It remains the strongest market ever for sellers of technology companies. Valuations are high, disruptive technologies are creating new opportunities daily, and there are more buyers than ever. But at the same time, the process is tougher than ever, and those high valuations and additional buyers means it takes more effort to do it right.
So what's it like to make a deal happen? How do you make sure you're getting optimal value? How do you start conversations with the right global buyers? How do you survive due diligence?
- Jim Falkanger- Former CEO and Founding Partner, EleVia Software (sold in November 2019)
- Erik Lidman- General Manager, Bizview Systems (sold September 2019)
- Kerri McConnell- CEO, Datalight (sold June 2019)
Selling a company is the most important transaction of your life--whether that's coming up today or sometime in the future, you won't want to miss this opportunity to hear what the process is like, directly from founders who have just gone through it.
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March 2020 Tech M&A Monthly - Introduction
Good morning, afternoon, or evening depending on where you are. Welcome to the Corum Group Tech M&A monthly webcast for March 2020. I'm Tim Goddard, EVP of Corporate Strategies and I'll be your host today. Please feel free to chime in with questions on the Q&A sidebar throughout the discussion. Then after the webcast, we'll make slides available for your reference on our website and you can also reach out directly via firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or comments.
All right, here's what we have for you today. I'm going to start with a special note from Corum CEO, Bruce Milne, addressing the topic everyone is talking about – coronavirus – specifically with tips on managing through crisis. Then, we'll walk through a couple of announcements of deals we've recently completed, followed by Corum event reports, and then our Corum Monthly Tech M&A research report. After that, we'll get to our Sellers' Panel discussion with Jim Falkanger, who sold EleVia software to Newforma; Erik Lidman, from Bizview, acquired by Insight Software; and Kerri McConnell, from Datalight, acquired by Tuxera.
Let's start though with our CEO, Bruce Milne.
Coronavirus Fear, Leading During Crisis: 10 Tips to Manage Your Tech Company
My topic today is for our Tech CEOs listening. Coronavirus Fear, Leading During Crisis: 10 Tips to Manage Your Tech Company.
Feeling fear, uncertainty, doubt? Wondering what to do next because of follow up from the coronavirus? Trust me, you're not alone. Over the last few weeks, I've spoken to CEOs in over 30 countries to get their perspective on their companies, what they're doing. They're all concerned. For many of you, your company is your main asset, representing years or decades of effort. Don't let crisis situations like this threaten your company's value.
Here's 10 tips to survive the crisis, and hopefully have an even stronger company because of the shared experience you went through with your employees.
Tip #1: When in Doubt, Lead
First, when in doubt, lead. In such situations, often, all the leader can do is give assurances. "Were going to be okay." "We'll deal with this together." Think of Winston Churchill's, "We Will Fight" speech to pump up England during the war. He didn't give hard solutions, quick answers. Instead, he showed calm, confidence, concern, and compassion. That's what you need to do. Lead. Reassure your people. You'll find a way together.
Tip #2: Check Your Facts. Be Careful Who You Listen To
Second, check your facts. Be careful who you listen to. The press always tries to scare us. They prey on our fuse with headlines designed as clickbait for advertising. End of the world stuff. Don't spend too much time listening to them. And they give you lots of Chicken Littles parroting these headlines around your office, the sky-is-falling rhetoric. We all have them in our companies. It's how they get attention. Tune them out.
Tip #3: Take Care of Yourself Physically & Emotionally
Third, take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Both life and sports coaches these days tell us that to perform at our best in any endeavor, we need to invest in quality sleep and regular exercise. I've heard plenty of tough talk about how we don't need it. Dead wrong. Commit time to get away from stress. In this situation, it's doubly important. First, your staff watches you. Don't be bedraggled and sleep deprived. It sends a terrible message and you all end up making bad decisions, creating more anxiety when you need to be calm and clearheaded for both your company and your family. They need you too now. Don't forget them.
