Generating Shareholder Value From AI: Strategic Value Requires A Tactical Mindset

Generating Shareholder Value From AI

AI is the most valuable space for investment and differentiation from the perspective of strategics in the space – however, those same strategics hold the cards by having the datasets to train and the applications to extract the true potential from AI start-ups / scale ups.
Wirecard scandal could give fintech a bad name

Wirecard Scandal Could Give Fintech a Bad Name

The spectacular blowup of German fintech darling Wirecard AG, which has seen $12 billion wiped off its market value in three days, is making some old-school bankers feel good about themselves.

How to approach a recession

How to approach a recession

In our Conversations series around growing successfully through the downturn, a 2nd clip from my interview with Stephen Kelly CEO of TechNation and former CEO of Sage.

The CFO's role in a downturn

The CFO's role in a downturn

The first in a series of 'Conversations' on navigating the post-COVID recessionary period, this one exploring how to augment the now-critical CFO function and spotlighting unit economics.

Keep this far apart - NYC Parks

How to close funding rounds when you cannot meet

Investors are like sharks, but not the way you might first think. They have to keep moving to stay alive, raising new funds every few years, and more importantly investing and re-investing in the best growth companies available. COVID poses the question: how do rounds close when travel and proximity are risky? Let’s consider how VCs, and founders, can adapt.

Saas MA valuations have quietly jumped 30 percent

SaaS M&A valuations have quietly jumped 30%

Software’s transition to SaaS has ramped M&A valuations of fast-growing SaaS businesses for some years now. By now, ordinarily prices would gradually drift down as ‘new’ becomes ‘normal,’ as we’ve seen recently in analytics, AI, and areas of fintech.

Funding Africa's potential

In addition to aiding Africa, let’s fund its potential

Africa receives $50b of aid each year, to address humanitarian, health, and education problems across Africa. Aid does life-changing work, from HIV treatment to construction, and plugs major gaps in continental governments’ ability to serve their 1.2b population.

Scale Up Sessions, Endeavour Nigeria - Magister Advisors

Scale-Up Session with Victor Basta

Scale-Up Sessions are workshops curated by Endeavor Nigeria for high-impact companies and their founders. This session was run by Victor Basta (Founder & Managing Partner, Magister Advisors).

MA Target Partners

What "exit preparation" really means

My recent interview at Target Partners CEO day, focusing on what "exit preparation" really means, the issues CEO's face in preparing for a high value M&A exit, and what to look out for in the 12+ months ahead of this life-changing event.

Europe tech unicorns

Are Europe’s tech unicorns really ‘worth’ all those billions?

Last week, German fintech N26 announced it had raised another $170m in its latest funding round, taking its total investment to date to more than $680m, according to Crunchbase, and elevating its valuation to a lofty $3.5bn. That’s for a company that says “profitability is not one of our core metrics”, and whose annual revenue is estimated to be around $17.5m (a healthy price-to-sales ratio of... 200).

Financing European Sector

Financing for the European tech sector has changed dramatically

In the past five years, there has been a sea change in the funding landscape for European technology. So much so that today many companies are opting to raise ever-larger growth rounds instead of preparing for a more "traditional" M&A exit. While this will enable a larger group of European companies to fund themselves to serious scale for the first time in history, it is already creating significant new challenges for CEO’s and fundamental issues for early backers in the sector.

Can a $2.5 Billion Banking Upstart Really Dislodge JPMorgan?

Monzo has been awarded the ultimate Silicon Valley seal of approval: A $144 million fundraising round led by Y Combinator, the biggest name in startup accelerators. The deal values the British banking app at $2.5 billion, twice what it was worth in the private markets last year. It has been given a license to lose money like never before as it tries to conquer America, the El Dorado for fintech challengers.

Why Lyft Surged When It Started Trading

Why Lyft Surged When It Started Trading

As Lyft ($LYFT) started trading on the Nasdaq Friday, Victor Basta, the managing partner of boutique merchant bank Magister Advisors, says the company is being undervalued. That, he says, is why the stock initially surged 20%.

