S5E9 How to sell your company for TOP DOLLAR With Adam Wolford

S5E9 – How to sell your company for TOP DOLLAR With Adam Wolford

How to sell your company for TOP DOLLAR With Adam Wolford.

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), preparation is key to success. Whether you are a founder looking to sell your business or navigating the complexities of M&A deals, being well-prepared can make a significant difference in the outcome. It can impact your valuation, negotiation power, and ultimately, the success of your business transactions.

In this episode of the Payback Time podcast show host Sean Tepper sits down with Adam Wolford the CEO and founder of Syncquire . They explore the critical role of preparation in the entrepreneurial journey and the M&A process.

The Importance of Preparation

Preparation is not just about having all your documents in order or knowing your numbers. It’s about being ready to face the challenges and opportunities that come your way. From anticipating buyer questions to ensuring your financials are accurate, preparation sets the foundation for a successful deal. As Adam mentioned in the podcast, one wrong cell in an Excel sheet can tank a deal. By being prepared, you can instill confidence in potential buyers and build trust in your business.

The journey of entrepreneurship is often filled with twists and turns, successes and failures. It’s essential to stay resilient and embrace the journey, even when faced with challenges. As Adam advised his younger self, enjoying the ride and staying true to your entrepreneurial spirit can lead to fulfilling and impactful outcomes. Every decision, every setback, and every success contributes to your growth and the impact you make in the world. So, embrace the entrepreneurial bug within you and follow your passion.

Grit, determination, and a growth mindset are essential qualities for any entrepreneur. The path to success is not always linear, and setbacks are part of the journey. By cultivating grit and resilience, you can weather the storms and keep moving forward towards your goals. As Adam shared, the mindset of “what if this goes right” can be a powerful motivator in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities. It’s about reframing your perspective and focusing on the positive outcomes.

The Importance of Adaptability

In the world of entrepreneurship and M&A, the ability to adapt, innovate, and prepare for the unexpected is crucial. Whether you’re bootstrapping your startup or considering venture capital funding, being prepared for the journey ahead can make all the difference. As Adam emphasized, preparation is a continuous process that involves not only getting your financials and data in order but also being mentally prepared for the challenges and successes that lie ahead. By embracing the mindset of preparation and staying focused on your goals, you can navigate the entrepreneurial landscape with confidence and resilience.

Business Breakthrough

Syncquire, Adam’s company, offers a smart data room for preparing businesses for sale, providing features like real-time data chat, document gap identification, and issue detection to enhance efficiency and reliability during the due diligence process.

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Platform Features

The discussion delves into Syncquire’s AI-powered capabilities, emphasizing the significance of anticipating buyer questions, ensuring data accuracy, and fostering trust by addressing potential inconsistencies or red flags in advance.

Revenue Model

While still in the pilot phase, Adam plans to adopt a traditional SaaS model with tiered pricing to ensure accessibility for various business sizes, considering the differing needs of businesses at various stages of growth.

Value Proposition

Adam stresses the critical role of preparation in maximizing business valuations and ensuring successful deals, underscoring the detrimental impact of numerical errors or inconsistencies on sale outcomes.

Sales and Marketing Strategy

Syncquire‘s focus on empowering the sell side of deals, particularly M&A advisors and entrepreneurs, showcases a strategic approach to distribution channels, emphasizing partnerships that offer broader market reach.

Lessons Learned

Adam reflects on the importance of preparing meticulously to navigate the complexities of the due diligence process, drawing from his experiences in consulting and entrepreneurship to underscore the value of being well-prepared.

Key Takeaway

The pivotal advice of thorough preparation resonates as a core theme, emphasizing its impact on deal outcomes and the significance of instilling confidence and trust in potential buyers through meticulous data readiness.

In conclusion, preparation is the cornerstone of success in entrepreneurship and M&A. It’s about more than just having your documents organized; it’s about being ready to face the opportunities and challenges that come your way. By cultivating a mindset of preparation, resilience, and grit, you can set yourself up for success in the entrepreneurial journey. So, embrace the journey, stay prepared, and remember that every setback is an opportunity for growth.

Key Timecodes

  • (00:54) – Show intro and background history
  • (06:29) – Understanding his business strategies
  • (08:27) – Deeper into his business tactics
  • (15:11) – How his pricing model works
  • (23:02) – Deeper into his M&A business philosophy
  • (37:38) – What are his growth and marketing strategies
  • (28:46) – A bit about sales and marketing
  • (32:43) – A key takeaway from the guest
  • (40:42) – Guest contacts


Show Intro (00:00)

Introducing Payback Time, the podcast for entrepreneurs looking to build and scale their startups, gain access to actionable tips, proven strategies, and valuable data that can help you avoid mistakes, skyrocket sales, and optimize profits. Your business breakthrough may just be an episode away.


