Georgyi Vekhov '20 Acquires Moscow-Based UDP Auto Through a Search Fund
Georgyi Vekhov recently completed the acquisition of UDP Auto using his Moscow-based search fund, Milestone Capital. Vekhov, a Silver Scholar MBA while at Yale, is credited with launching the first-ever search fund in Russia. Originally from Moscow, Vekhov has worked and studied in the U.S. for several years and is excited to become the CEO of UDP Auto. Vekhov has assembled an international investor group that includes Jose Moreno (Yale SOM 2023), a Master of Advanced Management candidate. Moreno invests through AIJ Global Holdings, a prominent and prolific European-based search fund investment firm.
“No words can describe how excited I am about my acquisition,” Vekhov said. “I got hooked on search funds while at Yale and quickly set my sights on launching a fund and acquiring a small business in my native Russia. I have been searching for about two years and have been on a rollercoaster of identifying a compelling business, making an offer, and then having the deal fall apart. Of course, that is the normal process, but I am thrilled to have closed a deal, enabling me to shift into the CEO role and operating the business. UDP provides digital services to more than eight hundred automotive retailers throughout Russia. Specifically, our services include integrated web hosting and design services that reflect live inventory information for new and previously owned autos, e-commerce solutions for auto retainers, and post-sale services.”
Vekhov is ambitious and already has plans to grow UDP both organically and through programmatic acquisitions. He intends to scale the business by adding additional auto brands to the platform and more retail locations with partner brands. UDP is currently has as customers global auto manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Kaiyi, and Great Wall. Furthermore, Vekhov’s vision includes acquiring additional digital service providers for the automotive industry. His first acquisition is scheduled to close in the summer of 2023, and he anticipates adding one or two deals per year in the future.
Vekhov has assembled a top-tier group of investors who will be helpful in his project. “I have a wonderful group of investors, and my largest investor is AIJ Global,” he said. “AIJ and Moreno, particularly, have been awesome partners. They supported me through the search phase and advised me on diligence and the structuring, financing, and closing of UDP. Albert Gilfanov, one of AIJ’s partners, sits on the board at UDP, and I am lucky to have their ongoing counsel and partnership. It’s also terrific that Jose and I have this Yale connection that brings us together. We even had the same professors for many courses, so sometimes, when we speak, it sounds like we are parroting each other with our academic roots and training.”
“Georgyi is off to a great start,” AIJ’s Jose Moreno said. “He is a very bright guy and full of energy and enthusiasm for his project. It’s been a delight to work with him and watch his progress and success. Georgyi started off strongly and then had to manage some extremely challenging geopolitical issues involving Russia. It has not been easy for him at all. Despite this, Georgyi sourced and closed an excellent acquisition opportunity with highly attractive economic characteristics that we can truly get behind. UDP has contractual recurring revenue in a business-to-business context; there are high profit margins, high operating leverage, low maintenance and growth capital expenditures, and very low customer attrition. UDP has a lot of the economic checkmarks we like to see. This, coupled with Georgyi’s leadership, creates an exciting situation. I am looking forward to watching Georgyi grow and thrive.”
Yale was a high-impact opportunity for Vekhov. “I owe everything to Yale and my experience in New Haven,” he said. “Yale changed my life. I went into the MBA program expecting to graduate and move into finance or consulting, typical post-MBA jobs that nobody is really that enthusiastic about. At Yale, I discovered the search fund model and community and quickly jettisoned any thoughts about consulting or finance. I immediately knew this was my professional calling, and I wanted to run a business after graduation. I did not have that much operating experience. I did not have capital. I did not have a business idea that was disruptive or disintermediating. But through the search fund ecosystem, I attracted capital, purchased a business, have coaches and mentors, and am now a sitting CEO running an amazing business. This is a dream outcome. I discovered the search fund model in one of Professor A. J. Wasserstein’s classes, which completely changed my trajectory. A. J. was super helpful and opened my eyes to a new entrepreneurial world. He provided cases, notes, books, introductions, and ideas. He made it all fun, exciting, and actionable. I am also grateful to many other faculty members who helped me understand topics like management controls, competitive strategy, and workforce management. It’s like everything I learned at Yale has come to life. I am using my education and the knowledge I gained every day in practice at UDP. It’s an amazing feeling. Yale has an incredibly special place in my heart. I will always look back on my New Haven days with fond memories. I would not be where I am today without Yale.”