Private equity techs best kept secret

Private equity – tech's best kept secret

In this guest post Victor Basta, managing director of boutique investment bank Magister Advisors and a specialist in the technology sector, examines the surge in private equity-backed late-stage technology funding, and the implications for the sector.

Lawyers say #Metoo clauses are being used in contracts, due diligence exercises and codes of conduct on both sides of the Atlantic © Reuters

Tech investors include #MeToo clauses in start-up deals

Tech investors are increasingly including “#MeToo” clauses in deals with start-ups, forcing entrepreneurs to disclose complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace, as more women speak out about sexism in the industry.

Digital Banking, a tough way to make money - as seen in FT Alphaville

Digital banking: a tough way to make money

It’s been a busy period for the UK’s fledgling digital banks. Since January, eight UK digital banks have collectively raised $600m and two challenger banks were acquired for $2B+.

To be hugely successful study failures

To be 'hugely successful,' study failures

Business coaching and success podcasts are a huge global industry. American coaches collect $1B+; no wonder 3x as many coach today as 10 years ago. And the number of 'how to succeed in business' podcasts are too many to count.

How to use core values to build a great company

How to use core values to build a great company

So many books have been written about how to win in business. The simplest way, in my experience, is to use core values fully in an organisation. It’s also one of the hardest things to get right.

Fin Tech Is Becoming Over Valued, Risking Future Exits

Fin-Tech Is Becoming Over-Valued, Risking Future Exits

Perhaps the single biggest tech investment area the last 5 years has been fin-tech. In Europe and the US, disruptors of everything from lending to foreign exchange have raised unprecedented capital to challenge banks and their kin:

For AI Startups more funding is often not the answer

For AI startups, more funding is often not the answer

One of the hottest areas for VC investment is AI/ML; artificial intelligence algorithms, related machine learning systems, neural networks, and back-end processing to produce insightful and self-learning applications.

Why the hung parliament isn't a big deal for UK tech

Why the hung parliament isn’t a big deal for UK tech

Confusion reigns about the impact a hung parliament will have on business confidence and, of course, whether the nation’s plans for Brexit will change. Naturally, this concern is magnified for sectors driving UK economic growth, with the tech and financial sectors foremost among them.

Should VC's invest in fin tech? The case for

Should VC’s Invest In Fin-tech? The Case For “No”

Since 2011, $60B of VC investment has gone into fin-tech globally. That’s 7,000 funding rounds, a staggering collective commitment by the venture industry to the future disruption of banking, trading and payments.

Hedge Fund Managers

Is this the end of venture capital as we know it?

We are in a perverse moment in the global venture capital industry: VCs are fast coming to resemble private hedge funds, and the more money they are able to raise, the worse-off startups are becoming. Capital is flowing into funds of all types, yet the rate of investment is shrinking rapidly.

Power management is the most valuable tech segment no one is talking about

Power management is the most valuable tech segment no one is talking about

Power management should be viewed as one of the largest single segments in the global IT industry, and a major source of future ‘unicorns’ (companies worth $1B+). We see the power sector being broken into two categories: those addressing the mobile device/network segment, and general power technologies for other applications.

Brexit has killed the London Tech IPO

Brexit Has Killed the London Tech IPO

Taking a successful tech company public on a London stock market has always been harder than onto NASDAQ. The market is much smaller, and the level of tech knowledge amongst bankers and analysts far less deep than US peers.

Look East Not West

Look East Not West

European tech can benefit hugely from Asian investors refocusing away from the US. We think 2017 will be a watershed year for Asian investment into European tech.

Perversely we think the most active ‘European’ destination will be the UK.

Magister Advisors year end tech M&A analysis

Magister Advisors year end tech M&A analysis

European technology has come of age in 2016, according to M&A advisory firm Magister Advisors’ annual review of the European technology M&A and investment landscape. Total M&A deal value has more than doubled in Europe in the last 12 months to $127.2BN.

Who can challenge the biggest social networks in the next decade?

Who can challenge the biggest social networks in the next decade?

Surprisingly, Payment Service Providers. It must be the hardest job in tech to raise money for a new social network. Facebook and Google together now command 2/3 of all new mobile ad spend, the life blood of any social network, leaving little room for anyone else.