Guest Intro (00:18)

My next guest has a background in chemical engineering and mergers and acquisitions, and right now, he’s building a company that helps business owners sell their businesses, that hold due diligence Process. We talk about in episode, Mistakes that can be made when a business owner tries to sell their business, especially mistakes with the numbers in their business. In some cases, it can devalue your business, which means you sell for less. In other cases, it can cancel the deal. You don’t We’re not that. So in this episode, we talk about his platform, mergers and acquisitions, and mistakes that entrepreneurs can avoid. Please welcome Adam Wolford.


Sean (00:54)

Adam, welcome to the show.


Adam (00:56)

Thanks, Sean. Great to have you here. Thanks so much.


Sean (00:58)

Yeah, thanks for joining me. But But before we dive in, could you go ahead and tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?


Adam (01:05)

Yeah. Some people know this. I actually did a ride. It’s called AIDS Lifecycle in 2017, which is a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to LA. So that’s known. But what is not known is that I did not prepare for the ride at all. I bought my bike three weeks before, rode it outside once, shipped it to California, and then just showed up to the ride. When I got there, I didn’t even know how to shift up or down. So I spent the first day in the highest gear. Definitely wouldn’t recommend this approach to the ride at all, but it was really an amazing ride. And we raised, I think, over $2 million for an AIDS Foundation in San Francisco as well as in LA. So really powerful ride. But Yeah, that is less known about the actual ride itself.


Sean (01:48)

Wow. And how long did that take?


Adam (01:51)

Yeah, it’s a seven-day ride. So you oscillate between doing 40 miles a day and up to 120 miles a day. So by the 120-mile day, I’d figured out the gears, so I was okay to make it up and down the hills. But yeah, it was a rude awakening the first day for sure.


Sean (02:06)

Bear with me here, audience. I could ask 20 questions, 200 questions on this journey. I’m curious here, do you get to pick where you stay, like what hotels, or did you map that out before?


Adam (02:19)

No. So you camp out. They provide a campsite. You set up your own tent. They bring your stuff for you. They do have a part of it called princessing, which is when you get a hotel near where where the campsite is. But I camped out every day because I wanted the full experience.


Sean (02:34)

Good for you. My man. That is incredible. Good for you. And then I have to ask here, getting over the Rockies or through, what did you do there? What was your route?


Adam (02:45)

Yeah, you go along US One for most of it, then you go inland. Transparently, I wasn’t super familiar with the West Coast geography, but there is one day that there’s a mile ride up a hill that’s at a maybe 25 % pitch, and they call it the Fly Buster because it’s just super brutal. So my only goal was to make it through that. And I did successfully, again, after figuring how to shift the gears, so I had no issues there.


Sean (03:09)

Good thing you figured that out before that climb. I always thought about that because I do like cycling. I’m more on a mountain biking, but I’m getting over or around or through the Rockies. I’m like, Gosh, that’s going to be a climb and a half. It’s going to be brutal.


Adam (03:23)



Sean (03:24)

All right, we’ll get to the business side here. We’ll take this offline, but that’s really a cool fact about yourself. Thanks for sharing. But before we dive into your business, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background?


Adam (03:36)

Sure. Yeah, you’ll have to bear with me. It’s a bit of a roller coaster. So I started my career as a chemical engineer. I earned my bachelor’s in Science and Chemical Engineering from Cornell. After that, I spent about nine months at Kraft Foods in between their Biscuit and Gum and Candy Innovation Labs as both a Process and Product Engineer. So you can think basically Willy Wanka with an undergrad degree. I, after doing that for a little while, realized that I didn’t like to be in the lab. It was super isolating. So I left that and pursued a career in consulting, as all good de facto engineers do. So went to become a product manager for the federal government, essentially working on healthcare. Gov, as well as supply chain management solution for the Department of State. After that, the federal government, which has its pros and cons, but one thing was it moved relatively slowly and I was looking for something a little more fast paced. So I pivoted over to the world of management consulting, specifically M&A Consulting. Focused probably about four years of my career there at Deloitte, where I focused in technology deals as well as consumer and health care a little bit, doing mergers, carve-outs, acquisitions, you name it.


Adam (04:49)

I touched it at some point all the way from diligence to day one readiness. So I really saw the whole life cycle there. I always knew that an MBA was on my horizon just because I didn’t have a formal business background. So after my time at Deloitte, I went to get my MBA at Kellogg Northwestern right in the middle of COVID, which was a whole experience, and probably you could do a whole podcast on that itself. But there I focused in entrepreneurship and venture capital. So on the venture capital I had worked at two funds. One was in the hardware, hard tech space, the other in traditional SaaS investing. And then on the entrepreneurship side, I interned at a B2B SaaS company, at a beauty and candle company on the West Coast, and then tried I had to start my own business at the time focused in the circular economy. We were trying to tackle basically how to connect consumers with resale marketplaces. We launched in March of 2020, which is right when COVID hit, and our whole thesis was to drive people to brick and mortar stores. So that quickly pivoted a couple of times before shutting that down after leaving business school.


