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Now accepting applications for 2022 cohorts!

What is the Acquisition Lab?​

Our service is designed to help you accelerate your search by pairing graduate-level instruction with “do-it-with-you” buy-side advisory service.

By joining, Acquisition Lab members will master the concepts needed to search for, identify, and ultimately acquire the right business for them.

To support your journey, we provide both online and live learning, exposure to real-world examples and scenarios, and access to a community of acquisition entrepreneurs and M&A professionals.  Our proven process is designed to help you run your search in an organized structure and evaluate deals quickly and effectively.

The initial education is designed to prepare members to:

  • Effectively run a search and evaluate opportunities.
  • Analyze financial statements and historical performance.
  • Create deal flow, forecasts & stress-tests, and business plans.

Following the initial education, members get 12 months access to the education, advisory services, private community as well as our professional network, and live search forum. We know buying a business in not a linear process so if members want to stay engaged in our community after their original 12 month membership, they can do so by paying a significantly reduced alumni rate. 

What's included?​

Blended Learning

The Acquisition Lab utilizes a blended learning approach, combining online modules, live virtual workshops and digital tools. While online, self-paced learning reinforces the foundational knowledge required to buy a business, live virtual workshops help build the steps necessary to get you ready to acquire the right business for you. 

Live, Instructor-Led Workshops

Instructor-led

During the orientation period, the cohort will meet virtually with an Acquisition Lab advisor to conduct workshops that are designed to move you further down the path of acquisition by preparing you as a buyer. These sessions also allow for an opportunity to address outstanding questions or concerns. 

These workshops are facilitated by our one of our 4 M&A technical advisors. We also highly encourage one-on-ones with our advisors to achieve key milestones.

Online, Self-Paced Modules

online

Our online modules provide foundational instruction and are based on our founder and lead instructor, Walker Deibel’s best-selling book, Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup GameThis text is used at multiple universities to teach Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

The online platform allows our members to learn at their own pace and revisit core lessons later, as their search evolves.

Digital Tools and Resources

Digital Tools

Our tools, from thought-provoking worksheets and interactive evaluation workbook to  financial analysis modeling tools, will accelerate your learning curve, effectively manage your daily metrics, take proper action to increase deal flow, and create professional forecasting and stress-testing materials as well as well-organized business plans.

Real-World Discussions

The Acquisition Lab curriculum, including both online and live, instructor-led offerings, is enhanced with real-life examples and scenario-based exercises that bring the process of buying a business to life.

Expert Instruction

The Acquisition Lab is anchored in expert instruction.

Our practical curriculum utilizes real-life examples to bring the training into context and prepare you for your search. More importantly, it’s delivered by entrepreneurs who have actually done this.

Our program is focused on the reality of deal making.  We discuss real-life examples and how to use practical tools to equip you with the knowledge and resources to navigate similar experiences.

Exclusive Interviews

Our learning platform provides access to over 20 hours of exclusive interviews with acquisition entrepreneurs, lenders, search fund CEOs, M&A Attorneys, and CPAs.

For example, the founder of Search Fund Accelerator describes how to run an effective search; Karen Davey explains how she acquired a whole franchisor, and the co-founder of Square unpacks creating an Innovation Stack inside your business.

These pre-recorded interviews provide key insights into the challenges faced, decisions made, and deals structured.

"Ask Me Anything" Sessions

Throughout their membership, members are given the opportunity to have meaningful group discussions with AE Professionals, including brokers, bankers, and other acquisition entrepreneurs.

These “Ask Me Anything” sessions provide opportunities to gain insight from the individuals involved in real acquisitions.

Our network provides insights to personal understanding, getting an effective buyer profile together, and arming you with SBA pre-qualification.

Community Support

The Lab has been designed intentionally to encourage the development of a personal support network of fellow acquisition entrepreneurs and M&A professionals.

Cohort-Based

Our education program is conducted with small cohorts of no more than 23 people. This allows for relationships to develop based on the unique skills and experience that may be able to complement your acquisition journey.

This is not only a best practice in education and forum-based communities, but also builds an effective community of searchers at the root. Intimate sessions also holds members accountable to actually show up to the live sessions—you’re not lost among the sea of video chat classrooms.

Online Community

The cohort experience is amplified by the private Slack group to give you access to new materials and a wider community of active searchers and network of suppliers. In between live sessions members have a place to go for communal assistance and experience sharing.

At the conclusion of the education, members continue to have access to the web platform/app, Slack group, the online curriculum, and the recordings of their live workshops. 

Search Forum

Acquiring a business takes 18 months on average. The Search Forum was designed specifically to lessen the isolation individual searchers feel when evaluating deals, and provides guidance for deal structure.

It gives members the ability to discuss the real-life deals they are considering in real time.

Acquisition Lab Members get 12 months access to the advisory office hours and our biweekly Search Forum calls. 

Testimonials

"When I signed up for the program, I had been looking for a business for about 12 months. Really, I was all over the place. Taking the course helped me to focus on what I really wanted. It broke down the necessary steps. Within four months I found the business for me and after another six weeks of due diligence it was mine. If I hadn't signed up for the course I'd probably still be doing the exact same thing... searching! Thank you."

- Ryan

"I can't believe how much time I'm getting for so little cost."

- Todd

“This is the best model, not just for identifying the business you’re looking for but also overlaying the filters on top of it and saying ‘Is this the right business for me or not?’. I think it’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Well Done.”

- John

"The Acquisition Lab has been an eye-opening, wonderful experience. Going through the systematic process of breaking down the acquisition model and how it works, you realize it's actually more doable than scary. This program has helped me understand this can actually be done using a process-oriented approach, then given me the clarity, tools, and a forum to succeed. I've already submitted my first LOI."

- Kojo

“The instruction during our time together is high value. You’ve really given us the tools and simplified it which is huge.”

- Mark

"I thought I was prepared to buy a business, but can see I had some blind spots. Walker Deibel is helping me get more clarity! Great content and 3rd party experts are helping me better present myself and define what I am looking for. I highly recommend this program if you are actively looking to acquire a business."

- Jake

"This has been one of the absolute best learning programs and experiences I have ever participated in. I know now that I can build my own strategy to a successful platform of business ownership using the expertise, training and advice you both provide. That's very important to me after spending almost a year with a buy side experience that did not do much of anything but cost me a lot of money."

- Michael

"This has been a marvelous course. I have learned more doing this than anything since I graduated school many years ago. The course has made me excited to chart a new career."

- Charles

"I'll never stop saying it... the value you guys offer is incredible I love it!"

- Kevin

Application Process and Fees

In order to participate in the Acquisition Lab, you’ll complete a short five minute application.  We will review applications and then invite qualified applicants to participate in a strategy call to explore how Acquisition Lab may be able to help you buy a business. 

To participate in the Acquisition Lab, the fee is $5,000.

This includes: 

  • Participation in our structured orientation learning process to prepare you for market
  • Participation in weekly guest speaker calls
  • Free lifetime access to curriculum and tools on the Acquisition Lab Learning Platform
  • 12 months access to the advisory services and Search Forum calls
  • 12 months access to IBISWorld Premium ($4,000 value!)
  • 12 month access to the Lab community including the Service Provider Directory
  • Discounted alumni dues to remain engaged in the community after first 12 months

While the price finally increased after the first 18 months, it is still purposefully priced lower than an MBA course or one month of a buy-side advisor fee.

Acquisition Lab

Master Acquisition Entrepreneurship
$ 5,000 12 month membership
  • 1 year of IBISWorld Premium
  • Lifetime Access to Coursework
  • Biweekly Search Forum Access
  • Almost Daily Advisory Hours