MBA Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Alex Lopez
Alex Lopez is a member of the MBA Advisory Board at UNLV and a former UNLV outstanding graduate and entrepreneur. In combination with another entrepreneur, he is launching a Las Vegas-based “Search Fund”, Ven Capital Partners, to acquire a company in the U.S.
Alex Lopez, a UNLV graduate, recently completed his MBA at Berkeley-Haas and launched a Las Vegas-based Search Fund with his partner and best friend, Hannah Greenberg. The two entrepreneurs expect to find a small/middle-market company in the U.S. to acquire and operate.
Alex and Hannah launched Ven Capital Partners (VCP), a local investment vehicle with the purpose of acquiring a single company in the U.S. Alex and Hannah are the Co-Founders and Managing Partners at VCP and will lead the acquired firm. Alex’s and Hannah’s search fund model is also known as entrepreneurship through acquisition and is designed to provide young talented professionals an opportunity to be the CEO of a company at an early stage of their careers.
The purpose of the search fund is to provide investors with the opportunity to participate in the staged financing of the search for and acquisition of an existing private company. Search funds have been in existence since 1984 and have been structured to mitigate many of the risks associated with purchasing a small business. To date, over 400 search funds have been raised, primarily by recent graduates of the world’s top business schools. Ven Capital Partners targets annual returns of 35% or more, consistent with the historic performance of similar search fund investments.
“Hannah and I believe there are a couple of problems taking place,” said Alex. “On one side, you have the largest shift of intergenerational wealth in businesses that is expected to occur over the next years. There are hundreds of Baby Boomers in the U.S. who have created incredible businesses but may not necessarily have a succession plan in place or do not know what they are going to do.”
“On the other side, Hannah and I are committed to challenging the status quo. The current number of minority professionals in search funds is overwhelmingly underrepresented. Women and Latinx entrepreneurs are slowly getting more opportunities in the space, but Hannah and I would love to pave the way for many more talented professionals.”
Hannah and Alex raised an undisclosed amount from investors, the largest of which is Pacific Lake Partners, the most experienced and prestigious search fund investor firm based in Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA. When Alex and Hannah find a company to acquire, their investor group will have the first right of refusal.
“Ven Capital will keep an open mind in terms of industry when it comes to an acquisition”, Alex said. “Hannah and I will focus on firms with greater than $1.5 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and revenues below $50 million. What is most important for us is targeting B2B businesses with clear and proven records of recurring revenue. That is at least three years of historical high repetitive businesses from existing customers.”
Alex and Hannah encourage any business owners to reach out if they are thinking of the next step in their careers. “We have an incredible group of investors and we aim to continue their business legacy by protecting its company and employees.”
Before co-founding Ven Capital Partners, Alex served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years. During that time, he was deployed to more than ten countries on three different continents, led a security force team in Libya in response to the September 11 attacks in Benghazi, and served as a black-belt martial arts instructor. He received multiple military awards for his actions, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Meritorious Honor Award from the Department of State. Alex began his professional career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Corporate and Commercial Gaming Group. He then joined U.S. Bank where he had the opportunity to oversee the Corporate and Commercial portfolio for Southern Nevada.