This opportunity enables MBA students to explore how to use this unique private equity investment vehicle to acquire and grow businesses, leveraging them for social impact and sustainable business practices.

Search Funds are a financial vehicle, developed in the 1980s, where one or two individuals raise money from a group of advising investors to support their efforts to locate, acquire, and lead a privately held company over the long-term. The Sustainable and Impact Finance initiative at Berkeley Haas and Gratitude Railroad are supporting MBA students and impact investors to participate in an underrepresented financial vehicle by bringing it together with a mission aligned vision for a currently untapped opportunity for impact and financial investment.

The program launched in September 2020 with interested students enrolled in the introduction course in Search Funds, taught by professional faculty Jan Simon, and participating in a series of sessions with Gratitude Railroad and partner investors to explore developing an impact pitch proposal. Reflections and a summary of those sessions can be found here.

“We believe a search fund designed to align investors, searchers and businesses around solving critical issues is an exciting new use of the search model with the potential to continue generating strong economic value for all stakeholders. Berkeley Haas is an ideal partner on this initiative given their deep commitment to impact investing and the incredible talent of the students and professors.” Thomas Knowles, Managing Partner at Gratitude Railroad

 

“Being an entrepreneur’ for many a person equates to starting a business. This is however only one type of entrepreneur. Search funds are based on another form of entrepreneurship, namely the ability and desire to finesse, energize, scale, improve, and further shape what is already in existence. It indeed needs different skills to go from 0 to 10 than from 100 to 1,000.” Jan Simon, Search Fund instructor at Haas School of Business

For more information about this opportunity, contact SAIF Program Director Kat Baird at kbaird@berkeley.edu.