subsequently running a business. -Who should the protagonists seek as investors in their venture? -How effective was the protagonists’ search process? -Should the protagonists have kept OnRamp’s owner involved in the business?
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