BTU #117: Jim Vesterman: Marine Corps to Search Funds and Buying a Company to Run

“I'm not sure that I'm the best necessarily at starting a business from scratch - figuring out a business model in my garage, making this thing work, and taking all the risks there are in the startup phase. But I was pretty sure that I could take a business that had cashflows, infrastructure, and a business model and make it a lot better."– Jim Vesterman

Jim Vesterman is the CEO of Raptor Technologies, which is the nation's leading provider of integrated safety technologies for K-12 schools. He got his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, after which he worked at both the Monitor Group and for a software startup. He deferred his MBA to join the Marine Corps as part of 3rd Force Recon Company. After he got his MBA from Wharton, he started an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund - which we’ll get into - called Liberty Place Capital. Liberty Place Capital ultimately purchased Raptor Technologies in 2012 and he has been running that company for 5 years.

The top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Perspective - Jim is the only person I've interviewed so far who had a career before the Marine Corps. His look at re-entering the civilian workforce is compelling
  2. Search Funds - this is a great entrepreneurial vehicle well suited for veterans. Rather than coming up with an original idea, you can raise money to buy an existing business, which you can grow. Jim talks about how this process works, and why it may be appealing to veterans.
  3. Balance - Jim used 5 vacation days and nights and weekends to raise money for his Search Fund - it's a great example of using one's extra time to further their career.

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at

Selected Links

  • Stanford has an incredible library of information about Search Funds that you can find here