Adam (05:52)

So after I left business school, I went actually to the B2B SaaS company that I had interned for running the product team there. So grew it from a team of zero to around five when I had left. I left early last year, basically to pursue my own thing. I caught the bug and really wanted to go early, early stage, an N equals one founder. So since then, I stood up my own consulting firm where I’ve been making money to keep the lights on, as well as exploring a few different product spaces, which led me ultimately to syncwire.


Sean (06:25)

Awesome. Love your background here. Thanks for sharing a lot of good experience. Let’s dive into the business here. So SINQUIYRE is the name of your company, correct?


Adam (06:35)

Yeah, definitely. And so the whole thesis behind it is to prepare founders and sellers for preparing their businesses for a sale. So what it essentially is, is the smart data room for a sell-side, either M&A advisors or founders, to help them through their financing process. It has all the bells and whistles of a regular data room, but there’s three key features which are backed by an AI large language model. The first is the ability to chat with data in real-time to get your answers. As anybody who’s gone through a financing round knows, there’s a lot of back and forth with buyers around different parts of the business, other data that they’re looking for. That really helps to solve for that issue and makes it more efficient there. The next is to identify what documents are missing in the first place. A lot of the time sellers will upload their data room, get it ready without realizing that there’s just pieces that are missing. Helping to identify those. Then last, but not least, and probably most importantly, is really just understanding issues or inconsistencies in documents before they go to market. Whether that be a true issue, for example, your balance sheet isn’t actually balanced, or if that’s just an inconsistency or a red flag from a buyer’s perspective, let’s say that your rent increased 100% last year, but your revenue only went up 20%, right?


Adam (07:51)

So starting to ask those questions, why did this happen? And the goal there really is to anticipate buyer questions and have a response before you get in front of them, really just building that trust, helping to drive business savviness, and ultimately saving what I call time and face. And the goal, if we get this right, is that the timeline of taking a product or your company to market should shorten. Your success in conversations with buyers should increase, and then ultimately, the diligence process should shorten because you’ve prepared yourself accordingly.


Sean (08:27)

Love it. This is very similar to a podcast interview I just did yesterday. The previous episode was with nick Thorne. I should actually make the introduction, but he’s got a business that helps with the creation of a company using AI. So everything from what does your business do? What are the problem statements, and then creating solutions written in simple terms against that. The AI experience actually helps you create a pitch deck, create a name for the company, secure a domain, create a logo, and get you completely ready to the point when When you want to start talking to customers, getting feedback. I’m looking at your business in a similar way where you’re using AI to really help get ready for those interviews, you could say, or almost sometimes interrogation sessions where you have a buyer asking questions, Why did this happen? Why did this happen? If they want to buy your company and you want to have full confidence going into those meetings and your platform for me, it really sounds like it does this, correct me if I’m wrong, really helps you get laser-focused so you’re polished and ready to go for that M&A experience.


Adam (09:38)

Yeah, definitely. And I mean, there’s implications even further. First and foremost, I think there’s implications for their downstream for even venture funding, right? Like these questions, the more that we see the world of FTX in which there was a ton of fraud, even in early stage seed Series A investments, I think investors are tightening their belts and getting more serious about what diligence looks like even at those early stages. For founders or entrepreneurs who have built businesses purely out of purpose and passion, sometimes these questions feel like they’re out of left field. If there’s a way to tee them up or set them up even in earlier financing rounds for building these where data rooms are leveraged and used, there’s a huge value add there for founders and entrepreneurs. I think to your point around, we’re talking a lot about AI. There’s a ton of companies that are coming up in this space as we’re all well aware. I think there’s different use cases for it, times when it makes sense, times when it doesn’t. I guess getting the data room piece right is really important to me. I think leveraging this technology on top of it only makes that human-computer interaction or partnership even stronger and helps to increase efficiencies as you take your sofa a financing round.


Adam (10:48)

That’s really the goal here, ultimately serving the sell side of the deal. There’s a multitude of products that are built for the buy side. I think the reason for that is that’s where a of the money is. You have these institutional investors, you have mega companies that are doing the purchasing. But my theory is really like, why are we empowering the folks with the capital on the buy side when the problem really exists on the sell So if we can solve it earlier, then the market should inherently become more efficient. Buyers will be happier because the data they’re looking at makes more sense. Sellers will be happier because the match that they’re getting, the valuations they’re seeing are increasing and growing and getting bigger and higher.


Sean (11:32)

This is more of a comment directed to the audience or the listeners here, just a heads up. When you’re building a business and somebody wants to buy you and you’re not prepared in those discussions, I’ve seen valuations, like coming in, for example, a business wants to buy your SaaS, let’s say, and they’re already expected to pay a seven X multiple, seven times revenue. Well, when you come to the table and you’re not organized, your balance sheet isn’t clean, stuff is not there, that valuation can drop from 7X down to three or four. And I’ve heard these stories over and over. And if you got a business, let’s say, that’s making a million a year, do the math. Seven times one million, you could exit for about seven million. You reduce that down to three or four. Now you’re selling for three to four million. Because you were unorganized, you just missed out on three or four million dollars. And that’s a small play example. I’ve heard and seen the big play examples, and it’s like being clean and having everything organized is so critical, and it sounds like your business can help solve that problem.


