Forás Capital launches as Ireland's first search fund
Updated: Apr 3
Forás Capital pioneers the search fund model in Ireland, offering succession planning solutions for business owners, and boosting the island's entrepreneurial ecosystem
Dublin, Ireland – Forás Capital is excited to announce its launch as Ireland’s first search fund. Founded by Sam Batran, and backed by a group of prominent Irish, British and international investors, Forás Capital aims to find, acquire and grow a single high-potential company on the island of Ireland. Post-acquisition, Sam Batran will assume a full-time role as CEO, and his backers will be actively involved on the board. Forás Capital has the capacity to acquire a company valued up to €50M, providing a succession planning solution for medium-sized business owners, with a focus on preserving legacies and driving long-term growth.
A 'search fund' is an investment vehicle through which an entrepreneur raises funds from investors to acquire one company. Post-acquisition, the entrepreneur takes an active, day-to-day management role. This model has a long history of successfully being used to acquire businesses since the mid-1980s. A 2022 Stanford University Study shows that a total of $2.3 billion of equity was invested in backing search funds since 1986, and a record $776 million in 2021. IESE Business School published a paper in 2022, which tracked 113 search funds that were established in Europe.
Forás Capital differentiates itself from other buyers, such as private equity and trade buyers, by offering a succession planning solution for business owners. "We are excited to launch Forás Capital and bring this unique investment vehicle to Ireland," said Sam Batran, founder of Forás Capital. "Our objective is to be the successors of the current owners. We aim to preserve their legacy and grow the business in the long run. We want them to continue feeling proud of the business that they worked very hard to build.”
Selling a business can be a daunting task but exiting to Forás Capital can be an attractive option. First, it offers flexible deal terms, as it could provide the founders and shareholders with a simple and full exit option or offers a structure that allows them to remain on board. Second, Forás Capital comes into the acquired company with a full-time CEO and active board, enabling the current owners to move on and seek their next chapter in life. Third, Forás Capital has a human-centric approach, and its intention is to build on the middle management that is already there.
“I am excited to back Forás Capital bringing search funds, an innovative asset class structure, to Ireland,” said Frank Kenny, one of the investors in Forás Capital and a seasoned search fund investor who is also the founder of Delta Partners. There is a lot of potential for future search funds to be based on the island as SMEs play a significant role in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. There are an estimated 1.5 million people on the island that are employed by SMEs. Furthermore, the introduction of search funds will enhance the entrepreneurial eco-system on the island, providing alternative investment solutions for SMEs, attracting FDIs, and enhancing economic growth.
The roster of investors in Forás Capital also includes Sean Mitchell, who successfully exited Movidius to Intel, and Padraig Ó Céidigh, former independent senator and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland winner. Forás Capital is supported by institutional investors like London-based Ethos Partners, a private investment office specializing in SME succession sales across the UK and Europe. The diverse backgrounds and expertise of these investors further reinforce Forás Capital's capacity to acquire a high-quality business and drive its long-term growth.
For more information on Forás Capital, please visit their website at http://www.foras.capital
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