entepreneur, Finance, Strategic Finance, technology, Uncategorized

Leveraging the power of collaboration in tech companies

Tracing back to the advent of collaboration

From the year 2000, a massive shift occurred quietly to most, but daringly to a few. A few large organizations saw the change that was occurring. In 2007, when I was consulting with a large $Bn technology bellwether from my alma mater, I remember how this disruption, so new and so unique, was being viewed as the single largest transformation in the industry way before most of the world heard of this disruption. This arrived with the perfect storm co-created by cloud system deployment capabilities and the penetration of high speed internet. With these forces aligned, it created the SaaS disruption. It took 10 years though for its proliferation to be the product of choice for all industries. It uniquely positioned itself to productise systems and frameworks and create workflow environments which were hitherto accessible only to the big companies at a fraction of the expense. It did something else which was more succinct though. Now companies were suddenly getting familiar with having open systems and integrations and allowing outsiders in – a fundamental shift in thinking which has changed everything.

How has this affected collaboration?

A precondition to any collaboration is an open mind. Where one can freely discuss synergies than be worried about theft of intellectual property by sheer discussion itself. With an open system environment, companies began to see how great technology could be accessed by everyone for a fraction of the cost, establishing that letting someone in can save money. Now organizations needed a nudge to say that collaborations can add business value. In 2009, I remember how an acquisition by another big bellwether of a small technology outfit in Europe was of strategic importance to them. Making less than 1% of their own top-line, this large technology company was ready to take the plunge of letting in a small team of engineers join them rather than do what might come to them easier – build their own team. A surprising move, but it gave them access to a downward integration possibility which could get them into market 3 years sooner and maybe worth billions in years to come.

Why would a tech company have this internal conversation though?

Collab 1

Phase 4

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CFO, entepreneur, Finance, Investment Banking, Strategic Finance, Uncategorized, Valuation

How to value a running business for a stake sale – a practical approach

SFO Valuation Study

2017 was a harbinger of times to come. Reported PE exits in India hit an all-time high crossing Rs. 80,000 crores across over 300 deals (Rs. 377,000 crores in the US). This is apart from the thousands of stake sales which occurred across the country in the VC and Angel Investment space and thousands more not covered by the media houses owing to their private nature. Interestingly the Indian Government was also a significant participant as divestment measures were at an all-time high in 2017. But how different is a valuation for a stake sale? What does one need to do differently?

What differs?

Valuing a running business for investment is slightly different from valuing a business for a stake sale. The fundamental difference being an understanding of partnership in the future as against liquidating a position today. While an investment transaction may be quite satisfied in a multiple or DCF valuation, a stake sale/ secondary transaction requires establishment of a reasonable price for a transaction. While reasonability is a factor of the high price of ownership or auction fever (Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research) and buyer-seller expectation management, practitioners deploy more than one method to ensure that reasonableness can be as less subjective as possible.

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CFO, entepreneur, Finance, Innovation, Strategic Finance

How & Why Tech companies today are seeking help today

It may come as no shocker to tech firms across the world that ‘Tech development’ as an industry has been slowing down. Large enterprises don’t seem to be buying as frequently and fervently as before. Smaller development projects seem to have dried up. Growth estimates (Gartner Q1 2017) to 2020 hint at a 3% CAGR over the next 3 years.  At the same time, for the first time in history, 6 among the 10 most valuable firms in the world are technology companies! If the logic of stock price being indicative of future earnings, something seems to not add up. What is really happening and what should a tech company be doing?

Understanding it takes some retrospection.

What happened while I was working?

Over the 20-year period beginning in the mid-80s, there was a flurry of businesses which jumped on the convergence of affordable computing and leap in telecommunication and the opportunity it threw up for businesses across the world. Large enterprise technology development efforts with large organizations starting to implement technology as infrastructure to add efficiency in operations and bring data sets together became the new age conquerors of this portion of the information revolution. Some big names that emerged were the IBMs & Oracles of the world and closer to home, the Patni, Infosys and TCSs of the country.

