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.
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…
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...
Kindly Light is backed by 16 patient investors and seasoned entrepreneurs with considerable experience across a broad range of industries and functions.
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
A unique value proposition serving a diversified customer base
(Safety and Sustainability)
(Safety and Distribution)
(SaaS Solutions and Data-related services)
(Hospital Services, Pharma Solutions, or Vocational Training)
(Specialized Assembly, Value-add Manufacturing Precision Components)
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.
What are they trying to do?
Value Creation Strategy
How are they going to do it?
Source of Capital
How are they going to pay for it?
How long will they be at it?
What is it going to cost me on the back-end?
How will I fit in after I sell?
What about my team?
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).
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.
Maximizing net returns over a short timeline by building a portfolio of winners and losers
Implement “lean operations” (eliminating people) and financial engineering (high levels of debt and risk)
Investors with stated goals to maximize returns within a short-term 5-7 year window.
(typically 5 - 7 Years)
Given the short-term timeline & expectations of high returns, they require very aggressive negotiations on company value & will almost always include major contingencies to get to the full sale price
Generally requires the current CEO to continue lead the company for 2-3 years to “earn out” the sale price after the acquisition
Regarded as resources that either help or hurt the bottom line, and are therefore quickly replaced
“Achieve synergies” by rolling company’s core capabilities into its service suite & cutting operating costs (eliminating people)
Rapid implementation of service consolidation and cost cutting initiatives
Corporate debt or cash reserves
(based on the current strategy of the company)
Given the ability to quickly cut costs (by eliminating people), pricing may be higher but terms and process could be very bureaucratic, complex, and include contingencies to protect the parent company
Generally replaces the current leadership team with their own teams or expect the current CEO to stay and report in under his/her new boss
Redundant departments and non-crucial leadership roles are often eliminated during the integration process.
We are looking for a single company to which we can add tangible value through sustainable and responsible growth.
We will take a structured approach to build up your company’s team and infrastructure to support new growth.
Our investment partners are patient investors and seasoned entrepreneurs that value building up companies and people.
(for the rest of our professional careers)
Our goal is to achieve deal terms that are both fair and flexible based on your needs and market the situation.
We would ideally prefer that you remain on-board for a time to help through a clean transition. That said, we will remain flexible based on your own expectations and life goals.
We view your employees as critical to our mission and will do all we can to help them succeed as we succeed.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kindly Light and what is a Search Fund?
Why wouldn’t I sell to Private Equity or a Strategic Acquirer if they’re offering more money?
What are Mark and Ben’s plans after the acquisition?
What will the current Owner/CEO role be after the acquisition?
When or why should a business owner consider an exit or 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.