Follow These Tips To Get The Best Acquisition Price For Your Startup

As angel investors we always seek ways to improve our investment odds. Through the years I’ve uncovered one sure bet: Invest in companies that bring value to strategic buyers so that the price of the acquisition increases.

To do this, it’s first important to understand what a strategic buyer is. A great person to ask is Craig Mullett, an active Angel Capital Association member and investor with the Angel Investor Forum in Connecticut, and co-founder of AngelHub in his native South Africa. Mullett isn’t your average angel. He’s also founder of Branison Group LLC, which provides buy-side merger and acquisition advisory services to business owners, corporate executives and private equity groups. Mullett says, “The vast majority of startup buyers out there are strategic. They want to buy your company because it can help accelerate their growth and build their own value quickly.”

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Founders role in an angel backed company – Corporate Acquisition

We have interviewed Bob Kelly at the Asian Business Angels Forum and AANZ Summit 2015, in Queenstown.

Bob Kelly questions whether founders should think about exit in the very beginning of the venture.

You can meet a quality network of investors and experts in early-stage company growth, acquisition and exits in person by registering your place at the 9th Annual NZ Angel Summit 2016.

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Role and Importance of IP in building Angel Venture Value #ABAF15NZ

#ABAF15NZ: Role and Importance of IP in building Angel Venture Value

A practical look at how IP can be leveraged to build value in ABC’s (Angel Backed Companies). Building revenue streams and IP portfolios.

What IP are Asian acquirers looking for? Do angels need to own the IP? What role does the exclusive licence play? What are sector specific consideration in IT vs. life science deals.

Moderator – # Anton Blijlevens (AJPark, NZ)

# Allan May (Life Science Angels, USA)

# Introduction to international panel and their ‘war stories’ about intellectual property in China, Australia, and New Zealand

# David Chen (AngelVest, China)

# David Hugues (NZ Plant and Food – Crown Research Institute, NZ)

# Jim Kalokerinos (Brisbane Angels, Australia)

Click here to watch video on youtube

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#ABAF15NZ Speakers – David Chen

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – David Chen

The 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum takes place in Queenstown, New Zealand, 14 – 16 October 2015.

Hosted by the Angel Association of New Zealand, the 2015 Forum brings together leading investors from around the world to share their knowledge and join together in celebrating this small country’s big contribution to early stage investment.

The AANZ is pleased to be able to bring David Chen – Co-founder, AngelVest to ABAF to share his insights and experience at ABAF.

Register-now

Mr. David Chen is a seasoned business leader and entrepreneur with over 20 years of global experience focusing on investments, operations, and business development in China and the United States. He has led and participated in M&A transactions valued at over US $7 billion and has deep investment experience in China and the US.

A co-founder of AngelVest, an investment interest group helping individual angel investors identify and invest in compelling early stage companies in China, he has grown the group to be one of the largest angel groups in China. With over 80 members in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong they have funded over 35 companies.

Entrepreneurs typically seek to raise from $US100-$500K from AngelVest and enjoy the benefits of continued interaction and mentorship by its strong group of angel investors. They provide hands-on execution support to help companies achieve their strategic and operating goals.

Unlike the United States and other developed countries, there are few, if any institutionalised angel groups in China today.  AngelVest is the leading the industry in China with presences mainly in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Increasingly, AngelVest is actively pursuing middle-market cross-border investment opportunities between China and Europe/USA while capturing the growth opportunities in China.

Mr. Chen is originally from New York and has been living in Shanghai for the last eight years. He started as an Engineer with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester and MBA from Harvard Business School, as well as studying Chinese at Peking University.

He came to Angel investing through his experience as a founder and manager of technology start-ups (as lead on strategy, operations, finance), his work with large institutions (including Salomon Brothers, Advanced Micro Devices, Honda Motor) and specialty boutique investment banks, where he helped a number of clients pursue and complete cross-border M&A (particularly China inbound) and financing transactions.

Mr Chen is a highly sort after thought-leader, particularly on the subject of cross-border investments. He has presented at the APEC Accelerator leadership summit, is a member of the Harvard Business School Business Angels alumni dedicating time and commitment to providing investor expertise as a judge in the HBS New Ventures Competition for the “best investment” category.

You can follow Mr Chen’s activities on twitter @AngelVestGroup

To meet and hear from Mr Chen in person, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world make your New Zealand connection and secure your seat now at one the southern hemisphere’s largest international exclusive investor events Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, New Zealand, October 14-15 2015.

 ABAF2015, NZ

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Snapchat gurus get big bucks for US mission

The power of the eco-system, including accelerators and angel investors is powerfully illustrated in Mish Guru’s story.

After one accelerator programme, a spell in a start-up incubator and a tonne of two minute noodles, digital venture Mish Guru has a springboard of nearly half a million dollars to break into the US market.

It’s the place to be for founder Tom Harding and his team, because their software is designed to help businesses get bang for their marketing buck on Snapchat. And a big chunk of Snapchat’s hip, young user base is in the US—by late last year, 14 percent of mobile internet users were active Snapchat users, matched only the UK.

