MIT's hub for search funds and small business entrepreneurship

ETA@MIT is the hub for search fund activity, research, and resources across MIT. We bring together undergraduate and graduate MIT students with searchers, entrepreneurs and investors to forge meaningful connections and position each other for success.

3rd Annual ETA@MIT Summit Recap

MIT Sloan students are about to head off for spring break. Before we do so, this year’s organizing committee is excited to share a brief recap of this year’s ETA @ MIT Summit! (In case you missed it, the agenda is still posted here).

First, a huge thank you to The Provident Bank, our Platinum Sponsor, for the generous support in making this year’s summit our biggest yet. Thank you, as well, to our impressive cadre of sponsors: Relay Investments, Search Fund Accelerator, Brook Park Holdings,, MIT Innovation Initiative, and MIT. We were thrilled to be joined by David Schmittlein, Dean and Professor at MIT Sloan, and Jim Sharpe, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School.

Thanks also to our 110 attendees from around the world for showing up on a Saturday. We saw so many lively discussions between sessions, over lunch, and during the networking reception, and we can’t wait to do it again next year. We were especially excited to welcome back Esteban Kallay and Christopher Sykes, Sloan alumni who created the inaugural ETA @ MIT Summit three years ago! Since graduating, they have both embarked on their own search fund journeys - Esteban in Argentina, and Chris in LA.

In the spirit of “Sloanies helping Sloanies” (as well as sharing with the broader search fund community), here are our top takeaways from the summit:

  • You don’t need to find a “great company” - just a good one that you will enjoy running and think you can make a difference in.

  • There are many avenues to fund your search, whether you choose to go through an accelerator, raise money from traditional investors, or self-fund. There’s no right way, just a right way for you.

  • Search can get lonely, but it doesn't have to be. Don't overlook the importance of building your search network and support system.

  • Focus on finding a company you can ACTUALLY buy. Ask the difficult, clarifying question up front to help you gauge whether the owner is going to be willing to sell. Don’t lose this focus!

  • The most important question to ask an owner is often, “why are you selling now?”

  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time needed to find your company! 2 of 3 LOIs fall through, so don’t stop searching even when you have offers out.

  • Don’t get discouraged by broader valuation trends. There’s always a business out there ready to be bought!

  • Hiring and managing people is one of the biggest parts of the job. Make sure you’re excited about it.

Whether you’ve been a regular attendee or are just starting to explore entrepreneurship through acquisition, we hope to see you the same time next year!