When Barcelona native Marc Bartomeus graduated from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2010, he didn’t head to Silicon Valley or jump into a consulting gig. Instead, he raised a little over €200,000 (about $300,000 at the time) from 16 investors to form Ariol Capital, a small investment firm with one goal—to find a small company for Bartomeus to buy and run—and returned to Spain.
Last October, when Bartomeus’ investors ponied up the funds for him to buy Repli, a Barcelona-area packaging distributor with €17 million in annual revenues, Ariol Capital became the first so-called “search fund” to purchase a firm in Spain. In doing so, Bartomeus is on the leading edge of the international expansion of a trend that could offer an escape hatch for the growing number of aging European family business owners with no succession plan in place. Continue reading on Fortune. Photo by Michael Cogliantry—Getty Images.