This Wednesday’s return of 1 Million Cups at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce brought a presentation by Alese Stroud and Bridget Farris, founder of a startup company called Merger Match.
Stroud and Farris each have 30+ years experience in the financial technology industry. They have a track record of success with acquisition implementations and expertise in organizational change management.
Merger Match grades potential acquisitions using a proprietary predictive organizational assessment tool. Its goal is to improve long-term success of merged companies through the use of better data.
The company is still in its formative stages, but there are lessons for any startup business to learn from the two veteran founders.
Talk Business & Politics caught up with co-founder Alese Stroud for a three-question Q&A:
TB&P: Where did the idea for Merger Match spring from?
Stroud: Merger Match is an idea we had over a couple of beers and a napkin last fall that takes use of Bridget’s expertise in corporate capability maturity modeling and applies it to the due diligence process that people undergo when they’re merging companies and helps build something more predictive of their success.
TB&P: How big could this be, how revolutionary could this be?
Stroud: Revolutionary, I like that word. We definitely feel this is a revolutionary idea because the mergers and acquisitions market today has at least a 50% failure rate and some research that you’ll read says 83% failure rate. So that $3 trillion worth of acquisitions that happened last year, half of that money is at risk and is going to be sold on the auction market in 2-3 years. That’s a huge impact. We feel like companies that use our model will better understand how to make those implementations be successful long-term.
We grade the buyer against the seller and really articulate the gap in clear, actionable steps for them. That allows them to build a better implementation plan and hopefully save money.
Our biggest hurdle in getting to market is getting in front of people who will embrace using our model as opposed to doing due diligence the way they do it today.
TB&P: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever given or received?
Stroud: The best business advice I could give is to get a mentor – or six of them – and actually listen to them.
Stroud referenced an upcoming Arkansas Venture Center event that helps young companies find mentors.
On Monday, Jan. 26, AVC will host a Pre-Flight class accelerator program for early stage entrepreneurs. Read more here.