Mineola Search Partners
Investing in Search Funds, the entrepreneurs who run them, and the businesses that they acquire
At a macro level, to say that small businesses are important would be a dramatic understatement: Given that over 90% of all companies within North America have fewer than 100 employees, small businesses are the engine of the North American economy, and by extension, have a very real impact on each of our lives, every single day.
At a micro-level, as a former searcher and CEO myself, I know what the journey is actually like. Indeed, in my opinion, nobody knows what it’s like to be an entrepreneur or CEO unless you’ve been one. Personally, and professionally, we face both challenges and opportunities that few others can relate to. Though many understand the rewards of company leadership – like compensation, decision making authority, and independence – few understand the sometimes-arduous journey that’s required to get (and stay) there. As both a CEO and Entrepreneur myself, I have had many successes and (many more) failures, each of which has imparted upon me lessons that can’t be learned in any textbook or classroom.
When I raised my own search fund in 2012, I was blessed to have an incredible group of investors, and an even more incredible Board of Directors once I began running my company. Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen first-hand how thoughtful and helpful investors have improved both my professional and personal lives. Now that I am an investor myself, I couldn’t be more excited to play this role for the next generation of search fund entrepreneurs.
Latest From The Blog
Listen to This Blog Post Within your first-degree network alone, I suspect you know a large number of people who, at one time or another, have expressed a desire to pursue an entrepreneurial career path. Yet I also suspect that,Continue reading “Should You Become an Entrepreneur?”
Listen to This Blog Post Though effective leaders tend to possess a multitude of different skills and abilities, my experience as a CEO taught me that the most important skill for any leader to possess is that of clear andContinue reading “A Leader’s Most Important Skill”
Listen to This Blog Post Among the myriad variables that must be carefully considered when acquiring a business is the question of how the acquisition is going to be financed. My intent in the material that follows is not toContinue reading “Lessons Learned in Capitalizing an Acquisition”
Latest From The Podcast
My Guest My guest today is Carin-Isabel Knoop, Executive Director of the Harvard Business School Case Research & Writing Group. Carin has spent decades writing cases on managers and leaders all over the world across a wide array of functionsContinue reading “Employee Burnout and The Great Resignation”
In this week’s episode, we discuss the importance of having difficult conversations, something that CEOs find themselves doing on a near-daily basis. We discuss three primary types of difficult conversations, including: Hard conversations around internal company dynamics (eg: terminations); HardContinue reading “Having Hard Conversations (Live Panel Discussion from 2022 MIT Sloan Search Fund Summit)”
My Guest My guest today is Chris Hutchinson, a Partner in Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Services Group. Chris has over 15 years of experience advising clients on M&A, financings, valuation projects, and due diligence mandates, with a specific focusContinue reading “Quality of Earnings Analysis: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Business”
Steve Divitkos is the Founder of Mineola Search Partners, a firm that invests in Search Funds, the entrepreneurs who run them, and the companies that they acquire.
Prior to Mineola, Steve was the CEO of Microdea, a document management and workflow automation software company serving the transportation and logistics industry. Steve acquired the business from its original founders in 2014, and successfully sold the company to a strategic acquirer in 2020 after having served as its CEO for approximately seven years. During Steve’s tenure as CEO, Microdea’s equity value quadrupled, providing his investors with a 20% compounded annual return on their original investment. In his first 5 years as CEO, Steve doubled company revenue, achieving a ~15% compound annual growth rate, leading to Microdea being named as one of Canada’s fastest growing businesses for four consecutive years between 2014 – 2017. Since that point, he led the company’s transformation towards a subscription revenue model, growing revenue from recurring sources from ~40% of total revenue in 2014 to ~80% in 2020. He helped grow the company’s customer base to include 80% of Canada’s largest trucking companies, and one third of North America’s largest logistics companies. Under his leadership Microdea was ranked as one of Canada’s best places to work for 4 consecutive years between 2017 – 2020, when the company was named as the 46th best place to work in Canada for all companies with fewer than 100 employees. Upon his departure from the company in 2020, Steve had a 100% CEO approval rating on glassdoor.com.
Prior to his time at Microdea, Steve served as the Founder and Managing Principal of RedLeaf Management Partners, a private equity firm focused on acquiring small to medium sized private Canadian businesses. Prior to that, Steve worked in both Private Equity and Private Debt at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the $456B independent investment management organization charged with investing the assets of Canada’s national pension fund, supporting over 20 million working Canadians.
Steve received his MBA from Harvard Business School, and his BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he graduated with distinction. Steve lives with his wife Krista & daughter Mila in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.