The best part about the ESD Alliance event last evening at the Cadence Headquarters in San Jose was that the topic material – how to prepare your enterprise to be acquired – is applicable to all manner of tech startups. And as the conversation was taped, the discussion will be available straightaway on the alliance website.
Of course, if you’re prepping for an acquisition you’ll need far more pointed advice than just this recorded conversation – you’ll need to hire experts to address your specific situation. Nonetheless, yesterday’s panel provided a great starting point.
Carefully moderated by Attorney Mark White [White Summers, Caffee & James LLP], who had clearly done his homework, each panelist added essential information to what was effectively a tutorial on pre-acquisition best practices.
Speakers included IP/Patent Attorney Dennis Fernandez [WhiteSummers], Tax Attorney Tom Maier [Fudderman Dupree], Investment Banker Neil Shroff [Orion Capital], Moodwire CEO Manu Chatterjee [founded Lampdesk, sold to Palm in 2007], and Silvaco GM for IP Warren Savage [founded IPextreme, sold to Silvaco earlier this year].
The conversation between these five gentlemen – two attorneys, a banker, and two CEOs who have survived acquisitions – was not at all glamorous. Instead, it was honest, calm, factual and amazingly short on hubris of any kind.
Turns out being acquired is a very humbling experience, that acknowledgment being one of the most important take-aways from the evening. Don’t go at the process with pretentiousness, because pride goeth before the fall, was the message.