Tag Archives: Code

How Do You Evaluate an Acquisition? Five Points

Situation: A CEO is evaluating an acquisition which could significantly contribute to his company’s financial position. Patented technology may add value to the deal. The founders of the acquisition target are willing to work part-time to facilitate the transition of their technology to the acquirer. How do you evaluate an acquisition?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Set a timetable to close the deal or walk.
  • Two key factors in the due diligence process will be strength of the intellectual property and cost of the acquisition long term.
  • Another key factor to evaluation will be how this opportunity fits into the company’s larger financing plan. Currently the company is undertaking a financing round. How much will this acquisition contribute to or distract from the financing round?
    • If this is a primarily a value-add opportunity, will it add to the larger financing round?
    • Can the larger financing round be completed on time while pursuing this opportunity?
    • An option is to negotiate a white label agreement – an agreement that will keep the company in the game while completing the larger round.
    • If the founders are not amenable to a delay, what is the cost in terms of funds and effort versus the larger round.
  • The technology appears interesting, but the timing is bad given your need for the larger financing round. Here’s an option.
    • Go to the founders and start the discussion. Secure a license or hire their programmer. Let the technology go dark until the financing round is completed.
    • There is value here – but do this as a side focus if it’s not too expensive. Assure that the deal includes both rights and the underlying algorithms.
  • Delegate this to someone else in the organization. The CEO’s focus is the larger financing round.

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How Do You Scale with Scarce Talent? Four Factors

Situation: A software company relies on in-house expertise to both position itself and come up with unique solutions to clients’ problems. The CEO wants to significantly scale up the number of clients served per year. The challenge is that it is difficult to find software engineers who are experienced in a wide range of code languages. How do you scale with scarce talent?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Start by looking at the load carried by your current employees. Do they have the capacity to significantly increase the number of clients that they serve? Do you have sufficient back-up to serve existing and new clients should something happen to a key employee? It’s one thing to have ambition to expand, but another to assure that you have the capacity to serve both existing and new clients.
  • Take a close look at your org chart.
    • What happens and where are the exposures when you double the current service volume? Where will the greatest stresses occur? These are the first areas in which you should start to build redundancy.
    • From an HR standpoint, you need a leadership development plan that extends down your organization chart. Use the stress analysis just mentioned to identify the areas in greatest need of additional resources and leadership development.
  • Look for areas where you can off-load current responsibilities to support staff to increase the capacity of your current talent. This increases potential capacity as well as the overall value of the company.
    • The lack of redundancy may prove to be detrimental to your ability to attract new large clients. Large potential clients and partners will use whatever means they have at their disposal (including stealth visits to your offices by local reps) to vet your organization before they make a commitment to you.
  • New client and partner relationships are like new product introductions.
    • A few early adopters will jump on your opportunity.
    • Many of the most established clients or partners will sit on the sideline to monitor the experience of early adopters.
    • If you trip in your service delivery early in your scale-up, most of the remaining targets will be slow to support your offering.
    • Count on the first two years of building additional clientele to be very intensive. It will distract you from many of the functions you perform today, unless you have additional personnel to support this.