We are a partnership of business owners.
The following groups of people constitute the three primary flywheels of our machine:
The Executive-On-Deck becomes the CEO upon closing of a new portfolio company. Beforehand, they join us in our on-going search. These operating partners are unique. They are not middle managers. They run independent and decentralized businesses that strive toward their unique missions. They must allocate personnel time, including their own. They have full P&L responsibility and receive performance bonuses on return on capital. They often bring some cash to closing as well. Many have considered buying businesses alone but the amount of debt required scares them into partnering with us (not a bad excuse.) We have also successfully promoted key employees into leadership roles. They meet with each other monthly at the CEO Lunch or more or less often as they desire. Overall, it’s an exciting career path for the entrepreneur by acquisition minded individual.
Little Engine Ventures Fund 1 Limited Partners (LP)
Our limited partners are business owners, too. The Fund is an evergreen, private investment partnership committed to stewarding the best businesses available in our region. This asset class is difficult to reach and we take it seriously. They run the gamut of age and experience. Several are actively diverting cash flow our direction for allocation. Some are retired but want to retain the benefits of ownership. Others have enjoyed tech exits at a young age and want more stable, diversified, but still meaningful returns. We believe diversity with alignment is important. We also believe ownership ought to be filled with respect and trust.
Owner Emeritus (Seller)
When a business owner sells to us, we dub them an ‘Owner Emeritus.’ Since most sellers have their identity tightly wrapped around their company it’s important that we treat them with honor and respect post-closing. Although they want a smooth and dignified transition into a new phase of life, many want to work part time after selling. Others just want to hang around, attend meetings we host and generally be part of the next phase but without all the stress. Although they are welcome to walk away (we’ve never done an earn out), thus far, we have enjoyed an on-going relationship with the previous majority owner.