Archive for the ‘Exits’ Category

Successful exit built on the strength of Sales Process Optimization

September 26, 2008

This week another Altus Alliance client had a successful exit that was reported on Forbes.com. The following is an excerpt from the beginning of the article.

Media Recovery, a leading Datacenter products and services company, has acquired ISSI Data (www.issidata.com), a privately held company headquartered in the Seattle, Wash., area. ISSI Data is a recognized national reseller and direct marketer of information security and storage infrastructure solutions.

The acquisition of ISSI Data will enable Media Recovery to harness the power of a strong inside sales operation and an expanded online catalog sales business.

From the time that Altus partner Bill Lawler joined the firm we saw the opportunity to build a practice we refer to as our Sales Process Optimization practice that has a major effect on Inside Sales operations. ISSI was one of the first clients where we saw the impact of optimizing the sales process from lead generation through acquisition, development and retention of clients’ sales organization. As the examples at the aforementioned link demonstrate, optimizing the sales process can have a dramatic effect on revenue and profitability. We are thrilled that ISSI has had a successful exit particularly in the midst of a tougher climate for exits.

ISSI was a great example of how Altus engages with a client to tap into the breadth of Altus’ expertise. Dave Jones was the original partner helping with business development. During that time, he brought in Dave Chase for a day to tap his knowledge around Internet marketing and lead generation and again when Chase helped on a 6-week Sales Learning Curve Assessment project. Later the baton was handed off to Bill Lawler to address the areas identified in the assessment which manifested itself as one of the first Sales Process Optimization projects.

Originally, we thought of the Sales Process Optimization practice as strictly a complement to our Sales Learning Curve and Outsourced Business Development practices that would apply later in a company’s lifecycle as was the case with ISSI. Instead, we have found that startups at a much earlier stage in their development are interested in ensuring their end to end sales process is optimized from day one. For example, NextNewsNet is a digital media startup in the local Internet media arena that is applying the Sales Process Optimization methodology as it prepares to make its first sales call. NextNewsNet’s team and advisors are some of the most seasoned and well known people in the Internet media business who know driving down the cost of customer acquisition is vital from Day One. It’s much cheaper to get it right from the early days than reengineering later.

Advertisements

10 Commandments of Venture M&A

August 31, 2007

Bill Burnham has an excellent post on the Top Ten Commandments of Venture M&A. I’ve picked my top 5 below. Go to his post to read the details on these 5 and the rest of the “commandments”.

  1. Thou Shall Not Give a Strategic Investor a Right of First Refusal, Right of First Offer or a Protective Provision that Enables Them to Block a Sale.
  2. Thou Shall Write All Customer Contracts And Partnerships Such That They Can Be Transferred to An Acquirer And/Or That Such Contracts Can Be Terminated With Reasonable Notice.
  3. Thou Shall Not Enter A No-Shop Without Hammering Out All of the Key Terms and Conditions of a Sale First.
  4. Thou Shall Not Allow A Buyer to Interview Employees Until At Least An LOI is Signed.
  5. Thou Shall Discuss Exit Expectations With Management and Board Members Prior to Funding and At Least Twice a Year After That.

BigCo fishing expeditions

March 31, 2007

Since most exits are acquisitions, not IPOs, one has to seriously consider overtures from BigCos. That said, some companies use fishing expeditions to learn more about your business with no serious intention of ever making a legitimate offer. Ed Sim lays out a set of questions you should ask BigCo as well as ask yourself that is a useful list. Having been on the BigCo side of this equation, I can tell you that the fishing expedition often isn’t intentional. One set of people inside BigCo might be completely serious about their overtures but get blocked by some other person/team in BigCo. This is more likely to happen at BigCo if they don’t have a structured process for acquisitions. Thus, one additional question I’d ask BigCo is “how does BigCo’s acquisition process ensure that there is internal buy-in before getting into deep discussions with SmallCo?”

Digital media client: Kontiki is acquired by Verisign

March 31, 2006

VeriSign announced Monday that it plans to acquire Kontiki for $62 million, in a move to enter the broadband content services market.

Enterprise Software Client: CallVision acquired by VeriSign

January 11, 2006
VeriSign, a provider of infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications, has signed an agreement to acquire CallVision, a provider of online analysis applications.

The transaction is valued at $30 million in acquired cash.

Vernon Irvin, executive vice president and general manager of VeriSign, said: “The acquisition of CallVision is a strategic investment that furthers our goal of providing intelligent infrastructure services that enable rich and seamless communications, commerce and content services for carriers, online portals, media companies and consumer brands worldwide.”

CallValue’s applications will be added to VeriSign Commerce Suite. The acquisition will enable VeriSign to provide converged ebill presentation, payment and customer self-care applications to mobile operators, Tier 1 carriers, broadband companies and consumer-brand MVNOs.

CallValue allows its clients to use its applications to transform billing data into sources of business intelligence.

“This is done by consolidating billing data from multiple systems, products, geographies, languages and currencies into a single electronic analysis and bill payment view and creating one view of multiple accounts.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.

What’s a “reverse merger” or “backdoor IPO”?

October 1, 2005

Those were questions I used to ask. Fred Wilson has a good explanation of not only what they are but the caveats associated with them.

Digital Media client: PhotoAccess acquired by Photoworks

April 21, 2004

PhotoWorks Announces Agreement to Acquire PhotoAccess Technologies, Online Photography Technology Leader.