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Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game by [Walker Deibel]
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Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 636 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walker Deibel is an entrepreneur and investor who has cofounded three startups and acquired seven companies. He holds an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, where he received the Declaration of Accomplishment in Entrepreneurship award from the Skandalaris Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Walker is a certified advisor and former SEC licensed stock broker. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and their three resourceful children. Learn more about Walker at

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07JKM2F5Q
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lioncrest Publishing (October 30, 2018)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 30, 2018
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1232 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 312 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1544501137
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 636 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
636 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2018
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34 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely re-wiring my odds of doing business after reading this!
By Michael Michelini on December 31, 2018
As I prepare to go to the Invest Like a Boss podcast meetup here in Chiang Mai on Jan 3, 2018 - I felt I should catch up on some reading about investing and this one was a new one with amazing reviews so I couldn’t help myself.

Buy Then Build is a book about what the author calls a new trend for entrepreneurs - to be Acquisition Entrepreneurs.

To start off the book, he makes the case that something like 90% of startups fail, and those that you say succeed simply become small to medium sized enterprises with nothing special. That the ones who win in the startup game are not the entrepreneurs, but the investors. They get to spread their bets across multiple startups and just need one to win, while the entrepreneur is all in on 1 startup with a 90% chance of failure.

So Walker, the author, says to instead skip past the startup phase and buy an existing business with positive cash flow.

It makes sense - as he shows the numbers of failures in this stage is something like 5% (95% success rate) so the complete inverse of the startup phase.

Plus, it seems cheap! Paying 2 to 4 times of SDE (seller discretionary earnings) for a company that already has product market fit and is earning positive cashflow - compare that amount of investment with what you would need to do it from scratch.

The real eye opener for me was that you can finance these acquisitions with the bank. And then pay yourself salary while also paying back the bank loan - and keep 100% of the company /equity (as its a loan not equity investment).

Throughout the book you get step by step instructions and almost the exact wording to use when talking to brokers and the other players in the acquisition game.

My favorite part is that the author says there is tons of opportunity to be creative in these companies you acquire - and that you need to know yourself and your own strengths. Not to look for a company by industry, but more for what suits your needs as an entrepreneur / investor.

And what is even cooler, you can use that cashflow to invest in growth and leverage the existing customer base on a new technology. As all so many times when starting a company you are scrambling to get customers why not by an existing company, get financing, and then plug in your technology idea into it with its existing client base.

Seems like a fun game that can be repeated every five years or so (plugs into a recent post I talked about 5 year plans 999999) and you can focus on your own strengths each time - applied to existing customer bases which need your skill set.

My only concern, as an American in Asia, I probably can’t tap into these bank loan options. But for many of you reading this - if you have good credit and maybe a home to put up and your personal guarantee (as a US person) it can be a great way to jump right into entrepreneurship.
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Top reviews from other countries

Paul Simister
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written guide to being an acquisition entrepreneur
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 16, 2020
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7 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding how-to guide for acquisition entrepreneurs
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding how-to guide for acquisition entrepreneurs
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2020
Books on the topic of search funds and acquisition entrepreneurship are few and far between, so finding this book was a lucky stroke. It was recommended by a friend who is considering launching a search fund, and we both find the book incredibly practical. The examples are mostly from the US, but the wider insights and terminology can definitely be applied at an international scale. It's also full of specific examples of successful acquisitions, which adds to the already strong credibility from the author.

One of the best books I've read this year, I fully recommend it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not detailed enough
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2020
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, well written but too focused on USA
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2020
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Andrew Holt
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but full of acronyms
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2021
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