Whether Fired or Tired, Young Guns Are Leaving Silicon Valley

With the fear of recession in sight, investors are becoming more cautious and sharpening their demands on start-ups.

In her November 10, 2022 article for Le Monde Caroline Talbot writes a subscriber only article about the recent trend of company founders exiting their companies as they grow and go public.

Talbot interviews Cassel Salpeter Chairman and Cofounder James Cassel among other sources to examine why these unicorn company founders are leaving even as their companies take off.

Citing increasing economic pressures for Silicon Valley, Talbot notes that shareholders and company maturity can take their toll on company founders known for their outside-the-box thinking.

Talbot notes the changes at Twitter culminating in Elon Musk seizing the helm as well as the departures of Ben Silbermann at Pinterest, Emily Weiss at Glossier and Joe Gebbia at Airbnb.

While highlighting how recession worries have investors demanding more control while cutting into founder freedoms, she underscores how some founders are able to find that Goldilocks fit and remain with their companies.

Among other examples when founders remained with their company after being acquired, she cites the $90 million sale of EveryMundo, which helps airlines sell tickets in real time, to Pros.

Click here to read the article.

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The Aaron’s Company acquired BrandSmart U.S.A.

  • Background: BrandsMart U.S.A. (“BrandsMart”), based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, is a leading Southeast U.S. appliance and electronics retailer, offering a wide selection of brands, and thousands of products, including appliances, consumer electronics and computers, furniture, and other home goods. 
  • Cassel Salpeter:
    • Served as financial advisor to the company
    • Facilitated the due dilligence process, working closely with the team to expeditiously and clearly answer acquirer’s questions
    • Assisted in the structuring, negotiating, and closing of the transaction
  • Challenges:
    • Ensured the desires were met to carry on the company legacy after decades of family ownership
    • As it was an unsolicited transaction, the seller was not fully prepared for the nuances of a sales process
    • Extensive due dilligence process without interrupting business, while working to meet the timing needs of a public company acquirer
  • Outcome: In April 2022, BrandsMart was acquired by The Aaron’s Company (NYSE: AAN), a leading technology-enabled, omnichannel provider of lease-to-own and purchase solutions with headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

PROS Holdings, inc. acquired EveryMundo

  • Background: EveryMundo (“EveryMundo, LLC”), based in Miami, FL, is the leader in SaaS fare marketing technology focused on helping airlines, travel, and events businesses maximize their reach and engagement, enabling deeper relationships with their customers across multiple channels to bypass third-party aggregators and drive direct booking opportunities.
  • Cassel Salpeter:
    • Served as financial advisor to the Company
    • Ran a focused, competitive sales process, identifying and contacting strategic and financial buyers
    • Successfully identified a strategic acquirer looking to gain greater market penetration and enhance its digital consumer engagement offerings
  • Challenges:
    • Helping potential buyers understand EveryMundo’s rapid growth trajectory, sustainability, and expansion into new adjacent markets
    • Maintaining tight timeline for transaction process without interfering with business growth trajectory
  • Outcome: In November 2021, EveryMundo was acquired by PROS Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PRO), a provider of SaaS solutions optimizing shopping and selling experiences with headquarters in Houston, TX.