High tech startups are key drivers of growth in today’s information economy. As it is coming of age, the number and the size of exits the Swiss economy is generating have started to become more visible. Startup exits are a good indicator of the maturity of the ecosystem and Switzerland is well placed to generate an ever increasing number of them in the coming years. This is also the expectation of Swiss Fintech Association’s John Hucker. It is also an essential driver for the launch of the Exit Accelerator with its first event happening on the 21st of June in Zurich.
When should the business focus on the exit strategy? Quite early on, the experts say. Planning ahead as the venture is taking shape will allow the entrepreneur to identify the right exit opportunity and decide to take it or not rather than facing outcome decided by others.
The importance of exits is well recognized. Venture Ideas @ EPFL asked in 2014 Swiss Start-up exits: Can we have more?. A well prepared exit involving a strategic corporate partner will allow the business to grow to the next level, often internationally thus maximizing the value for both sides, the conclusion goes.
And even if the exit does not happen immediately, the strategic collaboration focused on the innovation brings substantial benefits to both the large corporation and the innovative startup. In order for that partnership to flourish, expectations need to be managed carefully. WEF’s 2014 report titled Europe’s Competitiveness – Fostering Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship identified following benefits and risks of such collaboration:
87% of small and mid-size businesses have no exit plan according to Pamela Dennis, a successful US entrepreneur and adviser to both the small companies as well as Fortune 100 giants. In her recent book Exit Signs she builds a case for growing the business into a sellable, attractive and well documented venture while developing relationships with the potential strategic acquirer early in the business life cycle. This will, she says, allow the business to be bought at their terms when the time is ripe and avoid the fire sale of the company.
Entrepreneurs that lead their business to a successful exit have a story to tell that startups and more mature SMEs can learn from. Learning first hand from those who did it is second only to doing it yourself. Exit Accelerator looks forward to open the stage to such stories.
Exit Accelerator is a grass-roots, not-for-profit association, with the aim to boost the Swiss start-up and SME ecosystem by promoting conversations about exits. Created by entrepreneurs Rodney Reis, David Butler, and Sanja Fabrio, they believe that exits are one of the most important milestones in the life of a business. Companies grow and develop over multiple years, often with exits there is a change in leadership, and an opportunity appears for them to start building great new companies again. The money can be recycled and reinvested in the startup ecosystem, creating jobs, and supporting other innovative ventures.
At the upcoming launch event of Exit Accelerator on June 21, 2016 in Zurich we will discuss with accomplished entrepreneurs such as Marco Boella from Lemoptix (exit to Intel), Philipp Bolliger from Koubachi (exit to Husquarna), Mehdi Aminian from Jilion (exit to Dailymotion) and Joshua Krammes from SoftLayer (exit to IBM) and distinguished M&A professionals Thomas Wittig (WITTIGONIA), Colin Turner (RisingStar Ventures), Balthasar Wicki (Wicki Partners), Marco Superina (Credit Suisse) and Gregoire Michaux (RedCap Group) topics such as:
- The emotional impact of an exit for entrepreneurs
- Lessons learned, what could have been done differently, and the surprises
- Negotiation experience, working with advisors, and dealing with the stakeholders
Join us in this highly interactive session, come and share your story. Register at https://exitaccelerator-launchzh.eventbrite.com
- Geneva, July 6 at 11:45 in Fongit – Swiss startup incubator
- Lausanne, September (date to be announced shortly)