Booth and Kellogg Host World’s Premier Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) Conference

The 8th Annual Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) Conference returns to downtown Chicago this month as an in-person event, continuing its tradition as the premier gathering for search fund entrepreneurs, investors, and others interested in the rapidly growing path to business ownership.

The ETA Conference takes place April 25 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave. It is hosted by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the student-run ETA Groups at Chicago Booth, and the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“We’re so thrilled that the growing Booth and Kellogg ETA communities are able to gather in person once again for the industry’s flagship event,” said Brian O’Connor, adjunct associate professor of entrepreneurship at Booth and founder and managing partner at NextGen Growth Partners. “Every year, we welcome hundreds of investors, operators, searchers, students, and educators from all over the world to experience this unique opportunity to collaborate and network, and we have seen those connections develop into fruitful partnerships and advance the exciting ETA field.”

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ETA is an increasingly popular path to entrepreneurship for MBA students and promising business leaders. Rather than launch a new company, they raise a search fund that finances their efforts to find, buy, and operate an existing business. Most exit after 6 to 10 years, and investors in the search fund see an aggregate pre-tax return of 5.5x, according to the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The ETA Conference offers a full day of programming that includes speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities where search fund entrepreneurs, investors, MBA students, faculty, and other participants across the ETA ecosystem can connect and share insights. There is also a case competition that challenges aspiring ETA entrepreneurs to tackle a real-life dilemma faced by a search fund operator.

Among the talks scheduled are “Rise of CxO: The Growing Competition for Entrepreneurial Talent;” “The Investor Lens: Seeing Search From a Strategic Perspective;” and “The Power of One: Search Lessons from Self-Funded Operators.”

The plenary session features Mark Agnew, adjunct associate professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth, in conversation with 2013 Booth graduate Michael Curry, CEO of Apex Physics Partners, a radiation safety company that he acquired through a search fund.

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