Adam (12:37)

Yeah, Sean, I think you’re spot on, especially as you’re thinking about the negotiation phase of evaluation of a company. And there are studies out there about how much it can actually increase your valuation. I mean, I think it’s very hard to measure because you’re measuring essentially trust. If I’m the buyer, do I trust that what you’re showing me is correct? I think the other piece of this really is, yes, the evaluation up front, you get to the LOI phase and you dive in and do due diligence. I think during that phase, there’s other things that are uncovered that some people try to hide. You keep the skeletons in the closet. And to a certain extent, I think some of that makes sense. And there’s timing when you release information. But what you’ll also see is that If your information is cleaner and more correct, the valuation you’re seeing in the LOI and what the ultimate offer is should be a lot closer. I’ve seen deals get written down because we discovered you have X, Y, and Z thing during the diligence process. You You have a rent agreement that is putting debt on your books.


Adam (13:34)

You have a loan we didn’t know about, all of these little things that nickel and dime you down from, let’s say, seven million to five. And even that’s a $2 million difference. So I think the preparedness is really important, and it’s such a big pain point, I want to say, for founders. I’ve talked to so many founders that have exited their companies, made seven plus figures, and you hear comments like, It was the worst experience I ever had. I have PTSD. This was miserable. And all I can think is, You’re a multimillionaire. How can you feel this way? And I think part of it is really like, you don’t know what you don’t know heading into the process. And so you’re thrown in headfirst. You’re dealing with requests out of left field. You’re trying to balance a lot of different moving parts. And if you can really get yourself organized before going in there, you can really lessen the pain and focus more on the negotiation, the deal, keeping the operations of your company up and running, which only helps the drive value. So there’s just a lot of benefits in making I’m sure you’re prepared to take your asset to market.


Sean (14:33)

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Adam (15:22)

Yeah, it’s a great question. Frankly, we are still in our pilot phase, so not totally honed in on the exact business model now, but I already have in my brain how it will work. It’ll be a traditional SaaS model like you’re talking about with a tiered setup. The big thing for me is, again, because I’m trying to solve this on the sell side, and really it’s a founder product built for founders on the sell side, I want to make sure it’s accessible. What you need at a, let’s say, Series A from a diligence data room perspective is not what you need from an M&A at tens of millions of dollars. What does that look like for the product and how do we price that accordingly is really important to me. So that’s still in the works behind the scenes. But yeah, we’re currently piloting this. And if any listeners are interested in being involved in the pilot, feel free to reach out. We’re close to capacity, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say I would add some more folks. So yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity.


Sean (16:19)

Get the feedback on the tool, right? That’s how I started Tykr. How I started the model is bring a bunch of people on for free and get that feedback and and make it better and then start monetizing it. So it sounds like you’re in that early journey.


Adam (16:35)

Definitely. It’s exciting for sure.


Sean (16:37)

For sure. Now, it sounds like your model, M&A, especially if you’re helping with that experience, You would probably share a percentage of the sale. Is that part of your model as well? If you could help them negotiate a higher sell price, you would like to think you’d be rewarded in that?


Adam (16:57)

Yeah, right now, that’s not built into the model, and there’s two reasons for that. One of which is we’re working with advisors as well as part of our customer base. Their model is obviously work with these clients and take a cut. However, we’re trying to make that process more efficient as well. Because they’re a customer base, the chunk of the asset doesn’t count. Another piece is that we’re not really unlocking the matching with the buyer part of this process. We’re really just making sure that you’re prepared, but it would still be on the founders to go out and source these folks, get in touch with them, et cetera. At this current time, we’re not taking a share. I mean, in the future, how the platform or product would develop, that definitely could and might change. But right now, we’re really thinking about it as how do we empower founders to take themselves to market and be able to capture all of the value that they’re able to create through their preparedness, their network, and then obviously the long process of an M&A life cycle.


Sean (17:56)

It sounds like very much a B2B SaaS business. I always like brainstorming, so you’re probably thinking about some free tier, bring them on, get them used to the tool, and then they see the value. It’s product-led growth. They see the features they want, they know they need, and they can upgrade when they’re ready for some Exactly.


