Spring 2019 Update
Looking For Love
While nothing ever goes to plan, this spring has been a fruitful time for adventur.es.
We completed our third deal of the fund and our third deal in 14 months, launched the Scout Network, brought on a new team member, saw the Orbit grow to over 550 members, and hosted events in Chicago, Columbia, SC, Orlando, and Columbia, MO.
Let’s talk about love. No, seriously.
We’re now partners in the top matchmaking firm in the world. If that sounds odd, I get it. The first time I heard about Selective Search, my mind immediately went to the movie Hitch and reality TV. In fact, we almost didn't pursue the opportunity because of my biases, which turned out to be completely misinformed.
About 20 years ago, Barbie Adler was an executive recruiter, helping big companies find c-suite executives. As the daughter of a psychologist, she realized that the same processes could be redirected to help her friends find love. Selective Search was born and my goodness how far it has come. Mitch Berk, who had previously built two companies successfully, partnered with Barbie and together they built the firm to scale.
Today, Selective Search is a leading North American executive recruiting firm, complete with the research capabilities, a proprietary 250,000 person database, repeatable strategies, and professional team you’d expect. The only difference is that instead of helping companies find executives, they help entrepreneurs, executives, financiers, scientists, and retirees find long-term, committed romantic relationships. And, they do it consistently, with an astounding 87% success rate.
The more we got to know Barbie, Mitch, and the team, the more our skepticism waned and our enthusiasm grew. What we found was a fantastic team serving an enormous market in a highly valuable way. A long-term, committed relationship is strongly linked to both quantity and quality of life. In fact, many medical professionals consider it the single biggest factor in health, happiness, and longevity.
While matchmaking has been around for millennia, it has all the markers of an immature industry, including the stigma. It’s highly fragmented, rife with bad actors, comically misunderstood, and has historically operated in a one-off manner. The same could be said of any industry prior to professionalization.
Selective Search isn’t a dating service and the entire process is offline. In fact, it rejects potential customers who are more interested in exploring than committing. Their clients are busy, educated professionals who have an aversion to dating apps, online services, or matchmaking events, and value convenience, confidentiality, and a highly customized search. Selective Search’s processes are so thorough that the first introduction ends up being “the one” about 34% of the time.
We couldn’t be more excited about working with Mitch, Barbie, and the team at Selective Search to help more people find love.
Adventur.es was built on friends referring friends who become our friends and refer their friends. That’s how our best deals and most of our colleagues came to be. Some people (you know who you are) are so generous with their introductions that they blur the lines with adventur.es. If you hear them talk, you’d expect they had worked with us for years.
And while we always say thank you, send a note of gratitude, and usually a nice little gift, it got us thinking… What if we brought down the wall of full-time employment, allowing anyone to contribute and share in the fruits of their work? Everyone knows great companies and we’d like to know them too.
Here’s how it works:
Refer a deal to adventur.es
If we close the deal, you get $100,000 + $25,000 Adventure of a Lifetime Vacation
The response has been unexpected and highly encouraging. Within 48 hours of a single Twitter and LinkedIn post about beta testing, 149 people reached out to participate. And within a week, we were already seeing opportunities we wouldn’t have found any other way. The internet is amazing.
In fact, the beta test went so well that we’re moving Don Broekelmann, who had previously been a portfolio manager for adventur.es, into a full-time role of working with Scouts. Through Don, Scouts will have access to deal coaching, invites to events, and a point of contact to track their pipeline. Plus, he’s cooking up some pretty fashionable gear to share with top performers. Gotta have the swag.
With this letter, the Scout Network exits beta testing and is available to sign up.
We hope you join us in finding great businesses. Help your friends become our friends. Sharpen your skills. Get coached on deals. Supplement your income. And, potentially, relaunch your career.
The Big Need — Great People
As I wrote in the annual letter, adventur.es is like a six-sided teeter totter. Opportunities, relationships, due diligence/documentation, portfolio management, capital, and talent must all be leveled up simultaneously. If any side lags, the whole organization is bottlenecked. If any side sprints too far ahead, there’s tremendous waste. And when things are in balance, it’s astounding what can be accomplished.
Opportunities have never been more abundant and we’re in the process of removing capital constraints. So the future of adventur.es comes down to people who will join us in evaluating opportunities, developing relationships, diligencing/documenting deals, assisting the companies post-close, and operating the portfolio companies.
Frankly, we’re talent constrained and we’d like your help. Before I get into specific career opportunities and roles, I’d like to talk about the attributes we seek in every team member, regardless of position.
Beyond the obvious markers of intelligence, work ethic, and integrity, we want those with a relentless focus on continual improvement, an introspective humility, and a desire to succeed together. We want those who put the team’s goals above their personal ones, trust each other to do the right thing over the easy thing, call each other out on our BS, and disagree well. We want introverts and extroverts and ambiverts. We want different geographies, ideologies, personality traits, and work styles. We couldn’t care less about your skin color, religion, native language, nationality, political persuasion, sex, or sexual preference.
In all our roles, we present an opportunity to do meaningful work, solidifying the legacies of owners who have devoted their lives to their companies and supporting the long-term careers of thousands of great people doing good work around the country. It’s an opportunity, through trial and error, to innovate around the most difficult of problems, work hard, and be challenged with a group of people excited about your personal success.
With all that as background, here are the talents we’re actively seeking:
CEO/COO/CFO: We recently went under letter of intent with a company that would benefit from additional executive leadership. The business is a Los Angeles-based distributor and reseller in a niche industrial space and we’re on the lookout now for executive level talent that can lead a team, has experience with modern data and analytics platforms, and can integrate new technology. We’d expect the person to participate in due diligence and assume a leadership role at closing, if not before.
Portfolio Partner: As we add to the portfolio, we’re starting to look for another experienced executive to work with our family of companies. Think of this position as a board of directors in a box. This person would work on a week-to-week basis with between 3 to 5 portfolio companies, helping them mitigate risk, solve problems, and grow profitably. An ideal candidate would have foundational experience across all major disciplines of business, from marketing and sales, to operations and finance.
Marketing Director: One of our specialties is helping our portfolio companies modernize their branding, marketing programs, and sales systems. We’re looking for someone who has experience across lead generation, marketing analytics, branding, and strategy. This person would work on a day-to-day basis with the executive leadership of our companies across the US, but would be based in Columbia, MO.
If you, or anyone you know, understands what we’re trying to accomplish, would fit with our culture, and has the skill sets we’re looking for, please send them our way immediately. Email, call, tweet, LinkedIn message, whatever. We’re easy to get a hold of.
Finance on the Frontier
Towards the end of May, about 250 GPs and LPs from 13 countries, five continents, and dozens of asset classes journeyed to Columbia, MO. Apart from travel delays and an actual tornado, the inaugural Capital Camp brought together those pushing the frontiers of investing to challenge their best ideas and create new friendships. It was appropriately nerdy, casual, and calorie-intense. Staying true to midwestern celebratory style, we also blew up a bunch of fireworks.
If you’re a GP or LP and would be interested in attending next year’s event, you can register for the 2020 waiting list on CapitalCamp.com.