Europe's Tech Industry is one of 2016's Biggest Winners

Europe’s tech industry is one of 2016’s biggest winners

The European technology industry has come of age in 2016, according to a recent Magister analysis. Unprecedented M&A interest from Asian buyers, together with a strong IPO market for the best European tech businesses, has driven a surge in “blockbuster” deals (greater than $5B+ in value).

Can Asian Investors Transform European Tech?

Can Asian Investors Transform European Tech?

Because China’s premier Xi Jinping loves football (soccer) local billionaires are falling over themselves buying European clubs. He must also love technology, judging by Chinese behaviour towards European technology companies.

Brexit uncertainty is the silent killer of uk tech

Brexit Uncertainty Is The “Silent Killer” of UK Tech

A Magister Advisors poll of the fastest-growing UK tech companies suggests half the key talent on average is British, 30% EU and 20% further afield. So Brexit’s uncertainty now demands half the UK’s best tech talent to rethink if they want to, or can, stay and perform.

Magister advisors europreneurs what if entrepreneurs ran europe

What if Entrepreneurs Ran Europe?

More entrepreneurs than ever are choosing to compete from Europe. 10 years ago most founders building international tech businesses would automatically move to the US.

Why Does Market-Tech Need To Consolidate?

Why Does Market-Tech Need To Consolidate?

Ad-tech or market-tech; call it what you will; the programmatic advertising and targeting industry has become a hugely complicated morass of 4,000 products, many with overlapping functionality and unclear benefits for end customers.

VCs are failing to ‘Buy Low, Sell High’

VCs Are Failing To ‘Buy Low, Sell High’

Venture capital investors across the US and Europe are failing to take full advantage of high-value “exit windows,” according to Magister’s 15-year analysis of VC and private equity (PE) exit activity. Our analysis suggests VCs are significantly better at investing than exiting.

The Connected Car Market has “Arrived”

The Connected Car Market has “Arrived”

GM just paid $1B+ to acquire 40-person self-driving technology vendor Cruise Automation; last year Continental AG paid $700m for Elektrobit’s automotive software business unit (full disclosure: Magister has advised Elektrobit).

Magister Update

Magister Update

After 5 years, 18 successful deals and $2B+ of value generated, Magister is evolving into two separate entities.

Blockchain & Bitcoin 2016: A survey of Global Leaders

Blockchain & Bitcoin 2016: A survey of Global Leaders

As Bitcoin and Blockchain investment fast approaches $1bn, we have spent the last three months speaking with over 30 of the leading Bitcoin and Blockchain companies globally (with c. $500m of total investment), plus industry groups, financial institutions and investors, to gain detailed insight and understanding of the development of the market and the direction these fascinating technologies will take in 2016.

How can SaaS Companies achieve a $100m+ M&A Exit?

How can SaaS Companies achieve a $100m+ M&A Exit?

Software as a Service (SaaS) has matured. Its elder statesman, Salesforce, is worth over $50B and nearly every private software company is now SaaS. The reasons are clear. SaaS businesses have much more certain future revenue than older “perpetual license” businesses, and can therefore grow more reliably. Also, SaaS companies have regularly received very high investment valuations, generally 5-10x revenue, and SaaS is the only model many software investors will invest in.

How To Explain Square’s Disappointing IPO Pricing

How To Explain Square’s Disappointing IPO Pricing

Cries of “shock wave” and “bursting bubble” greeted Square’s recent IPO pricing. It’s understandable when the IPO is $2B lower than Square’s last round only months ago, in a stock market that has remained stable throughout the year.

Why e-Procurement may be the Hottest B2B Investment Sector

Why e-Procurement may be the Hottest B2B Investment Sector

$1 billion of funding has gone into e-procurement companies since 2011. 2015 could see another $1 billion of funding, 4 times all of 2014’s investment level and by far the most intensive rate of new investment the space has ever seen.

At $25 a share, Twitter is a Logical Acquisition Target

At $25 a share, Twitter is a Logical Acquisition Target

As Twitter dips below its IPO price, the business needs to execute a strategy urgently that utility platform to a real product business. At $25 a share, Twitter would be worth materially more to a larger business that can accelerate its product and feature innovation. An acquisition, in the absence of that innovation, would appear far more likely today than six months ago.