With work for music festivals like Rhythm and Vines, sports teams like the Breakers, Bigpipe Broadband and the band Jupiter Project on the company’s CV, Harding’s moved to the Big Apple to seize the growth opportunity.

Read more on www.idealog.co.nz

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Jim Connor talks Acquisition Strategies #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

Angel Association New Zealand Annual Summit 2014 welcomed Jim Connor, Board Director and founder of Californian Sandhill Angels to speak about how to find and engage with acquirers, all the elements needed and how to obtain information in the process of planning acquisition strategies.

Read more from Jim Connor here

 

To view this video on youtube click here

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ACA Report 3: Corporate Acquirers & Acquisition Strategy

Another instalment from ACA Summit 2014.

This session on corporate acquirers was sponsored by Procter and Gamble. Steve Baggot represented the company on the panel. Also on the panel were Frank Ball from New Dominion Angels who moderated the session. Michael Loria from IBM and Peter Rosenblum from Foley Hoag Law Firm also spoke.

CORPORATE ACQUIRERS – how to engage, deal sizes, commoneerrors and what breaks deals

Steve Baggot from Proctor and Gamble, said they do a deal every three days. JVs, licensing etc

Foley Hoag – Peter Rosenblum noted his firm help clients create strategy around deals

IBM’s – Michael Loria said his firm try to approach opportunities without determining structure of the deal until they understand the opportunity. More and more they are seeing the need to incubate an opportunity they have spotted. Sometimes they may buy an “option opportunity” in that business and often want access to customer base and sales team. They tend to “either have to drive or absolutely sit in the back seat”. This then means they can have quite a long relationship with the opportunity before they buy it.

Building a relationship is vital. It’s a long process. Using relationships as a runway to an acquisition.

What happens to the people? At P&G many people are there from acquisitions.

Most of the opportunities they are looking for are ‘what is keeping people up at night’ – problems the company is trying to solve. Steve likes the things that are serendipitous, but these still have to meet the test of strategy and business fit.

Law firms like Foley Hoag often help with the match making between venture and acquirer. But specialised law firms are better at the strategy than the match making. They can also help with investment banker identification. But be wary of whether you actually need these guys.

How do acquirers communicate their needs? Check their website. But this is generally only a slice of what they need. Always be on the look out for big acquirers looking to Invite people to share what they are working on.

It’s often a good idea to contact regional offices. Most will have entres into the acquiring dept of the big corporate. Odds of reaching the relevant person or even the acquiring team or department on your own are about zero. Look for someone to provide an introduction.

Make sure your legal or investment banking teams have credibility with the acquirer. Make sure they know the acquirers strategy and market, intimately and practically. Be wary of the business development guys at investment banking firms. They can become conflicted. And be sure, in the same way you appreciate the conflicting drivers when you are talking to the sales team at a corporate acquirer too.
Neither care about how big the company is that they are acquiring.

Almost all corporate acquirers won’t be getting into DD until they are quite sure it is a strategic fit. Then if it is a fit “about 10 billion” people will show up on your door step. And will they require tons of data. Internal data and intel about the company and about your market.

They will then review the business fit to be sure the acquirer can extract the value. Some deals take 21 days, some two years.

One of the first questions to ask a potential acquirer is do you have people and budget for acquisition – you need a “yes” to both questions and dig a little deeper on this too. Be sure the answer is “yes”. Strategic and resource fit are important.

A lot of deals fall over on IP issues. Sometimes trade marks. Corporate acquirers generally want all IP in the company but not always. Software business – big bump in a deal is often caused if the relevant software is open source. Most big companies don’t like it. Contracts are another bump in the road. Distribution relationship can be a potential land-mine if it’s with a competitor of the acquirer. Even some existing customers can be a problem to an acquirer, especially if you can’t get rid of them easily so that your acquirer can sell to their own customer base.

As an Angel Investor director you have to help your companies understand how they will manage the business while acquisition is going on. So often the company falls over while a deal is being done… often running out of cash because they neglect sales generation.

The modern style of doing a deal is to set up an electronic data room. Be sure you know which things you should and shouldn’t show the acquirer. Some things they shouldn’t see until they have bought the business

Valuation is the biggest derailer. Passion gets in the way of a clear eyed view of the real value. Based on data and research plans. Ask yourself, how do we learn together to get to an aligned view on valuation. Look at comparables in the market. And look at the risk. What is it worth to us. But every case is specific.

The heart of the issue for Angel’s is  – what can we expect our Investee to do in the buyers environment – not necessarily what it is doing in its current environment.

It’s not about what you have but how the buyer might look at it.

On my way home from the ACA Summit 2014, via Boulder I visited Trimble Navigation – employing over 3000 people, selling over 500 products in 35 countries and making GPS receivers, laser rangefinders and inertial navigation systems. Trimble have acquired 80 (yup, 80!) companies in the last 4-5 years. Some of these from NZ. They just recently acquired an Auckland company for $10m+. So the message is clear, American buyers are active! Good news for New Zealand Angels and their Investees.

– Suse Reynolds, from Washington, DC, USA

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