image of What Most People Don’t Tell You About Exiting Your Company - Mark Achler & Mert Hilmi Iseri
Monday, May 30, 2022

What Most People Don’t Tell You About Exiting Your Company - Mark Achler & Mert Hilmi Iseri

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Episode Details

Mark Achler and Mert Hilmi Iseri join us to discuss what they learned digging through the unknown world of mergers and acquisitions while writing their book. Confidentiality, bad outcomes, and wanting to keep things private are some of the many reasons the world of mergers and acquisitions are so opaque. Throughout the conversation, we explore why to view pitching as the beginning of a relationship rather than a mere transaction, why vulnerability and empathy should be at the root of your relationship with your board, the 4 components that make acquisitions work, and why you need to get used to rejection if you plan to sell your company.

Show notes

Follow Aram Melkoumov on Linkedin for highlight clips and DMs.

How much do you really know about exiting a company? Most people know very little, simply because there’s very little out there about the hush-hush world of mergers and acquisitions. That’s until today’s guests co-wrote their book Exit Right.

About Mert Hilmi Iseri

Mert is the co-author of Exit Right. He is an Entrepreneur In Residence at MATH Venture Partners and Ex-CEO of SwipeSense. During the episode, he narrates his rollercoaster journey at SwipeSense. It is this very journey, along with the extensive research insights he has acquired about exiting companies solidified his belief that “company performance is CEO performance.”

About Mark Achler
Mark is the Managing Director at MATH Venture Partners and co-author of Exit Right. Amongst other roles, he is also an Adjunct Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Mark tells stories of lessons he’s learned as a VC that have led him to prioritize empathy and vulnerability when building relationships with his CEOs.

Links We Mentioned:
Exit Right: How to Sell Your Startup, Maximize Your Return and Build Your Legacy by Mark Achler and Mert Hilmi Iseri:
Don’t Talk To Corp Dev by Paul Graham:

00:00 | Who is Mark Achler?
00:46 | Who is Mert Hilmi Iseri?
01:43 | What’s it like writing a book?
05:16 | You don’t know enough about selling your company. Here’s why.
07:19 | 3 reasons why there isn’t enough information about mergers and acquisitions
08:42 | How to get comfortable with rejection (and how it can be helpful)
12:19 | Not viewing pitching as a transaction
14:28 | 4 things that make acquisitions work (The FAIR Framework)
21:14 | Storytime: What happened when Mert’s company was running out of money?
30:40 | Painting a rosy picture to your board: should you do it?
33:57 | What entrepreneurs get WRONG about board meetings
37:56 | Having an annual exit talk
39:57 | What can bury a successful exit?

“If you’re fundraising, or if you’re selling, or if you’re fundraising, get ready to get said no to. This job is mostly about how you handle rejection.” [12:07]

“A transaction, a sale, isn’t a short term I give you something, you give me something. It’s the beginning of a long-term relationship.” [18:12]

“Most entrepreneurs, especially first-time entrepreneurs, think that a board meeting is reporting. Just giving information. I’m going to give financial information. I’m going to give sales numbers. I’m going to give the pipeline. It’s reporting. That’s not a great use of time. We can read. We can get those reports and read them ahead of time. The real value of a board meeting is when you have, you know, smart people around the table who are passionate about your business who can, who have scar tissue. We’ve lived through what you’re going through.” [33:57]

“We wrote this book about exits, but it turns out that the decisions you make at the beginning of your journey have an outsized impact at the end of your journey.” [39:16]

Connect with Our Guests
Mert Hilmi Iseri:
Mark Achler:

What is Off the Record with Aram?

Made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Off the Record is about the journey. It’s about fears, doubts, wins, and devastating losses. It’s about how people kept going no matter what to build their businesses, raise cash and hire the team. Here battle-tested CEOs and VCs share how they jumped out of the airplane and tried to assemble it on the way down.I hope you like it.

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