Adam (18:17)

Yeah. And then there’s also implications, just tearing a page from Carta’s playbook. They went to private equity and venture capital funds and said, It’s okay if you don’t want to invest in us, but you should force your port code or your company is trying to invest to use us. So their cap table is clean. And I wonder if there’s a world in which there’s value for this, even on the buyer side. You know the data room will always look a certain way. You’ll be able to navigate it a certain way. You’ll be able to query the data. You know that the data that’s in there can be trusted or at least is explained. So there’s reverberating implications that live outside of just making sure that a founder is ready. But also if you’re using this tool, buyers also know what to expect. It should ease some of those conversations upfront versus what I’ve seen, even at the tens of millions of dollars, it’s an exchange of a Google Doc, it’s an email document back and forth that’s using some solutions that are in the marketplace that are not really built at this level for this.


Adam (19:17)

So, yeah, a lot of different stakeholders in the process here. Sure.


Sean (19:22)

Now, you’re 100% owner, you’re the founder, is that correct?


Adam (19:25)

Yeah, founder and CEO. So I spent about a year ideating, trying I had to find an idea. I spent some time in the productivity space, in the real estate space, and then landed in this space. We launched more officially in January. It was since pivoted the idea. Now working on a true MVP and getting folks into the pilot is where we are today. I would say towards the end of the year, we’re going to be thinking about a capital raise if the pilot goes well, just so we can accelerate and build and distribute this to market, just because I truly believe it’s so needed and really will end up helping ease the overall financing process.


Sean (20:06)

And then who’s building the tech? Do you have an offshore’s team or who’s doing the code?


Adam (20:12)

No, I am currently working with a potential co founder. I say potential because I think it’s really important that, obviously, you vet the team that you’re bringing in, and I want them to enjoy the experience just as much as I do and be just as excited. Working on the initial, some pieces the initial MVP with a co founder, and then eventually I’d onboard them. This decision is one that I’ve thought about numerous amounts of times, and I’ve gotten advice all the way from just outsource it and then go from there to, yes, you definitely need this person on your team. Where I skewed as more towards the latter, and really that’s for three key reasons. First and foremost, that’s the biggest gap in my talent repertoire. I can do almost everything but code, so I keep hitting a wall where I’m ready to test and I can’t really bring it other than some no code or Figma files that I’ve been able to mock up, and I’m by no means a designer. The second one is that I really just want somebody in the trenches with me. I’m definitely a collaborative person, and I think having somebody there to help me think through some of these decisions, Sean, these questions that you’re asking even is super helpful.


Adam (21:20)

I have my point of view, and luckily, I have an amazing network of mentors that I can bounce these ideas off of. But I think nothing really beats having somebody with you. I think point three ties to that is I want to be able to celebrate small wins with somebody. And I think a lot of the times, even getting somebody to sign up for my pilot, that feels like a big win to me. But when I tell other folks, it doesn’t really resonate as much. So having somebody being able to be part of the journey and just building with another person, I think, is part of the fun of this startup experience.


Sean (21:54)

I assume this other person, like yourself, they have… Well, you’re not full-time somewhere. You’re doing consulting to bring in cash flow. Does this other person do the same or do they work full-time for another company?


Adam (22:05)

Yeah, they are doing something similar. They just left a previous role. They are in the mix of freelancing a little bit, but they’re part-time on this as well, which I know there’s another school of thought out here of hit it hard for completely full-time on something versus let it flow. For me, this idea was born out of the service services that I’m doing. I’m doing two M&A deals right now, and as part of that, I feel the pain firsthand of what it’s like to manage a data room. If I had just abandoned everything and dove into this headfirst, I feel like there’s a lot of nuance that I would have missed along the way. For me, it’s important to maintain some of those ties. Talk to me in a year when I’m on the other side and I can tell you whether or not I should have been full-time versus more part-time. But for now, it makes the most sense to me, and it all helps me think about the product with a unique light.


Sean (23:02)

You can speak to this a little bit because you’ve had other businesses or another business, and it was not a success. I’ve had plenty of failures in business life. And I found that You definitely want to bootstrap until the point in time when you are definitely generating some serious revenue. And it doesn’t have to match your previous salary, but it should be pretty close. And that’s when you know you’ve got momentum, because believe it or not, there’s people out there, they try to think, Okay, so I’m only putting in 10 to 15 hours, but if I could put in 40 hours, it’s going to grow three times faster. And that is actually not true. And there’s a lot of people who have built businesses and sold. You can work as hard and as much as you want, but it just does not move the needle. What does is that product market fit and the right channel partners in place. And getting there does not require your full-time effort. You can do this part-time, you can keep going. And And that’s exactly what you’re doing now or continue doing. Because you’re going to know, there’s people out there that you will know the moment when it’s time to go.


Sean (24:08)

We’re pretty close. For example, with Tykr, I bootstrapped it three years until the revenue was close to what I was looking for. It wasn’t exactly where I wanted it, but I’m like, close enough, let’s do this. But it’s monetized. There’s product-market fit, churn is reducing. All the boxes are being checked, and it takes some time, but you’ll hit that point. Now, I have some advice here for the partner situation, and I’ve learned this lesson in the past is I tell people, go a year with a handshake partnership because you’re going to go through some trials, some tribulations, making decisions together. You’re going to figure out how this person works. And then when you near the point when you’re making money, then that’s, okay, sign an operating agreement, do a partnership split, whatever. If you use Carta or we use WeVester for our cap table. It’s like, okay, then put people on the cap table until then. You’re working on a product, you’re here to solve problems and a story. Don’t, right?