Second, and more importantly, this is a virus, and a strong immune system is your best defense. Getting rest and exercise keeps your immune system strong.
Tip #4: Have Clear Crisis Policies and Enforce Them
Four, have clear crisis policies and enforce them. Have you sent in memos, unacceptable behavior, and policies during this period, like staying away if you're coughing or sneezing, washing your hands, reducing unnecessary travel, having at risk personnel stay home, work virtually? Your staff wants and appreciates clear guidelines that are meant to keep them all safe. Once you set them, stick to them. Don't make exceptions because of things like inconvenience. This is a health crisis. We'll all be making sacrifices.
Tip #5: Have Crisis Contingency Plans
Five, have crisis contingency plans. What if someone gets infected and has to be quarantined? What if a parent has to stay home because their children's school is closed? You need to think through these scenarios. Who will take supplies to the quarantine staffer? Do you have a more liveaboard boat, motorhome, or unused vacation home for them to use? Who's going to partner up with the parents and be sure their job gets done? This is the time to band together to see what's available and who can help.
Tip #6: Plan to Go Virtual
Number six, and this is a big one: plan to go virtual. In this crisis, almost every company will have to manage virtually to some degree. Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing just asked all their employees who can stay home to do so. Governments are demanding that people go into quarantine for even the smallest concern. Often, they just don't have enough test kits. Running a virtual company isn't easy. It requires extra work and more communication. The trick is to have clear assignments, regular measurement, and feedback for your virtual teams made up of HQ and remote staff. Sometimes, communications are needed even in the middle of the night. There's good technology there to help, web, and collaborative tools. I recommend that your communication be visual as often as possible. Seeing your teammates is more uplifting than just hearing their voices, especially if you're out there working alone.
Tip #7: Triage Your Projects
Number seven, triage your projects. You can't do everything when you're short staffed, which most of you will be. So, figure out what is critical to keep momentum going and orders fulfilled. Everything else, put it on the back burner. Get input and agreement on this so someone doesn't feel that their project just been dumped. A big tip here: bring your people into the decision process. Let them know what you're doing to deal with the bigger problems.
Tip #8: Manage Your External Relationships
Number eight, manage your external relationships. This is often forgot about. It's easy to be too internally focused, allowing external communications to get sloppy with customers and suppliers, contractors, consultants, investors, and the like. They have their own dramas and concerns right now. Don't add to their anxiety. Let them know what you're doing to deal with the crisis, how it's progressing, and how are you handling contingencies. A tip here: call them. It's too complicated for an email and it might be a bit emotional. Invest time in the personal connection, champing an attitude that we will get through this together. It helps. They might even ask for you to send them a copy of your crisis policy memo.
Tip #9: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Number nine, communicate, communicate, communicate. During stressful periods when there's fear, uncertainty, and doubt, it's extra important to communicate more than usual. Experience has shown that during transitions, like right after a merger, people tend to think the worst, worrying themselves into a frenzy about job security, success, et cetera. The easiest way to deal with this is through constant communication about what is happening and where you as a team are going. A tip here, if you don't already have it, start an all-hands meeting each week to get updates. Do a web conference if needed. Have some meetings by team or department and keep them going.
Tip #10: Watch for Failing Employees
Ten and last, watch for failing employees. Some people just can't work alone. Further, anxiety ridden situations like this can tip over the employees who are already a bit emotional. Maybe they have a dependency, or are glued to the news too much, which can also be poisoning. They are the first to feel hopeless. You and your managers should watch them carefully, communicate more, and have contingency plans if they need to be given more space, time off, et cetera.
Remember what grandmas loved to say, "This too shall pass." It's true. This virus actually has a very low mortality rate and governments are working hard to find a vaccine. In the meantime, these steps will not only help you get through the crisis but also have a stronger company when it's over. Remember, we're going through this together. Send us your own crisis management ideas and we will feature them in our next monthly webcast.
Thank you, Bruce. Important stuff.