Around 2005, a new buzzword emerged with the improvement in telecommunication ecosystems across the country – Cloud. Information could now be stored anywhere and accessed anywhere. One did not have to maintain physical infrastructure to be able to house information, which meant that a small business could now hire only the infrastructure they needed at the efficiency of a large data center. Smaller organizations now jumped in as infrastructure costs and setup costs was virtually nil and barriers to entry were virtually eliminated. A few years in, a tiny revolution was brewing with the name of SaaS. A new revenue model of charging for use and value rather than the committed models that existed. This picked up immediately as now the cost of subscribing to technology solution was close to nil. The ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ of early 2005 now made way for the ‘late majority’ in less than 5 years.

Business as usual was threatened for the first time.

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Business Setup, entepreneur, management

Startup: Is it really my cup of …..magic?

“Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”
― Ayn Rand

You want to be an entrepreneur.

You want to be a part of the start-up buzz.

You have an idea but what you really need is a kick-start.

If you identify yourself with one of the lines above, read on.

One doesn’t start a business just because he has an idea and wants to be a part of the new generation of entrepreneurs trying and doing new things and expanding the scope of business. To start with you need an idea, an idea which is feasible. An idea that you believe will change not just your life but others’ as well.

We speak to budding entrepreneurs and have worked with them over their journey from idea to enterprise. These are our views.

Differentiation

To be successful in an ocean of start-ups you need to reap on your “differentiators”. You may be creating a completely new product or category or another approach to convention. You need to get noticed by your differentiator, whether internally in your operations or externally, in terms of your product/ service.

Additional work hours to ensure delivery or goodies and freebies to your customers is like trying to make yourself heard in the noise of the crowd. When everybody in the crowd is shouting to be heard, you need to do more than just shout. You need to whisper that ‘change’.

Differentiation

http://bit.ly/BillGatesOnTED

Conviction

What makes you the next big thing, is conviction. You need to be a convict of your idea. Bound by it, measured by it and breathing it in, day in and day out.

The world around you must buzz about your conviction. People must talk about your conviction like gossip. You must be part renegade and part Rambo. Deep down, you must truly believe that in your idea is that something everyone never knew they wanted so bad till now. And your idea must be radically changing or solving a problem that they never knew they had or persistently had it. Slice of a large market pie, will leave you with just that.

Conviction

 http://bit.ly/TonyOnTED

DIY King + Knowhow Master

The world is full of Mr. Tom, Mr. Dick and Mr. Harry, who have an idea that other people also have. You may be Mr. Tom or one of the other two. That’s not a bad thing.  As long as you are able to do what others have failed to do and get the right mix of the other things that made the ones before you fall.

DIY Yourself

BUT, hear us out. There may be no prerequisites to be an entrepreneur. But not everyone will be a good one.

While there is no compulsion for an entrepreneur to have work experience, gaining experience in your field of interest helps. Think of it like a 3 dimensional matrix between work experience, DIY love and sense (common+business). Experience of being a part of an established business or in another startup wormhole teaches you structure and problem solving with faster decision-making. We have seen startup clients redesign their websites within 4 hours from when we have our sessions. A non-startup client made it a 3 month plan to rejig their website!

http://bit.ly/NewAgeIndustrialRevolution

Drive

2 very important sets of questions to answer before you jump your cushy job up is:

“Where are you going? Don’t you know uncharted territories are always longer than you can imagine and really lonely?”

“Why do I really want to do this? Is it the money you will make? The picture bulbs going off? The hordes of adoration? The jobs you will create? The people you will touch? The big change that’s going to touch a million people?”

The answers to these questions will help you set goals for your company and frame you vision for the next 10 years (anything longer and you’re kidding yourself!). Your vision is what will help you last beyond the 20 employee mark. If you aren’t able to envision it, hang on to your job. If it’s the money, hold onto your job! – You won’t see money till you’re 10 years in and will probably reach bankruptcy many times in your first 2 years. If it’s the fame, hold onto your job! – Only one in Ten thousand will be heard about. If it’s the adoration, hold onto your job! – You may not even get time to maintain your relationships? If it’s the other two, you don’t care about the first 4 anyway.

http://bit.ly/RSAnimateOnDrive

Drive

If you have an idea and are ready to stand by it come what may, do not wait for someone to validate. Take the risk and Jump right in.

 

START YOUR MOVEMENT