Searching for a single company to buy and build

About Us

We are two friends who met nearly a decade ago while fixing up a waste-water treatment company. Over the course of several years and multiple other projects, we realized that our complimenting skillsets, with Ben in business development and Mark in operations, make us a great team to help companies grow revenues and improve profitability. More importantly, we realized that we can do this effectively with integrity and by valuing the people who help us along the way. This realization led us to our mission to buy an existing company and build it up to its next phase.

Mark Wang

I have over 15 years of experience building up companies to better operate and adapt to changing business climates. I plan to apply my skillset towards building scalable platform operations & financial controls as Ben drives revenue & volume growth.

 

My life tracks well to the immigrant American mindset of striving for something better…
 

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Benedikt Westrick

I have over 20 years of experience in accelerating top-line growth of small/mid-sized companies in the US and Europe. I plan to leverage my experience in Sales and Business Development to accelerate growth as Mark builds out a scalable business.

 

I grew up in Italy as the third of a ten-children family. While completing my degree in...

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Our Partners

Kindly Light is backed by 16 patient investors and seasoned entrepreneurs with considerable experience across a broad range of industries and functions.

Archipelago Ventures

Aspect Investors

Cambria Group

George Jankovic
Jamie Turner
Kirk Riedinger

Liberty Search Ventures

M O

Marion Equity Partners
Maven Equity Partners

Miramar Search Capital

Oakridge Capital

 

What We're Searching For

Over the last 20+ years we have gained experience across multiple sectors including but not limited to B2B services, technology, healthcare, specialty manufacturing, and food production. One key lesson we have learned is that great companies can be found in almost any industry sector.

$10M to $75M of revenue

5% to 30% of EBITDA

(cash flow)

A unique value proposition serving a diversified customer base

Company Criteria

Environmental

(Safety and Sustainability)

Food

(Safety and Distribution)

Tech

(SaaS Solutions and Data-related services)

Healthcare

(Hospital Services, Pharma Solutions, or Vocational Training)

Manufacturing

(Specialized Assembly, Value-add Manufacturing Precision Components) 

Target Industries

 

If your company generally matches our criteria and operates within one of the listed industries, please send us a note (BenandMark@KindlyLight.io), we will be happy to talk with you.

 

Why Work with Us

Kindly Light is a Search Fund - not a private equity fund and not a strategic acquirer. We are two seasoned operators that want to build up a company according to values of integrity and honest hard work. Coming out of the private equity world, we have come to understand the flaws in a model that prioritizes the bottom line above all else, and we prefer a better way to run a business.

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Pros

You would be handing off your company to two entrepreneurs on a mission to build a single company responsibly to all stakeholders (your team, vendors, customers, + investors)

The sale price may potentially be lower than private equity or a strategic acquirer (but we won’t make your life miserable with a bureaucratic sales process, contingencies, and potential clawbacks).

Private Equity

Strategic Acquirer

Potentially a slightly higher sale price

Very difficult terms and will almost always come with major contingencies and potential clawbacks

Potentially a higher sale price

The company you built could be ripped apart for its core assets to support the new parent company.

Cons

The Sale Process

Selling your company is often viewed as a long and daunting process. But, since we detest bureaucracy and we deeply respect your time (and ours), from a first introduction call to the possible closing of the sale, we have structured our process to be straightforward and transparent. Based on the complexity of the company and the number of shareholders involved, the discussion and decision process could take as little as 6 - 12 weeks to complete. 

Introduction

Understand your company and explore our shared goals and expectations 

  • Initial 30-minute call for mutual introductions

  • Sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) to ensure that everything we discuss regarding your company is confidential.

  • Discuss your thoughts preliminary terms & expectations of your role after a sale.

  • Discuss if and how your company fits into our search criteria.

Learn

Learn about your company, its services, and how it fits into the broader market

  • Sign an Indication- of-Interest (IOI) as a non-binding purchase/ sale agreement.

  • Learn about your company’s services / products, customer base, market position, and some recent wins and losses.

  • Consider your ideas on long-term growth opportunities and how we would add tangible value to the company.

Diligence

Conduct due diligence on your company’s structure, operations, and financials.

  • Sign an Letter-of-Intent (LOI) as a formal non-binding offer to buy your company with a purchase price range.

  • Deep dive of your company’s operations, financial performance, team structure

  • Discuss the broad terms of sale.

Close

Finalize the terms of sale and sign the purchase and sale agreement

  • Complete final due diligence steps related to legal and accounting.

  • Review the final terms of sale and reach agreements on all points.

  • Sign the final Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Should you have further questions about the sales process of your company, do not hesitate to send us a note (BenAndMark@KindlyLight.io), we will be happy to talk with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kindly Light and what is a Search Fund?


Kindly Light is a search fund founded and run by us, Mark Wang and Ben Westrick. A search fund is an investment vehicle through which an entrepreneur raises capital from investors with the goal of acquiring a company in which they wish to take an active role in its day-to-day management.




Why wouldn’t I sell to Private Equity or a Strategic Acquirer if they’re offering more money?