March 2020 Tech M&A Report – Recent Acquisitions Announcements
Now let's turn to the deal reports starting with Dan Bernstein who just closed a deal down under. Dan?
Corum client, Minemax, was recently acquired by Vela Software, a Constellation company. Minemax, a Perth Australia-based company, is the leader in strategic mine plan optimization and will now have access to Vela's strong operating expertise, resources, and global infrastructure for its next phase of growth. We're happy and proud to have led this transaction on behalf of Minemax and are excited about the future of Australian software companies in the global M&A market.
Thanks, Dan. Now, let's go to Rob Griggs in Minneapolis who also closed the deal. Rob?
It is with great pleasure that Corum announces that strategic acquirer, Retail Success, purchased our client ByDesign Technologies, the premier provider of business management tools for the direct-selling industry. Retail Success is an Overland Park, Kansas-based financial technology company that provides custom software, retail technology, and electronic payments products. The acquisition of ByDesign Technologies is part of Retail Success's planned expansion into the direct-selling, retailing, and gig economy spaces. That combined organization serves a worldwide customer base across a variety of vertical markets. ByDesign is up nearly a thousand companies grow their big ideas by leveraging the freedom cloud solution as their direct-selling software. As a result, ByDesign Technologies has empowered more than 10 million individuals to follow their dreams in the direct-selling industry. We want to congratulate Scott and Shannon Maher of Retail Success, and Daryl Wurzbacher, the CEO of ByDesign.
Thanks. Congratulations to all our clients.
Corum Group at the WFS Growth and Exit Strategies - Toronto
Now, let's go to Toronto where John Kirkpatrick just spearheaded a record-breaking conference with World Financial Symposiums. John?
On Wednesday, March 4th, WFS held their Growth and Exit Strategies Conference in Toronto, hosting CEOs, founders, and investors of software and IT companies in a wide range of tech industries. I was invited to be one of the points leading the event. I presented on tech valuation, sharing details on how to get an accurate and fair valuation during the M&A process. It was a record-setting event with close to 200 registrants of buyers and sellers representing several verticals. Special thanks to the event gold sponsor, McCarthy, who again provided a great venue. It was a very productive event and an exciting look forward into the growing tech space in Toronto.
Thank you, guys. Exciting times out there.
March 2020 Tech M&A: Public Markets, Corum Index, and Megadeals
Now, let's go to Elon Gasper and our research team for an in-depth look at the Tech M&A market. Elon?
Thanks, Tim. February Public Markets saw US indices gain record highs then suddenly fall, impacted by a coronavirus spread in supply chain outages that threatened. European and Japanese markets also dropped, while Chinese ones already hit hard in January, resisted or even climbed in a way widely viewed as reflecting China's Central Bank and other institutions support. Other central banks cut rates then or soon after, with varying effects still developing as the long bull market and the world faced a new kind of challenge. But the window of opportunity stayed open for tech M&A.
February's Corum index showing an increase in total deal volume with the number of megadeals tripling, but we did measure a year-over-year decrease in PE platform deals. The rest of the metrics were relatively stable. Those megadeals include four, stacked up in the Horizontal sector, including cloud and mobile software provider Vlocity, bought for $1.3 billion dollars by Salesforce for its line of enterprise offerings tailored to multiple industries and business processes.
Tech M&A Transactions for March 2020: Horizontal Sector
How'd the rest of that sector fair, Stephanie?
Sales multiples in the horizontal sector declined, but EBITDA metrics held flat as markets trusted the endurance of profitable business models. Deals took place in multiple subsectors including HR led by megadeal as cloud-based HR software provider, Cornerstone OnDemand spent $1.4 billion dollars on enterprise learning management company, Saba. Cornerstone also spent $18.5 million on French job skills platform, Clustree, to get a better position in the competition with Workday. Benefits navigation SaaS, Yaro, was purchased by workforce well-being specialist, Virgin Pulse. And employee engagement startup, Hyphen, was bought by performance management platform, Betterworks.
