Selling a Startup? Use These Insider Tips to Get Your Startup Sold

December 20, 2017

As founder of your company, you are the best advocate for the business and actively serve as its only cheerleader. Founders carve out a space for a business, a space that didn’t exist prior to that moment in time. Whether you build the company to grow forever or you want to sell it in the long-term, selling a startup is not always easy.


How do you get your business noticed among all of the others in the marketplace? Are you representing it as it should be, with everything from product to team? Look no further than these insider tips to get your startup sold to Google.


What Do Acquirers Look For in a Startup?

Before getting into the details of these tips, remember a few details. Google and any other major acquirer is looking for a sound investment. Proving a worthwhile concept is about founding a company with:


  • Product: In the startup world, you need a minimum viable product. Are you solving a problem that people need to solve? There are plenty of ideas but is your idea relevant?
  • Market: Prove that customers or clients want your product or service with real financial results.
  • Technology: Aside from a product, be sure to bring in technology associated with your product.
  • Team: Some acquirers invest in people. Develop a team work investment.


Tip One: Lean on the Product

At the top of every list is looking at what acquirers hope to find in a startup. It might be a cliché since you’ve definitely heard it more than one time, or at least fifteen times, but products get noticed. A product needs to solve a meaningful problem and cover a customer base in need of a solution.


In a dream world, an ideal company hits and targets a narrow market. A specific market helps you find success in pitches. Focus on statistics like your startup value, customer cost of acquisition, customer acquisition strategy, and the previous cost of solving the problem.


Tip Two: Be Honest with Yourself

Be honest about your business numbers and also any gaps in your business strategy. Every acquisition involves a serious look under the hood of your business so no secrets about your financials, accounts, and true valuation can be hidden. Be honest about your numbers.


In addition, know the weaknesses of your potential acquirers in areas of strategy. For example, if Google spends serious money on its acquisitions of cloud companies – what makes you stronger than the others? Take your strength and match it to a weakness of your potential acquirer. In the case of this example, you’d be matching your business strength to the cloud weakness Google needs to cover.


Tip Three: Never Forget Your Partners or Your Competition

The first job of the CEO of your organization is to absorb, know, and recite valuable information as needed. The basics of a potential acquisition regularly begin with a solid partnership among acquirer and acquire.


To impress your commitment and also know the marketplace, you need to know your competition. Without constantly measuring them, you can’t track personal growth. Know information like:


  • Previous moves of the company
  • Know the current moves of the company
  • Key decision makers within the organization
  • Moment who works in the department you’d work in (if acquired)

Tip Four: Hire a Great Team

Your team is an asset, especially when dealing with a startup culture with intellectual property carrying major valuation. Variables in a sector change, products pivot to seemingly tangent uses or target markets, but a team remains constant. Acquirers often rank the quality of the team as a primary reason for acquisition or at least consideration.


Vet your team seriously, know their backgrounds, and move beyond the basics of hiring before onboarding. In a pitch, it’s good to know every detail of your team’s qualifications and refer to them as personal assets.


Tip Five: Get Some Googlers

Googlers. People that work at Google even have their own special name for their workforce. Ex-Googlers relate to one another because they are similar in intelligence, work ethic, and training. Use the connection of ex-Googlers on your team to get noticed.


A team with ex-Googlers means the company approves of your choices and intellectual standards.  In fact, Google is known for making an acquisition’s team go through a rigorous interview process, just like a new hire. If half of your team is ex-Google, this makes life easier for everyone involved.




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