Adam (25:10)

Yeah, I totally agree. I think that’s definitely my mentality as well. I think there’s so many different schools of thoughts. And at the end of the day, I think it is, one, it depends on your industry, right? If you’re trying to build some deep tech product where you need a ton of capital investment up front to build it, then sure, go raise capital. If you’re building a tech solution that you can no code, code until you’ve proved to be MVP and found some initial customers, then I think it’s a different story. I think you ultimately have to decide what is personally fulfilling for you. There’s stories of people raising a ton of venture capital funding, which on paper you might be like, wow, this person is so successful. Then at exit, because of different factors, they end up making next to nothing versus people who bootstrap a business to a million bucks, take home 500K, call it a day. I think those Those things are really dependent on, first of all, what you’re building and how you want to build it. But I am squarely in your school of thought. I do think there’s definitely a world where venture capital is super helpful in this space.


Adam (26:12)

I also think there’s a world in which you take on capital too early and then have to start. That’s where we’re seeing all these creative, I’m in my A2, B round, I’m in my B3, C round. It’s all these people trying to put together rounds because they maybe didn’t get the traction that they needed. There’s a myriad of factors that lead to that. But yeah, for me, I think right now, just staying bootstrapped on it, continuing to talk to as many customers as I can, getting mocks of the product in front of them, building an MVP, and then really seeing if what I’m building makes sense, that’s when I’ll start to get double down on whether it makes sense to go raise the venture capital, to really sign a co founder agreement, all that.


Sean (26:53)

I 100 % agree with you. I’ve talked to other people about this, too, is if you can maintain the high ground, meaning you are in control You don’t have a group of investors and a board of directors trying to steer the ship, and sometimes they can be trying to steer it another direction. If you don’t have any of that, you can call the shots, get some revenue, increase that valuation, and then bring on capital, and your dilution will be less. The quick fun story here is we at Tykr, we study a lot of public companies, and sometimes I’ll look into, okay, so it’s a public company. The founder is still the CEO. What is their ownership percentage? And I’ve looked at some of those percentages, and because they go through their seed round, A round, B round, C round, then go public, I’m seeing percentage of ownership, 2%, 3%, 4. It’s like the dilution is magnificent.


Adam (27:48)

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, if you get to the public point, maybe 2% of some huge amount is meaningful. I mean, it’s about the money to a certain extent, but I also think the impact. If taking that venture funding meant that you were able to build some billion plus dollar company and that feels super important to you, then that’s definitely a path to do it. But it’s not the only path. I think what I’ve seen in the entrepreneurship space, especially now that I’m deeper into it a year and change on my own, is there’s definitely those schools of thought of bootstrapping versus venture capital, and sometimes it feels like they’re at odds. But from my perspective, they’re just two sides of the same coin. It It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, really. And at the end of the day, it also depends on your model. Are you even a venture case? Does it make sense to go get venture funding, or are you going to be pushed to the brink of ultimately extinction just because you took on this capital early on in your journey? Right.


Sean (28:47)

Let’s transition to sales and marketing. I know you’re early in the journey, but you hit on something that was really a good idea, which is like what Carta did, cap table management tool. You go to funds. Instead of going customer to customer to customer, one to to one to one ratio, I always think about the distribution play channel partners or some strategic partnership. And are you thinking about that as who do you connect with that could introduce it to 10 business or 20 or 100.


Adam (29:17)

Yeah. And I think that’s why so far as the pilot of the product, I’m starting with the sell-side M&A advisors, right? Because they’re working with 5 to 10 to upwards of 20, depending on the advisory, with different people trying to sell their business. That just means more rev cycles on the product. It means ultimately helping to grow distribution, which, as we know, leads to wins for a lot of startups. That’s always been top of mind as we’ve been developing the product is what does this look like to be a multi a long piece of the puzzle. Definitely going to venture funds as well, private equity funds. There’s also a world in which this lives with the buy-side as a secondary outcome. It’s by no means how I’m designing the product, but I’ve seen deals where the buy-side actually gives the data room and says, Here’s the data room we want to use. Here’s our list of things we want to plug in. Also, what does that look like if they’re interested in using the product? Obviously, on the buy-side, they’re seeing a lot more deals than maybe you would if you’re just exiting your company on your own.


Adam (30:20)

But I think ultimately, those distribution channels make a lot of sense in just finding those partnerships. I’ve talked to a lot of buy-side advisors that are like, Sign us up to look at the buyer view. To sign us up once you have a company. We want to see what this looks like, what it feels like. For sure. So lots of positive feedback on that side as well. But just trying to stay laser-focused on what does it look like to prepare a company to sell versus on the other side, which is really just consuming that data.