What the coming Tech Crash could look like

What the coming Tech Crash could look like

Fifteen years after the dotcom collapse we see another tech crash approaching. ‘Bubble’ and ‘unicorn’ are entering the mainstream vernacular. We are becoming comfortably numb with tech company overvaluations.

How Banks can survive the Fintech Tsunami

How Banks can survive the Fintech Tsunami

The rise of next generation Fin Tech companies will trigger a wholesale restructuring of the banking sector. But banks can survive, maybe even prosper, by proactively focusing on becoming world-class ‘NetCo’s,’ standing behind and supporting thousands of ‘ServCo’ startups fighting for customers’ wallet-share across a wide range of financial transactions.

Strategic upheaval in the $1.6Tn Payments Market

Strategic upheaval in the $1.6Tn Payments Market

The payments market is changing more rapidly now than ever before. Both corporate and individual customers no longer tolerate paying large fees for what are essentially commodity services, transferring money securely.

The ‘Logic’ of Uber’s Uber-Round

The ‘Logic’ of Uber’s Uber-Round

A lot has been written about Uber’s latest financing round (mostly, about the reported of $50bn+ valuation), in the context of the current ‘herd’ of unicorns (apparently, 10 new horns sprouted in the last month).

Board Packs

Board Packs

Late stage growth companies often reveal far too much ‘dirty laundry’ in monthly packs prepared for their board meetings. In normal practice this is fine to stimulate debate and ensure transparency. But when that company is being sold in a high value M&A deal, these packs can give buyers cause to worry about things they might never have thought to ask.

Why we bet Acunu would be a High Value M&A Target

Why we bet Acunu would be a High Value M&A Target

One of the major themes we have pursued at Magister is big data infrastructure and analytics. Needless to say, despite the number of companies positioned as ‘big data’, actual leaders in the space are few and far between, all the more so in Europe.

Apple’s Watch: An ‘Over the Top’ Technology

Apple’s Watch: An ‘Over the Top’ Technology

Technology breakthroughs often focus on new operating systems, devices, or major semiconductor developments. But one of the most significant, yet under-reported, trends is for technology companies to ‘leapfrog’ each other with ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) technologies.

5 Mistakes in Tech M&A

5 Mistakes in Tech M&A

We’ve dealt with hundreds of tech buyers over 25 years. Apple and Oracle are head and shoulders above the rest, for the thorough, discreet, structured, and efficient way they execute a large number of deals each year.

World Number One Carrier Billing Company Created

World Number One Carrier Billing Company Created

We break our tradition of not publicizing our client work to congratulate the leadership of both Boku and mopay AG on today combining to create the world leader; Magister advised mopay on the transaction. We don’t often get to work on a deal which creates a real world market leader, reaching 5 billion mobile users in 80+ countries.

Uncharted waters for the Adtech M&A Wave

Uncharted waters for the Adtech M&A Wave

RocketFuel’s announced acquisition of [x+1] is the first major combination of two significant, independent AdTech companies in the current M&A wave, combining a leading DSP and DMP to create a more holistic (and more SaaS-like) platform.

Adtech on an M&A Wave

Adtech on an M&A Wave

$2bn of AdTech M&A Since February, with Enterprise Buyers In the Middle of the Froth.

Dilution (really) doesn’t matter

Dilution (really) doesn’t matter

Most founders contemplating a large €20m+ investment round immediately calculate their percentage ownership ‘post-dilution’ (meaning what they owned immediately before the funding round, versus what they own the second after it closes).

Suarez to Barcelona: A deal structuring lesson

Suarez to Barcelona: A deal structuring lesson

Let’s imagine Liverpool’s sale of Luis Suarez for £75m to Barcelona as an M&A deal that needs careful structuring. Without knowing the real deal terms, here’s how we think it should have been structured.

No such thing as a “European” investment round anymore

No such thing as a “European” investment round anymore

US venture investors are not coming to Europe, they are already here, in VERY large numbers. They’re such a big factor in the European funding scene that the whole concept of “US VCs” and ”European VCs” is a thing of the past.

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