When compared to private equity or search fund offers, strategic acquirers may sometimes be in a position to offer higher valuation for your company due to the obvious synergies between your company and the existing competitors (Redundant functions such as HR, Finance, Logistics, Warehouse, etc.). That said, given the constraints posed by the acquiring company, deal terms and timeframe for a closing are often more complex (a lot of contingencies) and lengthy. Private equity funds have a reputation for aggressive negotiations when it comes to company valuations. Also, due to their typically shorter investment cycle (5-7 years) and the pressure to return capital to their limited partners, private equity are not considered patient investors and as such have often been accused of focusing their efforts on short-term financial performance rather than the long-term health and prosperity of the company and all of its stakeholders (i.e. shareholders as well as employees, suppliers, customers, etc.) Search funds are a path to entrepreneurship in which former entrepreneurs and like-minded investors commit capital to an operator in order for him/her to acquire a business and grow it for the long-term. Since entrepreneurs are in for the long haul, search funds are more amenable to flexible terms tailored to the sellers’ unique situation as well as respectful approach towards the company’s legacy and what the founder’s have built over the years. In addition the transaction tends to be simpler, with a higher degree of flexibility and better overall alignment between the seller and the buyer of value and mission. Given the above, selling your company to a search fund is in many circumstances the ideal solution for generational changes in family run businesses as well as companies operating in small niche markets.




What are Mark and Ben’s plans after the acquisition?


One of our priorities is to find a company where we feel confident we can make a real difference in the long-term. Our plan is to build upon the legacy and unique business built by the original founders and managers, and leverage our 30+ years of combined experience in sales, business development and operations to grow the business to the next level. We plan taking on an active leadership role in the day-by-day management of the company, based on the needs of the existing organization, management team, and in light of the opportunities and challenges faced by the company in the marketplace.




What will the current Owner/CEO role be after the acquisition?


While every owner decides to sell his or her company for different reasons, regardless of the above, it is our hope (but not a prerequisite) for the seller to continue working at the company for as long as necessary to ensure a successful transition. That said, since every sale is different, should different needs arise, we are keen to find the best possible arrangement for all parties involved.




When or why should a business owner consider an exit or succession planning?


Over the past 10 years, having spoken probably to several hundred business owners, these are the most common circumstances in which owners Succession Planning:
When it comes to family owned business, very frequently your children have different plans for their own future and professional careers. In such circumstances, business owners might not have an heir interested in carrying on their family legacy. The general wisdom is to start to think about an exit sooner rather than later. This increases a seller’s chances to sell at the best time (i.e. when the company is growing and the market is strong), rather than delaying a sale and being rushed into it because of hard circumstances or age. Retirement:
For most businesses, owners have worked really hard their lives to build their company. As such their desire to simply retire is understandable and, as for succession planning, should be planned well ahead of the expected retirement age. Too Big:
A common cause for selling your company comes when a company has outgrown an owner’s ability to continue its growth. While it isn’t always easy for the founder to admit, many entrepreneurs (especially in technology heavy sectors) started their journey as inventors or scientists, as such they have a natural talent when it comes to starting a company from nothing based on a genius invention or new approach to an old problem. That said, they often lack the necessary training or or desire to manage a large organization. If that is the case, the sooner business owners recognize that the better they can plan their exit. Questions a business owner should ask to her/himself are: Has the company’s growth slowed in recent years when compared to the past? Do I enjoy my work less now than years back when I didn’t have to deal with so much administrative, HR and similar issues? New Plans and Aspirations:
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners are by nature ambitious overachievers. As such, once they have reached their goals they start itching for a new or different challenge and life experience. This can be a new venture, spending more time with family or volunteering at a cause close to their hearts. When it comes to selling your company, learning about the available options available, the related sales process and having a fair and realistic view of your company’s worth will ensure a successful sale, a smooth transition of the company into the new chapter in its life and the continuation of the company’s legacy and its owners’ lifetime work.





 
 

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Origins of Our Name

Kindly Light originated its name from an early twentieth century pilot cutter – one of the fastest and most successful pilot cutters to have ever worked the Bristol Chanel.

Originally built in 1911, KINDLY LIGHT was a pilot cutter sailboat that worked the Bristol Channel in the United Kingdom - one of the most dangerous shipping lanes in the world. A Bristol Channel pilot cutter was a specialized working sailboat whose purpose was to quickly ferry local maritime pilots to and from large incoming ships to assist in safe navigation when approaching or departing from port cities along the coastline.

The pilot cutter design has been described as the best sailing boat design ever, for being high-speed, highly maneuverable, and sailable by just two crew. And in 1911, it reached its final evolution with the build of KINDLY LIGHT. KINDLY LIGHT’s fine high bow, lean entry, and well hollowed lines below the water line made her the fastest and most successful pilot cutter over the hundred others working the Bristol Channel. 

 

KINDLY LIGHT proved her worth despite costing about 40% more than her contemporaries. She made her two pilots as much money as all the other pilots in the Bristol Channel consortium combined by reaching the highest paying inbound ships fastest.

In 1922, KINDLY LIGHT was sold and repurposed several times as a high-speed yacht until 1993, when she was sold to a private owner. A meticulous and authentic restoration brought her back to her original design, and more than 100 years later, KINDLY LIGHT still proudly sails the oceans.

Mark & Benedikt draw inspiration from KINDLY LIGHT. To our future business seller and all of your employees– we commit to respect what you have built and put in our own hard work, passion, and dedication to pilot your legacy to next phase of success. To our investors - we commit to use your resources in a socially responsible and ethical manner, and maximize the long-term value of capital.

REFERENCE: National Historic Ships UKBBC Boats that built Britain, Wikipedia: Bristol Channel pilot cutter

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