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PODCAST: Search Funds Go Global…


Co-Founding Managing Directors

Chicago Booth Adjunct Professor and NextGen Growth Partners Managing Director Brian O’Connor hosted Relay Investments’ Sandro Mina and Martin Steber on an episode of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast.


The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s mission is to “drive venture creation and technology commercialization within the University of Chicago and the surrounding community.”

Sandro and Martin covered a wide-range of topics, including the globalization of the search fund model, as well as what to look for in launching successful international searches. 

Boston-based Relay Investments, which Sandro and Martin founded in 2013,  was among the first institutional firms to exclusively invest in search funds with a global mandate. To date, the firm has investments in 19 countries on 5 continents. Keeping pace with the firm’s global presence, Sandro and Martin have grown Relay’s investment team with professionals from across the globe to better support their search fund entrepreneurs and take advantage of acquisition opportunities worldwide.


Show Notes

  • (00:35) How did you find your way into the world of search fund investing? Tell us what you’re up to at Relay?

  • (03:50) Tell us more about the international component?

  • (06:20) As a firm, do you have a specific mandate to allocate capital to different geographies or countries?

  • (08:50) At what stage in the entrepreneur’s path and decision-making do you initiate or establish a relationship with that would-be searcher?

  • (10:20) What types of things are you looking for in a prospective searcher or partner?

  • (14:50) How have you seen prospective searchers evolve over the years?

  • (17:50) What do would-be searchers come to expect from you and the broader Relay team? What might compel them to choose Relay?

  • (21:15) How do you structure and allocate your time to support all the searchers your firm backs?

  • (25:00) Are searchers too quick or too cautious in networking with business owners and operators?

  • (28:45) Are search fund investment returns sustainable? What’s the future of search fund investing?

  • (31:30) What advice would you give to a would-be searcher?

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