How to Maintain Your Leverage After You Sign an LOI

How to Maintain Your Leverage After You Sign an LOI

“This interview is with two business owners who bootstrapped their business instead of taking outside financing.  They were able to grow their business to 140 employees before they sold to a strategic buyer,” states Sam Thompson, a Minneapolis business broker and the president of Transitions In Business. “One technique they used to land sought-after employees was to offer equity in their business to many employees.”

Mike Watson and Ganesh Ramakrishna built Opex Analytics to 140 employees before they sold it to PE-backed LLamasoft in the fall of last year.

Opex is in the business of helping Fortune 500 companies get their products from a manufacturing plant into a customer’s hands. It’s what data geeks call supply chain design, and it’s a big business — especially these days when many people are working from home, and COVID-19 has changed the game for anyone who sells a physical product.

This episode illustrates the definition of a strategic acquisition: LLamasoft wanted to bring more AI to their customer’s decision making, and Opex was a seamless addition. There is lots to learn from listening to Mike and Ganesh, including:

  • How to maintain negotiating leverage (even after signing a Letter of Intent)
  • How to hire highly sought-after employees
  • How to bootstrap your way to 140 employees without raising money
  • Why service companies often fail to build products (and why the inverse is not true)
  • The intricacies of sharing equity with employees
  • Why diligence is like giving birth — painful at the time but worth it in the end

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