On Friday, March 15, 2019, Yale SOM alum Jose Moreno purchased a food services business in Colombia, a growth leader in Latin American economies. The business employs 220 people and has a diversified portfolio of branded and private label products with $13 million in revenue. Moreno, a 2017 SOM graduate, established a search fund, a vehicle to identify, acquire and operate a single business for the long term in his native Colombia, immediately upon graduation.
His search fund, Pivot Capital Fund, sourced and evaluated over 250 deal opportunities before finding the right fit in the acquired food services firm. Moreno organized his search fund with an international group of prestigious investors. The transaction ultimately closed with $9 million of equity and an undisclosed amount of non-recourse debt as part of the acquisition finance package. “We see a company at an inflection point that will allow us to create long-term value for our customers, employees, and investors through multiple growth channels. We designed a deal and capital structure that should help us achieve our operational, growth and financial goals. Our strategy is to buy, build and hold,” declared Moreno.
While at Yale SOM, Moreno explored different ways to pursue an entrepreneurial career and ultimately landed on a search fund which struck the right balance of opportunity and risk. Moreno particularly valued the fact that in a search fund a freshly minted MBA is catapulted into a CEO role early in the career arc. This coupled with the mentorship and guidance of experienced investors and board members excited Moreno. In his final semester at Yale, Moreno was a teaching assistant in the Entrepreneurship through Acquisition course - a curriculum specifically designed to teach aspiring entrepreneurs how to purchase and operate a single business. “Yale SOM truly prepared me to jump into a CEO role post-MBA. The academic program, and specifically Entrepreneurship through Acquisition, gave me the confidence and skills to be a search fund entrepreneur and a CEO. Yale’s Program on Entrepreneurship is a super training ground to transition from student to CEO,” stated Moreno.
Moreno connected with his anchor investor, Will Thorndike, through Yale SOM. Thorndike was a guest speaker in the Entrepreneurship through Acquisition class, and was impressed by Moreno. “Jose is a talented, ambitious entrepreneur. I am delighted to be part of his project and look forward to watching him build an excellent business,” commented Thorndike, who is a frequent investor in search funds and the author of the best-selling book on capital allocation, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success.
Moreno noted that he is energized to lead and build a great business – and have a positive impact in Colombia. He encourages other current Yale MBA students to explore and consider the entrepreneurship through acquisition model.