Sean (30:47)

I love it. Overall, helping the sell side as opposed to the buy side, because the buy side has the money, they have the tools, they have the people, whereas the sell side, what are people doing to empower those entrepreneurs.


Adam (31:01)

Yeah, exactly. And I think the systems, the world of financing and capital in general, obviously, the more capital you have, the more. And I think at a certain point, sometimes that relationship for a founder is helpful. You might find a VC who gives you the money that you need to accelerate you. They’re great mentors. They sit on your board, they connect you. There is that side of the coin as well. But for me, it’s like, how do you balance the equation? There’s an synchronous distribution of information. The buyers know what they’re going to ask. They know what’s important to them. So how do we empower sellers to predict that, prepare their information so that they’re not caught on the back of their heels, but can really go back and forth with the buyers and sometimes what feels like a grill session, but they’re really just trying to understand the investment and make sure that it’s good for their business, right? And everybody can respect that. So it’s more so about leveling the data playing field there using all of the available information information, is how I think about it.


Sean (32:03)

Yeah, that’s good. I like how you phrase that more delicately than I did earlier in the episode, which is the interrogation session. You and I, you worked in the pressure cooker of management consulting. For larger companies. Deloitte, for example. I’ve worked for a lot of big businesses. You get into those meetings and the rapid fire questions and interrogation, where are things at? What do the numbers look like? Why is it not here? You know how it goes. And it’s like, Now, this is exhausting. But if you can come prepared with the data, with the financials, everything, then you feel like you’re in the high ground in that conversation you’re not being almost talked down to.


Adam (32:42)

Yeah, I totally agree. Totally agree.


Sean (32:45)

Well, before we jump to the rapid fire round, what is one key takeaway you can give my audience?


Adam (32:52)

Yeah, I think this applies both from a financing perspective as well as an M&A perspective. And I say financing like venture finance. Financing. But to me, it’s all about prepare, prepare, prepare. And I can’t say it enough. I think the more that you’re ready to go to market, the better off you’ll be. And lacking preparation not only can hurt your valuation, but can actually kill your whole deal. I’ve seen conversations where one cell on an Excel sheet can tank a deal or write down a valuation from eight figures to seven figures. And to me, that’s a big miss. And it feels painful sometimes to spend a lot of time like, why are we doing this? We’re not even sure if this is going to be asked directly or what we’re doing. I think without some of these tools, it’s hard to really get yourself prepared. But getting yourself prepared well and being able to be on the other side of those questions with really strong responses, or at least knowing what the red flags might be from a buyer’s perspective, helps you not only when they ask the question directly, but also just positioning yourself and thinking about how you message that, what your pitch deck, what your teaser looks like, Then ultimately, the more prepared you are, I think the better the outcome in general.


Adam (34:05)

And this is why people hire M&A advisors and why people are bringing these people to the table. It’s really that confidence and that trust in your own process. So So for me, my one piece of advice is prepare, and there’s so much information that’s readily available to help you do that even without a tool in the marketplace. I just implore anybody who’s interested in that piece to get themselves ready for a deal.


Sean (34:30)

Isn’t that a sobering comment you made a minute or two ago? One wrong sell in an Excel sheet can tank a deal.


Adam (34:39)



Sean (34:40)



Adam (34:41)

Yeah. Yeah. And the reason for that, I think, as you think about the human psyche here, buyers are making a big investment, obviously. And it’s not like venture where you can take a chunk of the business. It’s like in an M&A, you’re taking the whole entire business, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes it’s not even about what’s in the documents themselves, but it’s really breaking that trust that leads to some of these broken deals, to the decreased valuation. It’s like, if you can’t even get this information that you’re presenting to your investor correct, how can I trust that the rest of the business is run well? It’s usually the case that it is. Founders typically got these business to a point. They’re great operators. Yes, every startup has their own set of issues, but on the whole, they’re moving in the right direction. But I think when you go to present yourself like that and try to be in a professional setting and the information is all missed, what’s in the IM does not match what’s in the model, does not match what’s in the teaser, you get a lot of these questions, then it’s hard to know what data is correct.


Sean (35:38)

Right on. All right, let’s dive into the rapid fire round. This is part of the episode where we get to find out who Adam really is. If you can. Yes, indeed. Here we go. If you can try to answer each question in about 15 seconds or less. You ready? All right. What is your favorite podcast?


Adam (35:55)

Yeah, I’ll go a little contrary here. Obviously, I listened to all the typical ones all in, be from the top, how I Built I set it up, but I recently found one that’s actually defunct now, but it was called Lessons from a Failed Startup. It was 10 episodes or so, but when I was starting this journey, and even now, I think hearing from the other, let’s call it 90% that fail, was motivation to keep going. And you hear what they’re up to now, and it’s always these great stories. Sean, what you hinted to earlier is it takes a couple of failures to get to the point that’s part of the process. So for me, really sobering to hear.


