Meet Alex Vantarakis
Alex Vantarakis is Greek by ancestry, Canadian by birth, Bostonian by upbringing, and Texan by choice. He is the entrepreneur behind The Vant Group, a mergers and acquisition firm 23 years in the making. As Alex’s company matures and continues to thrive, he’s on the self-reflective path of what comes next.
The story starts in Greece, where Alex was born to Greek parents. They moved, and he spent several formative years in Canada. He attended school in Boston, first earning his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and then his MBA from Babson College of Business in 1995.
“Instead of taking job on the East Coast, I took a flyer with a startup company and came to Dallas,” said Alex. “That was 1998. That startup lasted about four months. I didn’t know anyone and had been living with the business team. I had to find employment, a new place to live, and more friends. Dallas / Fort Worth was probably the easiest place to do that. I had a nice transition from being a Yankee to being a Texan.”
Alex bought a janitorial business via an ad in the newspaper. It wasn’t what Alex really wanted to do, and he sold it. He discovered that he enjoyed the purchase / sale of business more than operating one. That inspired Alex to start the Van Group in 1999.
“It was hard to start from scratch,” recalled Alex. “I really appreciated the entrepreneurship of DFW. I came here and didn’t know anyone, but I went to any networking meeting I could find for two straight years.” He joined EO 15 years ago. All those relationships gave Alex lasting referrals. His business model specializes in mergers and acquisitions for companies with revenue from $1 – $100 million.
On the family side, Alex met Allison, and they married almost 12 years ago. They enjoy spending time with their fur babies. Alex’s parents also recently moved to town to be closer to their only child. While most of Alex’s family is still in Greece, his parents have already plugged into a Greek community. Alex says it’s great to have family close by.
“I love being in Dallas,” Alex said. “When I’m not working, I’m smoking cigars, going to Bible study or really just hanging out with my friends. I’ve created my own little pseudo-family.” In addition, extended family comes to visit quite often. Alex and Allison are the cool aunt and uncle.
The Vant Group is still solid. Alex predicts, unless interest rates spike, there will be a huge boom in the M&A industry. As baby boomers look to sell their companies and buyers continue to look for good opportunities, the U.S. market will thrive.
Success leaves Alex evaluating his future. “My ‘why’ recently has been to leave a legacy of some sort. I’ve already accomplished more than I thought I was going to. Money isn’t as important as it was before. I’ve got good team members who can continue to do what we’re doing. I’m in a great, amazing spot in my life and I want to take advantage of it. I don’t know what I want to do for the next 20-30 years. It was more exciting when I was trying to find my business. I wish I could have a time machine to go and feel like the startup excitement. Just trying to make it better is not the same.”
As Alex navigates his next course, he will undoubtedly continue with the kind, stalwart standards that have led to his success. He exemplifies the tenured member of EO and has built friendships within the community that will last. Once you know Alex, you just like him. Simple as that.