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Alyssa Stratton and Ali Platon
Alyssa Strasser and Ali Platon

Startup Stories: Filling the Succession Gap for Small Business Owners

A conversation with Alyssa Strasser ’23 who, with her EMBA classmate Ali Platon ’23, has launched an investment search fund aimed at acquiring and operating a small or mid-sized business.

In this series, Karen Guzman talks to student and alumni entrepreneurs about how they are making an impact with their startups.

Founders: Ali Platon ’23, Alyssa Strasser ’23

Venture: Savannah Search Capital is a private investment fund created to acquire and operate a small or mid-sized business in the U.S. with the objective of providing a new market to small business owners looking to sell their businesses.

What was the moment when you had the idea for this startup?

The idea for our startup originated during our time at Yale SOM. Specifically, it crystallized in Professor Wasserstein’s class on small and medium business. As we explored various concepts, Ali and I realized our shared passion for business ownership, and we began to seriously consider launching a search fund together.

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the gap that you’re trying to fill?

At Savannah Search Capital, our primary goal is to address the succession gap faced by small business owners. Many entrepreneurs, especially in the small- and mid-sized business sector, struggle with finding suitable successors to take over their businesses. This creates a significant challenge for both the owners and the businesses themselves. Our aim is to bridge this gap by providing these entrepreneurs with attractive succession opportunities while driving long-term growth and preserving the legacies they’ve built.

What was the most important resource Yale SOM contributed to your startup?

The most important resource Yale SOM provided was the network and knowledge base we gained during our time in the EMBA program. The connections we forged with fellow alumni, professors, and industry professionals have been invaluable. And the coursework, particularly in areas such as asset management and small business entrepreneurship, equipped us with the skills and insights to navigate the complexities of launching a search fund.

What’s the biggest milestone your startup has hit since graduation?

Since graduating from Yale SOM, our biggest milestone has been securing the backing of a strong team of institutional and individual investors and partners. This support, which includes current and former CEOs, board members, and experienced SME investors, signifies a significant vote of confidence in our vision and positions us for success as we move forward.