Spartan Race Inc., known for setting up challenging obstacle-racing courses throughout the U.S., is courting private equity firms in an effort to expand in other countries. So far, Raptor Consumer Partners - the Boston private equity arm of Raptor Capital Management LP - acquired a minority stake in April 2012 for undisclosed terms. Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena is looking to build on that momentum, speaking at various Association for Corporate Growth events such as ACG NY On Tap and the 8th Annual Northeast ACG Stratton Ski & Conference. The races - 3-mile sprints, 8-mile Olympic distance "supers" and 10- to 12-mile "beast" courses - require competitors to run, jump and swim their way through mud and a dozen or so obstacles (rope-climbing and crawling under barbed wire). The Raptor deal has allowed Spartan Race to leverage some PE expertise, but DeSena is looking for more. Spartan Race, also based in Boston, has already made its way to various emerging markets, says DeSena, who created the company in 2010. Previously, he was a managing director of brokerage firm Tullett Liberty's New York equity division in 2006. Before that, he was the chief executive of brokerage firm Burlington Capital Markets. DeSena spoke with Mergers & Acquisitions about how his Wall Street background shaped the company and what PE firms can do to make Spartan Race an Olympic sport.
How has your background in finance helped with the Spartan Race?