Merus Perspectives

March 2021

The M&A Playbook for Startup Founders

While many VC-backed founders envision a public offering as one of their long-term objectives, in reality it’s much more common for startup journeys to end up in a merger or acquisition (M&A). In fact, over 90% of startup exits are some form of M&A. And while some may think that an acquisition means the startup exit was not as impactful, that’s definitely not necessarily the case. Many acquisitions result in the company having just as much, or more, product, technology or financial impact than a possible IPO.

Unfortunately, we find that few founders have thought about how to maximize eventual M&A-related opportunities. We strongly believe it’s important for early-stage founders to have a strong knowledge base of the dynamics around M&A, even if opportunities are still a few years out. Understanding how opportunities can develop, building the right relationships and actually being prepared could make the difference between a rushed, sub-optimal process and a highly optimized, impactful and life-changing outcome.

The Merus team has extensive experience in M&A, on both sides of the table: the core team managed the investments and acquisitions groups at both Microsoft and Google, and over the last decade we've had many of our portfolio companies entertain and execute acquisition offers.

In this series, The M&A Playbook for Startup Founders, we’ll cover the following topics:

1. Considering M&A: when and why it's an option

2. Understanding buyers: why they acquire and how they think about M&A

3. Preparing the basics: what founders need to know and how to be ready

4. Managing the process: what to (not) do once you're in the thick of it

5. Optimizing the outcome: elements of the deal and what to look out for

Come back to this page or subscribe to our newsletter to receive the series in your inbox as we publish it in the coming weeks.

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