Every technology entrepreneur must aggressively look at alliances as a key component to attain a successful market position and to set the stage for a subsequent, successful exit event with a larger partner.
Today’s market alliance partner is often tomorrow’s acquirer. Often acquirers like to “try before they buy” and enter into an alliance first. You might be able to accelerate sales and profits through a good alliance and increase value for a later transaction.
Competitors often make the best exit partners. They understand your business, market dynamics, and want to increase market share. Careful approaches can open the door appropriately.
More Partners Than You Think
There are many more potential partners than one would initially think. Complementary products, markets, customers, geographic expansion from international companies, need for technology, need for talented individuals are just a few reasons why companies buy. Ascent’s professionals are experienced in looking for these synergies to help both buyer and seller calibrate the potential transaction.
When to Sell
“Timing is everything” goes the age old saying. It is equally applicable to the drivers behind financings and mergers. Understanding your market dynamic is critical. What markets are consolidating around you? What new venture-backed entrants are emerging? What shifts in technologies and platforms are going to give the edge to your competitors? Are your competitors being acquired by large leaders or funded by strong investors? These are some of the questions you might ask. Sometimes you should find a partner before they choose someone else and then your products will appear to be too much of an overlap. This question is a difficult one but an entrepreneur’s radar should be scanning the market to be ready to make a move. And a move can only be made quickly when a relationship has first been established.