Payments continue driving multi-billion-dollar consolidation as point of sale systems provider Ingenico was acquired for $9 billion at nearly three times sales by Atos spinouts, Worldline. Another payments company, Zash, was bought by London-based fintech firm, DNA Payments, expanding its composite commerce capabilities. And integrated payment solutions provider, Ventanex, was purchased for $36 million by REPAY, to further address high growth markets.
Corporate performance management provider, LevelEleven, was acquired by long-time partner, Geopointe, to form Ascent Cloud which aims to be the premier provider of CPM solutions for sales teams. And finance department specialist, Longview Solutions, was pocketed by Insight Software following its acquisition of Corum client Bizview systems last year. Business analytics startup RoxAI, out of London, was acquired by its American pier Qlik backed by Thoma Bravo to extend its AI capabilities with intelligent alerting.
In customer analytics, personalization and analytics app developer, Localytics, was acquired for $68 million at 3.3 times revenue by cloud-based enterprise work management software maker, Upland Software, to deepen its mobile offerings. UK-based video feedback platform, LivingLens, was purchased for $26 million by customer experience company, Medallia. And machine learning customer data platform, Evergage, was picked up by Salesforce to further boost AI capabilities. Finally, consumer identification company, 4Cite Marketing, was bought by Merkle, the performance marketing arm of Dentsu, to bolster its identity technology.
March 2020 Tech M&A Report: Internet Sector
How did the Internet sector do, Billy?
With coronavirus response striking down the Travel and Leisure subsector, Internet valuations dropped in February. There were two major financial website acquisitions in February. In this year's first Internet megadeal, online brokerage E-TRADE was acquired for $13 billion at nearly five times revenue by Morgan Stanley in the biggest tech acquisition by a Wall Street firm since the global financial crisis. And Credit Karma was purchased for $7 billion at seven times revenue by financial software giant, Intuit, in its biggest acquisition to date.
Deal flow continued in food delivery services, where Carrefour gobbled up lunch delivery service Dejbox, and fruit and vegetable box service Potager City, both in France. And Uber Eats sold its Indian operations for $350 million to its food delivery competitor, Zomato. TA Associates made two acquisitions in the online auction space, rolling up online auction platform, Auction Technology Group and online marketplace Proxibid to increase its scale in the market.
Tech M&A Report for March 2020: Gaming, Esports, & Online Media
How did Consumer fare, Matt?
Sales multiples held stable, supported by a rise in the core gaming subsector, but EBITDA did fall slightly. In gaming, Embracer Group kept expanding its portfolio, spending $150 million on Sabre Interactive, the company behind the World War Z video game with an additional $375 million in potential earn-out. It also added music games developer, Voxler, for $2 million through its subsidiary Koch Media.
Canadian studio, Phoenix Labs, maker of free-to-play co-op action RPG Dauntless, was purchased by Singapore-based games company, Garena. And VR studio, Sanzaru Games, was acquired by Facebook to further advance Oculus development.
In mobile games, Croatian development studio, Codecacao, was picked up by Finnish publisher Kuuhubb. Idle game leader Kolibri Games was acquired by Ubisoft to strengthen its capabilities in that growing genre. And Disney sold its game studio, FoxNext Games, to mobile game specialists Scopely, adding the hit MARVEL Strike Force to its portfolio.
Esport production and broadcast company, Even Matchup Gaming, was bought by investment company, New Wave Esports, for its capabilities in a fighting game community. Esports platform, HLTV.org, was acquired for almost $29 million by sports betting media group, Better Collective. For more on Esports, check out the tech market spotlight coming later this month. We're partnering again with the WFS for an Esports market spotlight on March 26th. Visit wfs.com to register.
