Over the past 6 months, there have been a number of acquisitions in the political tech space including several in our portfolio. Mobilize, CallTimeAI, Outreach Circle, The Tuesday Company, and FactBase have all found a home at larger companies and have continued to do their work from a new perch.
We see these transactions as a sign that this market is becoming a healthy, thriving place to start and build businesses. New entrants in the markets are creating value that is attractive to acquirers. As a bonus, these exits have often provided value for the founders, employees, and investors in these companies – and while the returns are far from what you might see in other industries, they are better than many have predicted.
We anticipated this flurry of m&a activity after the 2020 election. Our industry is cyclical by nature and that cycle creates natural space for a sorting of the market and an alignment of priorities. These roll ups mean existing companies can have a larger impact and create space for new entrants as we look to the future.
These conversations are not without complications. Every acquisition includes some sacrifices and, while we are not decision makers in any of these deall, we work with our founders when helpful as they come to exact terms of an acquisition offer. Ultimately, the decision typically lies in their hands. While every situation is different, here are a few values we use as we offer advice to founders about exit opportunities:
- Team Satisfaction: The team that built and executed on the product vision for the company should be proud of the eventual exit. Founders and employees should not only share in the financial outcome of an acquisition, but also feel confident in the impact outcome. They should be excited about the power they helped create.
- Client Experience: To the extent that a company built alongside the customers they are serving, clients should be treated with respect in an acquisition process. This means allowing customers affordable access for a responsible period of time and ensuring the outcome aligns with the values heralded by clients.
- Value for Investors: The fiduciary responsibility of a company is to its investors. Any acquisition deal should keep the priorities of the investors in mind – both financial and with an impact lens.
- Impact: We are a double bottom line fund and our companies are in this work to create progressive outcomes as well as build successful businesses. Every acquisition should create the opportunity for even greater impact. Our hope is that every one of our companies stays in the hands of progressive organizations and vendors.
This space is stronger because of the m&a activity we have seen over the past 6 months. As investors, we continue to learn about how to set our companies up for success as they grow and how to coach founders to aspire to these values.