For the retiring business owner that wants to preserve the entrepreneurial culture.

Getting to know Savana

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

We are two mid-career professionals that became small business entrepreneurs and a family.

Savana is a signed partnership with the sponsors financing the purchase of our next company. We work with retiring and semi-retiring owners in key industries who are considering their exit options, and who like the idea of their company staying in the care of experienced entrepreneurs. After a brief transition, we will run the company full-time with our partners as advisors.

Fiona Yu

"You can't separate people from process. They are deeply connected. To change one, you must change the other. To understand one, you must understand the other."

  • Founder of Savana Partners

  • Lower-mid-market investment associate covering healthcare, agriculture, education, and software for a private investment office

  • Strategy and operations vice president for a high-growth $10 million founder-run consumer brand in agriculture--acquired by private equity

  • EY team manager in healthcare compliance and consumer technology

  • CPA, Bentley MS Accounting, UCLA MBA

Caleb Williams

"The spark that built the business is an asset that can be preserved through culture."

  • Founder of Savana Partners

  • Strategic projects team leader for Bridgewater

  • Growth and operational excellence strategy consultant for McKinsey

  • Military Intelligence officer for the NSA, Joint Task Force Iraq, and US Army Pacific

  • West Point Computer Science, HBS MBA

What's your size range?

We pay $10m - $50m for a business that generates around $2-4m free cash before growth expenses.

Are you a private equity firm?

No. We are traditional entrepreneurs eager to learn and work hard, with hand picked partners. We will run the company ourselves.

Where will you get the money?

Our capital partners are seasoned small business owners themselves with a good exit or two behind them. A couple are funded institutions with committed capital.

Tell me more about your partners?

We hand picked our partners to support us not only with capital but with wisdom, experience, and character.

Professor (ret.) Al Osborne of UCLA taught Fiona everything about entrepreneurship through acquisition, and has been mentoring entrepreneurs for generations. Kent Weaver is the CEO and Chairman of Progressive Homecare, a home healthcare company he acquired 15 years ago, and an early pioneer and strong advocate of the traditional search partnership model. GJ and Will grew RIA in a Box until their exit, and now invest their capital and expertise in us. Brandon Cope, CEO of The Midway Companies, and Jay and Jason after exiting their pest control company VDCI (now part of RentoKil) are there for us any time. Lucas and Ryan ran IT services firm OnRamp (now Light Edge) for nearly a decade before exiting and shifting to investing in and mentoring entrepreneurs like us.

Our lead institution is WSC & Company, founded by Badge Stone, who was once in our shoes, as well as the awesome teams at Search Fund Partners , Neal Jacobs of Maven Equity Partners, Lacey Wismer of Hunter Search Capital, and Alex and Chris of Riviera Capital. All wonderful folk to work with and we hope you can meet them.

Hopefully this gives you a sense of the incredible support we will bring to your company.

We work very closely with our partners, communicating with them almost daily in this important decision. Unlike formal private equity, we don't have an investment committee that votes whether or not to proceed. Instead, our partners provide helpful input and suggestions, while we drive the ultimate outcome.

And it won't end there. They're in this for the long haul, and will become a pool of advisors and strategic support to the company as we take on future milestones.

I hear from buyers all the time. Why you?

Our partnership is structured as a "traditional search fund", which has several advantages over other structures. Under this model, we have a pre-signed agreement with our partners on the terms of the acquisition we will do as well as our role post-acquisition. This is important as you don't want a transaction to fall through because your buyer couldn't find partners to sign their terms last minute. To demonstrate their commitment to the partnership, us, and your company, each of our partners has put up a sizeable non-refundable deposit (which will go toward transaction expenses) and will happily provide a statement of verification upon request.

But what's right for you and your business is a decision only you can make. Our part is to let you know we're here, that we're a little different, and that some owners like these differences. Here are a couple more differences worth highlighting:

Flexibility. Professional investment firms often raise committed capital based on a charter to invest only in a certain type of company on certain terms, and only after it's been reviewed and approved by a committee. We prefer more flexibility than this. The innovation of the traditional search partnership structure makes this possible. Our standardized agreement with our partners allows any partner (or potential partners on our waiting list) to buy out any other, turning any "no" to a "yes". This diversifies approval risk significantly. It lets us be very flexible in the company we choose, and bespoke in the terms we can offer to our seller. It also lets us move at your pace, not an internal timetable, and enables a more natural alignment in the company's future ownership.

Continuity. We are not a big company with our own brand and work force to fold you into. We are not a financial firm looking to add you to a big portfolio or make you an employee. We do not have a bench of consultants to fly in two days a week. Some companies are strong enough to stand and grow on their own. That's you. That's us.

Happy to chat so we can get to know each other more. It's a difficult process (for us, too!) but we'll be right there with you every step of the way.

How many other businesses are you spending time and energy on?

None. We will invest all our time and energy into the one we have and the family adopting us.

Will I have to stay and work with you?

No, but you can! We would love a short period of assistance from you to ensure a smooth transition.

Can I stay if I want to?

Yes, and we will always appreciate your expertise. Think of this as an opportunity to change your role from being responsible for everything to doing only what you enjoy most.

What about my employees?

They are family and the most critical part of the business. We are committed to your vision creating sustainable value for employees, customers, shareholders, and the community.

About Savana

Fiona and Caleb are a married management team eager to invest their full energy and resources into realizing the fullest potential of one single company.

We are committed to maintain your legacy, realize your vision, and sustain value for our employees and the community.

Savana comes from the Amerindian word zabana, meaning "vast, open grassland". To us, it means open sky.

It's also the name of our newest team member.

Savana Williams

"Go go go go go!"

  • Skilled in sales and team motivation

  • 95th percentile in multiple dimensions

  • Eats glass

  • Enjoys travel, music, books, dancing, and air vents

Fiona Yu

Several years ago, Endeavor selected Fiona to lead a growth strategy project for the founder CEO of an education management software company. She fell in love with the challenge and the reward of growing a mid-size company, and set out to do it again as soon as possible by forming Savana Partners.

Before Savana, was an associate for a leading mid-market CEO-investor. Previously, she served as VP of Operations and Strategy for a high growth consumer brands company in Los Angeles, and was as a management consultant at EY Boston and Los Angeles, serving clients in Healthcare, Consumer Technology, and Media & Entertainment.

Fiona is an avid urban hiker and has a fraternal twin sister.

She has an MBA from UCLA Anderson and a Master of Accounting from Bentley University.

Caleb Williams

Caleb's start in small business began while helping a friend get a small employer services company off the ground. This business was later acquired by an early search fund, who then took the company on to phenomenal growth. The experience planted a seed that would lead to Savana Partners.

Eager to learn, he became a management consultant for McKinsey, where he focused on growth strategy and operational excellence in a variety of industries around the world, and went on to lead the team at Bridgewater responsible for the Dalio Family project portfolio. He then helped launch an early stage venture capital firm in Los Angeles, now in its third fund, before returning to small business, his first love. Caleb served in the military in his youth, holding both strategic and tactical leadership positions as an intelligence officer in the NSA's strategic intelligence group, directly serving the US Army Pacific and the Joint Task Force-Iraq Commanders.

Caleb was once a competitive orienteer, and still enjoys running while reading a map.

He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Computer Science degree from West Point.