In the spirit of Summer, I am excited to announce that I bought a significant minority stake in Boulder-based Avid4 Adventure camps. Last summer, Quincy, my 4.5 year old daughter tried a handful of week-long camps in Boulder. There was only one that blew her and us away… Avid. So much so that she spent this past year periodically asking “When do I get to go back to Avid?” She loved learning how to rock climb, kayak, and explore nature. We loved how everything about the camp lit up Quincy and how well organized and engaging the staff were.
They perfected every little detail about our experience… from calling the week before to welcome us and see if there was anything we’d like them to focus on with Quincy, to creating fun ice-breaking activities for the her to make new friends, to teaching her something new about nature or safety with each activity, to how good they were at building confidence in trying new things, to making everything fun for her, to writing a hand-written heart-felt thank you note to Quincy afterwards.
I bumped into Avid’s founder, Dave Secunda, last Summer and told him how impressed we were with his camp. He shared some of his growth and financial numbers which impressed me even further to say if he ever wanted to talk about selling part or all of the Avid to let me know. Over the course of the year, one conversation led to another and we decided that to make an offer to his original seed investors from 10+ years ago, giving them a long-awaited exit.
Dave was excited to create a cash-out “win” for his original passive investors while at the same time bringing on an actively-involved built-for-life focused owner like me. As he so eloquently shared in an email with his leadership team:
“Earlier this year, Bill approached me to learn more about Avid… His passion for working with companies of our size was clear, and his interest was very different from every other investor that I had met. Most investors are looking for “the big win”. They look for rapid growth, unaccompanied by solid business metrics that would indicate long-term sustainability, followed by an “exit” or sale of the company to make their money back at a multiple. Bill, on the other hand, looks for businesses to get involved with that have solid fundamentals, clear vision and a compelling value proposition, in order to see sustainable growth and returns over time. “
I like the way Dave phrased this because he alludes to a distinction, in my mind, between being an investor and being an owner. I’ve come to realize that I love being an “owner” of businesses a whole lot more than being an “investor” in businesses. I’d like to write more about this difference later.
I’m excited to work with and learn from Dave and his fabulous team, share some of my company-building experiences with them, and more importantly, be a part of growing Avid to inspire a whole lot more kids about their connection with the outdoors. Thank you Dave for giving me the opportunity to be a part of what you’ve created and are building with Avid!