In online media, sports podcast platform, The Ringer, was purchased by Spotify expanding its content offering as podcast popularity grows. Self-distributed video platform, Reelhouse, the "Netflix of Adventure Films," was acquired by global digital studio, Liquid Media, to enhance its monetization capabilities. And ad-supported streaming service, Xumo, was bought by Comcast for $100 million for its relationships with smart TV manufacturers as Comcast readies its own streaming service, Peacock.
And that's our February update. We'll be back four weeks from today to review the whole first quarter, all six sectors and 29 subsectors. Back to you, Tim.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: Introduction to Guests
Now, let's go deeper into this topic. We're going right to the founders and CEOs of tech companies recently sold. We've got a great international panel today and I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Let's start with brief intros.
Sure. This is Jim Falkanger, EleVia Software, CEO.
My name is Erik Lidman, General Manager for Bizview. I've been that from this January, February this year. So before that I was the CTO of Bizview.
I am Kerri McConnell, General Manager of Tuxera US, and VP of Worldwide Corporate Development.
Thanks, Kerri. Now can you each tell me a little bit more about your company? Jim, let's start with you.
So, Elevia Software helps architectural and engineering firms improve business processes and drive increased cashflow. So, we create a number of add-on financial modules that extend a core ERP software system. It allows accounting folks, it allows project management staff to increase their visibility. And with that increased visibility, they can more quickly make decisions, move invoices, approvals, payments -- everything related to the financial process of a firm -- through the ERP system quickly and with increased information.
And how'd you get started?
Well it grew out of providing customization for a large engineering firm in the Midwest. We started showing the application that we had created to other engineering firms and they discovered that there was value in the particular application. And from there, we just continued showing it to other engineering firms, later architectural firms. And as a result of that, we spun out a separate business unit and then later created a separate identity, which is EleVia Software.
Thanks. Erik, what about you? Tell us more about Bizview.
Yeah, we're a Scandinavian software company started in 2002 in Sweden and Norway, working with the EPM, CPM, or what Falkanger now calls the FP&A markets. So, we're into planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting analytics, helping the office of the CFO to become better at providing information and data from all their different ERP systems and other systems also, like the source system, to look into the future, bringing financial intelligence to the office of the CFO.
Great. And Kerri, what about your company?
So, Tuxera is a software provider and our software helps make data in all different kinds of embedded devices reliable. And that means, both in terms of speed of operation as well as in the integrity of the data that those devices capture.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: Tuxera-Datalight Acquisition - Kerri McConnell
Let's talk about how your deals came together. Kerri, you've got a story around that.
Well, it's kind of interesting because Datalight, the company that we were before we were acquired, had been looking for an exit a few years earlier but hadn't really quite found the right fit. And so we had decided to focus on organic growth. And then we were approached by Tuxera and were a little reluctant at the beginning to engage because we had encountered them a couple of times in competitive situations. They're in a similar market. And it took a bit of a soul searching on our part before we decided that we were interested in engaging on a potential acquisition.
We'd been down the road before and we know that anytime you're looking to sell a company, there's a pretty significant destruction factor. So, it's time consuming. It requires that you split your focus between growing your business and serving your customers and then courting this potential suitor and being available for answering their questions and pulling up the information they're looking for and that sort of thing. So, it's a commitment to even engage in a discussion.
But in this particular case, there also was a little bit of a hesitation because we serve similar markets. We have similar customers. And so we wanted to make sure that we weren't going to compromise the ability to compete by exposing too much of ourselves if the deal didn't happen.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: Bizview-Insight Software Acquisition - Erik Lidman
Erik, how about Bizview? How did that deal come about?
The last 10 years, we have worked with our product called Bizview, which is like the latest web technology with deep functionality when it comes to do planning and reporting. It can be run on-prem or in the cloud. It works for mid-sized business up to enterprise.
We started in the board last winter to discuss, "Okay, how can we grow this company beyond where we were?" We had had two really good, strong financial and development the last five years, grown a lot, had a strong position, fantastic product, proven customer success and we were trying to grow outside of Scandinavia and we have built the partner network in many other countries, but we were feeling that, "Okay, to actually go into the international market, we need to have some more power."
