Exit Strategies Workshop – Amsterdam

BY Basil Peters

This was an Exit Strategies workshop near Amsterdam at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit – one of the top business schools in the Netherlands. The audience was angel investors, VCs and entrepreneurs from several countries in the region.

Key Points from Part 1 – Exits Have Changed

  • Many big parts of the financial ecosystem that worked for a hundred years
  • Don’t work at all anymore – the world has changed
  • The best and the brightest now work in startups
  • New research is helping us understand why this has changed
  • The ‘new’ big story is the much larger number of small exits
  • Most M&A transactions are under US$15 million
  • I believe exits are the best part of being an entrepreneur or investor

h2>Key Points from Part 2 – Exit Strategy

  • Much of what you hear about exits is wrong – dangerously wrong
  • There are many myths and misperceptions
  • And quite a few dirty secrets
  • The exit is just another business process
  • Companies should be sold, not bought
  • A focus on the exit is healthy
  • Every company should have a clear exit strategy
  • The exit strategy is a prerequisite to the financing plan
  • You do not have to be profitable to have a good exit
  • You only have to “prove the model”
  • Which is often the optimum time to exit

h2>Key Points from Part 3 – Exit Timing

  • The internet has accelerated everything
  • Entrepreneurs now build entire companies in a weekend
  • Case study – Vancouver company sold before its first year end
  • Typical exits take 6 to 18 months after you engage the professionals
  • How to determine the ideal timing for your company
  • Reasons entrepreneurs Ride It Over The Top
  • Not missing the wave – the CEO’s most important job
  • Unsolicited offers are rarely good news for the shareholders

h2>Key Points from Part 4 – Buyers Today

  • There is an enormous amount of capital looking for better returns
  • There are more types of buyers than we’ve ever had before
  • Big companies think “under $20 million is easy”
  • This is a sellers market
  • It’s fast moving and diverse
  • This is a golden era for entrepreneurs and angel investors

The PowerPoint for this talk is online here.