Sean (36:26)

That’s cool. All right. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?


Adam (36:30)

Great question. I just reread Grit, which I know is an oldie, but a goodie. I think as I was moving through the journey, I just wanted to be reminded of what it looks like just to stick with something for a long time and see how that amount of grit can lead to an ultimate successful outcome.


Sean (36:46)

All right. What is your favorite movie?


Adam (36:48)

This is going to be my most embarrassing. I mean, probably the one I’ve watched the most is like, Mean Girls or some Disney movie with my nieces and nephews. But one I saw most recently that has really resonated is Oppenheimer, and I think it’s an ex-chemical engineer was good. But I think at the end of the day, you’re reminded that what you’re building makes sure that it has a positive impact on the world, and you felt it emotionally for him what it looked like not to do that.


Sean (37:11)

Yeah, powerful movie for sure. All right. What is the worst advice you ever received?


Adam (37:17)

Yeah, this is a great one. My college advisor told me to, when I graduated from undergrad, follow the name brand. And so I ended up going to work for these mega consulting firms, which I learned a lot, and I don’t regret it for a minute because I think every part of your journey gets you to where you are today. But I think it took the better half of the year to unlearnt some bad behaviors from that and learn what it feels like to actually fail, to not be prepared, to make decisions with limited data. I think I could have shortcuted some of that. I if I was a little more contrarian in my approach. So that’s probably the one thing that I wish I would have done maybe a little bit. Sure.


Sean (37:50)

I love that. That’s a great, quick story there. All right, flip that equation. What’s the best advice you ever received?


Adam (37:57)

Yeah, I’ll apply this mostly to the startup. It’s It’s not advice, but I think it’s more of a mindset, which is a mentor said this to me as I was trying to think through an idea and picking out everything that could be wrong with it was what if it goes right? And asking yourself that question, what happens if you get this right? And I think for me, that has always been super powerful just to hinge on to as I’m building because there’s so many different places that it can go wrong, as everybody knows. But it’s really anchoring just to think about what does the world look like if this goes right?


Sean (38:26)

That’s one of those questions that can give you chills. What if this goes right? Like that right there. That makes you wake up and be like, Oh, yeah.


Adam (38:37)

What if you do get this right? It’s helpful to reframe. Yeah, exactly. Sometimes you’re making decisions and you’re like, This could go terribly wrong, but what if it does go right? And I think it helps to reframe a lot of this process, which is very, very difficult.


Sean (38:48)

Yeah, that’s great. All right, and last question, here’s a time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?


Adam (38:57)

I would visit 18-year-old Adam, fresh into college. I just started as a chemical engineer. I would tell myself to switch to computer engineering so that I could be more technical. The second thing is I think I would tell myself to listen to the entrepreneurial bug that was with me at the time, but I chose to ignore following that big name path. And then I think the last piece has really just enjoyed the ride. I feel like so much of college in your early 20s in your career is really about trying to climb up a ladder. I can speak to it directly because I was at big consulting then went to business school. I was really in that flywheel. And I had such a great time, and I wish I would have looked back and really enjoyed the ride a little bit more. And I think that’s advice that everybody can receive and probably can resonate with. Right. So that’s what I tell younger self.


Sean (39:44)

And very inspirational. There are people out there that aspire for that journey to climb the ladder. And then there’s that little part of them that’s like, Hey, I want to be an entrepreneur. Let’s take this path here. We’re going to take a hard ride.


Adam (39:57)

Yeah. There’s days when I’m like, What did I I do. I had it made in the shade. But I think part of it is you have to just think about it as, obviously, everybody is working in order to make a living and care for themselves and their future generations, but also just the question of impact. And I think when I was leaving business school and I decided to not go back to consulting, the question to me was, what is the impact of my career and my time building something? And am I going to build another deck that maybe makes a Fortune 500 company grow some more? And will I have impact? Sure. And there’s different ways to do it. But for me, it felt more salient to pursue the startup route. Crazy as it sounds. Again, talk to me in a year when we’re deeper in here.


Sean (40:38)

We’ll get you back on in a year or less, for sure. Well, I really enjoyed this episode, Adam. Very inspirational. Love the takeaways. And where can the audience reach you?


Adam (40:49)

Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn, obviously. And then my email is Adam, obviously, A-D-A-M at singquire, S-Y-N-C-Q-U-I-R-E. Com. Com. So feel free to email me or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Happy to have any conversations.


Sean (41:05)

We’ll have all your contact information in the show notes. But again, thank you. This was a blast. We’ll definitely have you on again.


Adam (41:12)

Awesome. Thanks so much, Sean.


Outro (41:13)

All right. We’ll see you. Bye-bye. Hey, I’d like to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. And if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star review. The more reviews we get, the higher this podcast will rank. All right, stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll see you.