Inside PJC
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Inside PJC

Introducing PJC Uncovered Season 2: The Corporate Development Season

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

When I sold my first company, I was deeply intrigued by the corporate development role at the acquirer. How do they decide what to buy? How do they decide what to pay? How do they decide when to walk away?

If you are an entrepreneur, understanding the M&A process is crucial, but it’s one area where you probably have very little experience. For our second podcast season, we decided to uncover some of the secrets of M&A by talking to corp dev leaders across the spectrum.

In this season, we talk to big companies that are active acquirers like IBM. We talk to private companies that do small acquisitions like Toast. We talk to companies that do acquisitions in older industries that are moving into more technology, like Culligan. We talk to Kevin Spain from Emergence to get a VC perspective on corporate development, and we talk to Miguel Vega from Cooley for an attorney’s perspective on the process.

Across all these interviews, we talk about the different ways corporate development groups are structured. Some focus mostly on M&A, while some make investments like venture firms, or drive partnerships and business development groups. We talk about how they approach acquisitions and what mistakes entrepreneurs commonly make.

There are a few key lessons that are consistent across our interviews:

  1. Relationships matter. Don’t be afraid to get to know a potential acquirer early, years before you are ready to sell. In fact, the acquisition will go smoother if you have an existing business relationship.
  2. Culture matters on both sides. Corp Dev leaders don’t do deals when the culture won’t match because the integration is unlikely to be successful.
  3. Private equity is becoming a bigger and bigger player in acquisition of tech companies.

But there is a lot more. If you are curious about how corporate development works, and want to learn more about the M&A process in particular, check out PJC Uncovered Season 2, and let us know what you think!

— — Rob May

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

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Rob May

Rob May

CTO/Founder at Dianthus, Author of a Machine Intelligence newsletter at inside.com/ai, former CEO at Talla and Backupify.