For Huron Capital, deals start with management and the company’s broader culture that management drives.

Brian Rassel, a partner at Huron, says 70 percent of the businesses the firm invests in are human capital-driven businesses

“And even those that aren't — they may be a consumer company or a manufacturing company — you quickly learn that the secret sauce or the way that they've outpaced the other folks in the market or whatever their edge, it comes from those people at the business.”

He says when it comes to management teams, beauties is often in the eye of the beholder. Huron is looking for management teams that they're excited to partner with, people who share certain values and characteristics that the firm holds near and dear.

“We go look at a lot of companies — over 1,000 a year — and we invest in somewhere from 15 to 20,” Rassel says. “And in that process, we're looking for that good match where our style, our ethos and the things that we like to do and the way we like to carry ourselves, integrity and those types of things, are shared and they're evidenced in the actions of the management team, the difficult decisions that they've made in years prior to us getting to know them. We know those are the things that carry you through challenges and create opportunities when we are partners — if we get to that point and are fortunate to join them.”

Rassel says deal choice often starts with integrity, with people and with a vision that aligns well with the firm’s resources. It’s about finding respectable people who do things the right way and have gotten to where they are the right way, so that together they can do the same going forward.

Rassel talked more about his approach to analyzing the people aspect of a deal at the Detroit Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Hit play on the video above to catch the full interview.