Now let’s go to Moe Arnaiz from eMOBUS.
My name is Moe Arnaiz, I was the founding CEO of a company called eMOBUS. We provided software and services in the managed mobility services space. We founded eMOBUS in late 2007, spent the next two years really refining our product to meet the market’s needs, and in 2010 we had sorted out our product and really started to ramp up sales.
Over the next four years, we had a ton of success, adding over 500 innovative customers, including Netflix, Silicon Valley Bank and CBS Interactive. In 2014 we had a hyper growth year and at the same time inbound interest in our business really peaked. Understanding the importance of timing in business, we felt like it was time to bring in some institutional money or attach ourselves to something larger through an exit. The shareholders preferred the exit, so we decided to take a look in the market for investment bankers that could help us in that process. We ultimately looked at four different investment bankers. We asked a lot of questions. We were leery of the value they could add, feeling that we understood our business the best and would be the best group to sell it. After further review, we also realized it would take a ton of time and require some experience through the process, so we ultimately settled on Corum.
We were familiar with Corum, sat through one of their presentations and were impressed, but ultimately we went with them because we were most impressed with how they marketed their business and we figured we’d be retaining them to market ours.
We moved forward with Corum, kicking off the project in February 2015. We had a one-day brainstorming session at their corporate offices. We built the assets we needed to go to market. They ultimately know what the buyers are looking for and have the skill to deliver that very concisely so that they can quickly evaluate it.
In April, we decided to do our outreach and that led to a ton of phone calls over the next two months. By June we had multiple LOIs on the table and at the end of August we settled on our LOI and within 45 days of that, we were sold.
Corum helped us find a great partner in Marlin Equity Partners, a very fast, professional, clean group, and a great fit in Asentinel, the company we were eventually rolled into. Our deal closed in October in 2015 and the lessons I learned in that process were:
- Run a good business
- Focus on your customers
- Focus on your top and bottom lines
- Run your business like you might sell it one day, follow GAP, keep financials clean, etc
- Don’t always follow the highest bid. You want to find the right partner.
Thank you, Moe. Great comments. I could almost feel some of you trying to get all that written down. Good stuff there.
One thing Moe mentioned that I want to underscore is that there is a lot to do here while you’re trying to run a company. It’s a full time job or more to do a merger properly while you’re running your company. That’s why we put five people on an account, because we can’t have our companies fall down, not meet their numbers, along the way. That dramatically affects valuations and offers.