So, that is -- that was the objective why we started this process. From there, we ended up actually selling the whole company in September to Insight Software, which is a US-based software company with 20 offices around the world. So, I mean, they have the international reach, the global network, and the resources to scale up the Bizview business. It shifted, but we found the right buyer, which we're very happy about.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: EleVia-Newforma Acquisition, Jim Falkanger
And Jim, what about EleVia?
We are at the point where we created what we thought was a substantial customer base and we attended an event in the Fall of 2018. That was an M&A presentation traveling through, in this instance, the Minneapolis and St. Paul market. So, it piqued our interest wondering whether now might be a good time to test the market. And as a result of that, we began some investigation. That led us to interview three different M&A firms which ultimately resulted in us deciding to hire Corum. We were impressed with the particular representative, the senior associate that we worked with. He was very knowledgeable. He knew our space and we could very quickly get up to speed and talk about our business model. So, that impressed us. And we didn't want really a generic M&A provider. We wanted somebody that could understand the idiosyncrasies of our market, the nuances, and be able to parlay that or relay that in conversations to prospective buyers.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: Unexpected Events in the M&A Process
What surprised you the most about the M&A process?
We were really impressed with both the Corum and then ultimately the suitor. We found it to be a very invigorating process. We learned a lot about it. We learned a bit about our company, things that we didn't even fully understand when we went to market. But yes, we found that to be probably the most enlightening part of the what was almost a year-long process for us. I knew that it would take a period of time, and it did. We did have, I think some high points where we were thinking we were going to go in one direction and then we ended up by perhaps taking a right turn and going in a different direction. And that's all tied to prospective suitors and who we were speaking to. But, ultimately we were very pleased with the outcome. And I think that is owed to the fact that the gentleman we worked with at Corum briefed us well in advance and we were able to understand the process and I think that helped us through it.
What about you, Erik? What surprised you the most?
Well, I mean just the amount of work required. I mean from the big things to like the small details of things, but most surprising, I think the need for speed during -- in this process. Everyone want these kind of transactions to move as quick as possible. The buyer wants to close the deal as fast as possible and we, as the seller, also want to go back and focus on our normal business. So, just the requirement's on from day one to us closing the deal and get back into normal business. It's a lot of work during a very short amount of time. We started in February to actually move forward. We had some contacts with Corum since before. So, actually in March 2019, we worked out the business case and the material and so on. During May, June, we made the true research and presentation. We ended up doing due diligence during July and August. And the deal was made in September.
And one funny thing about this story is that in the Nordic countries in Sweden, Norway, everyone has vacation during July because this is the only time of the year where we have some good temperature and sun. So, everyone is on vacation. And we had our due diligence there during July. So, that meant that we were a very small group of people, and our auditor and a lot of other people, they were on vacation. So, it was a very stressful July with a lot of phone conferences, and with a lot of people. So, in one way, it was very much work, but on the other hand, we didn't have on the other normal business to take care of. So, in one way it was a very good period to do this during vacation.
Kerri, how about you?
I think the surprising thing as we went through this process was the depth of investigation that was done as part of due diligence. In hindsight, well of course, if you're getting ready to acquire a company, you're going to want to know all the nuts and bolts of the business. But it was very intensive to pull together and the timelines were pretty quick because both companies wanted to not sort of spin our wheels for a long time. Again, back to that distraction factor that I mentioned earlier, we wanted to either do the deal or not do the deal fairly quickly, so we had to provide a lot of information. Fortunately, we're pretty good at that, but a lot of information that it was sensitive at the time.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: Preparations for the M&A Process
We've come up to our half-hour mark, but we're going to keep going with our panelists for a bit longer. If you need to leave, we understand. Hopefully, you can pick the rest up on demand from our website.
Now, let's go back to you, Kerri. Were there things in this process that you felt particularly well prepared for?
