Startup Exit Strategy / M&A
How will you maximize returns for investors, employees, and yourself?
For many entrepreneurs, the exit is the end goal. An exit offers validation of your vision and direction, and payback for the blood, sweat, tears, and countless late nights. An exit is also an obligation for any startup that has raised outside capital or used its equity as currency.
We believe a founder's primary focus should be on building a great business, yet awareness and understanding of exit strategy is key, since meaningful exits don't happen by accident.
We are here to help founders who are thinking ahead toward a future exit, or who have already been approached by prospective acquirers. We bring structure, process, and guidance to increase the probability of a successful acquisition while maximizing valuation. Our services include:
- Exit Strategy: setting and aligning your exit plans within the context of operating, finance, growth and team goals; also,
figuring out acquisition strategy such as: Who? When? Why? How Much? (and 1,256 other details)
- Positioning and Pitch: honing your message + illuminating strategic value to prospective acquirers; also, for most web startups, identifying value drivers beyond revenue or EBITDA metrics
- Packaging and Valuation: creating the necessary deal materials such as the offering memorandum, teaser, financial forecasts, valuation analysis, etc.; also, preparing (in advance) the due diligence binder
- Outreach Management: researching and filtering prospective acquirers, creating target buyer lists, generating introductions, setting meetings, and managing communication flows
- Execution: Generating “heat on a deal” by creating an auction environment with multiple bidders; facilitating the LOI negotiations and due diligence process; and finally, closing.
Our value proposition
First, we can help level the playing field by bringing deal experience to your team. This is important, since you'll be negotiating with corporate development professionals who acquire startups day in and day out.
Second, we help reduce the very-significant burden on management. A successful acquisition can take several months to complete, and it demands an extraordinary amount of time and attention. Managing an acquisition often becomes a distraction for the CEO at the very time when it’s critical to keep business momentum going.
Third, we help get some heat on the deal, both by illuminating the strategic value of your startup, and by increasing the number of parties at the table (thus giving you additional negotiating leverage). Finally, when needed, we help protect and support the CEO during tough situations and negotiations, which is particularly important when you’ll be working for the acquirer after the deal closes.In sum, a well-designed exit strategy can reduce the time to close, improve the odds of success, and help maximize price and terms.
Our pricing structure & business model
An exit strategy engagement is typically structured as either a coach, advisor, or interim operating role, depending on the level of involvement. Remuneration is on an equity, retainer, or retainer + bounty basis. Contact us to discuss.
Check out our thought piece on Startup M&A / Exit Strategy, here. Highly recommended.