Well, I think that one of the things that we really did well at as Datalight, is we had a very good system for keeping track of our customers. We have very well documented processes, which actually turned out to be one of the deal value points for TechSera, and we were able to sort of answer questions quickly. So, if somebody asks you, "well how many customers do you have in this segment or in this country?" And you're able to sort of go to a system and pull that information together, it makes the process much more smooth.
We were very well prepared when it comes to our products. We have a really bold cross product, really good positioning and messaging since before. When we brought this into this wider context, for sure it's a lot of hard work, but we have a great opportunity here. Now, working with a deal in Hong Kong with an enterprise-sized customer, this is a deal that we'd never had seen before. So, we are really excited.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: M&A Advice for Tech CEOs
What advice do you have for the tech CEOs in our audience today who are considering M&A?
We highly recommend hiring a professional advisor like Corum. We discovered when we attended a seminar, as I mentioned in 2018, that all of the information, all of the steps, all of the sequences necessary to successfully complete a transaction is really beyond the typical company, unless they have their own legal department, if they've been through transactions before, they're really ill-prepared and unprepared to go to market. So, we would strongly encourage any organization looking to test the market to see their value, perhaps sell their organization, to retain an organization like Corum.
Try to have a clear idea of why you want to sell. I mean, in our case it was not about selling. We were successful and we wanted to grow. So, our take on this was to go much wider internationally.
Advice number two is to for sure find the right partner or advisor in this kind of process. In this case, it was the Corum advisor, which helped a lot.
And advice number three is to, it sounds easy, but find the right buyer. I mean it's not only the money, it's also a lot about what the buyer can bring to the table. We had a lot of meetings with different companies, PE companies, saying that, "Okay, you can get money, we can play some senior board member in your board, and your CTOs can have like a yearly meeting where they can meet other companies in their portfolio of companies." But I mean, it was not really the things we were looking for. Make sure that you find the right buyer. Make the due diligence of the buyer and try to figure out what are the buyer objectives behind the scenes. Connected to that is make sure that the culture fit between the companies are good. And when we found Insight Software, one of the most important thing or when we were over in the US meeting the management team and so on, we really felt that we were the same. We were thinking the same kind of -- or in the same kind of way. And also, the Insight Software has a very good M&A team. So, the process from the point of time of the acquisition until now, when we are integrated, has been very smooth. And that's important to make sure that the buyer has planned for how to integrate.
I think one of the most important learnings for me through this process is you really have to keep your ego in check. As business owners, we invest a lot both of our time, of our money, and of our emotional commitment, to our babies as we grow them. And anytime you have somebody sort of looking very deeply at where you are and what you've done, there's always things that come up that aren't as perfect as you'd like to hope that they would be. And so, you have to sort of learn to let that go and go, "It is what it is." Yes, you've worked hard at building it, but it's not perfect. No company's perfect.
Seller’s Panel Discussion: What’s Next After the Deal?
And finally, what are you doing now that the deal is closed?
One owner was a silent owner. The two other owners, myself included, we've really been winding down. We're transitioning to the new executives. We have another company that we're going to be spending time with. And so we've been transitioning a number of executive items, leadership items to the new organization. And we intended to do that all along. We had that in the agreement from the start and so my role will go away here in the very short future and that'll be absorbed by the new organization.
We're now part of a bigger group. We have a lot of integration with systems and stuff's going on, for sure. But for me right now, it's very much about from the business side. Looking at our 2020 strategic game plan regarding marketing, sales, partners, implementation capacity, development plans, et cetera, to try to push this in 2020.
Right now I'm very involved in sort of integrating the two companies and making sure that we can get the one plus one equals three equation to work out. Since we have headquarters in Helsinki and then our North American headquarters in Seattle, it's been an interesting challenge to navigate the time zones and make sure that the two parts of the organization really start functioning as one.
Thank you, everyone. There's a lot of good experience and advice to unpack there and I know our audience appreciates your time.