Special follow-up edition Part 2 with Martin Plaehn of Control 4 and Mark Chung of Verdigris Technology

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, business advice

Part two of my special two-part follow-up edition of Bay Area Ventures, featuring interviews with guests from the first three seasons of the show, is now available for streaming or download here and on iTunes, Spreaker and Facebook.

In this episode I speak with Martin Plaehn, CEO of Control 4 and Mark Chung Co-Founder and CEO of Verdigris Technologies.

 
 
 
Martin Plaehn
Control 4
 
Martin Plaehn is a seasoned CEO who has been leading Control 4 since 2011 (NASDAQ: CTRL). Martin first appeared on Bay Area Ventures back in August of 2015. At the time, Control 4’s annual revenue was $160 Million. For the first quarter of 2017, the company’s revenues were over $50 Million and Control 4’s stock has more than doubled since his last appearance on our show.

Control 4 is a leader or, perhaps “The” leader in the home automation space. They manufacture automation systems and software for smart homes and offices. Martin brings us up to date on the latest in IoT devices for the home as well as steps they are taking to prevent hacking of these systems.

Martin has lectured on leadership and has been at the helm of some of the early and most famous technology companies such as RealNetworks, Viewpoint Digital and Bungee Labs. He discusses the challenges of scaling his organization and how he manages his time to address Control 4’s technology, customer and shareholder needs. We also learn about his current reading list for when he’s traveling around the world.

________________________________________

In the second half of the show we’ll check in with Mark Chung, Co-Founder and CEO of Verdigris Technologies (www.verdigris.co). Mark’s first appearance on Bay Area Ventures was in April of 2016 when Verdigris was still a seed funded company but already shipping product and generating revenue. Verdigris raised a $7M Series A financing in the second half of 2016 with backers such as Verizon and Jabil Manufacturing giving them the headroom to grow and capture more markets.

Mark started Verdigris with his brother after an incident in their home where their electricity bill spiked for some unknown reason. They developed a monitoring system that can automatically detect every type of device on an electrical circuit and track and monitory its electric usage.

Today, they are an AI or artificial intelligence company using machine learning to solve tough problems facing the operators of hotels, factories and other commercial facilities. Verdigris technology sends a customer’s energy usage data up to a cloud based dashboard and applies AI to the data to help those customers track energy usage and anomalies in their facilities. This knowledge allows customers to cut their energy usage by as much as 50%.

Verdigris Technologies
Mark Chung

Mark talks about many of the challenges he has faced since his last appearance due to rapid growth and both internal and external factors. The company’s headcount has more than doubled in the past year and they encountered some surprises doing business in the European Union and Great Britain since the UK passed Brexit. They are also still struggling to build up a world class sales team to keep up with growth.

Verdigris is a real success story and Mark shares his philosophy of how to handle the stresses and challenges of being the leader of a fast company. He is a brilliant engineer who has worked at top technology companies such as AMD, PA Semiconductor and Netlogic. PA semiconductor was acquired by Apple while Mark was an employee and Netlogic was acquired by Broadcom, as well. Like these great companies that hired Mark you can benefit from his knowledge and skills by listening in and following his company’s progress.

This jam-packed show is sure to be a good use of your time.

Recorded on April 24, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. Bay Area Ventures airs live on Mondays at 4:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00pm Eastern Time.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

Rick Climan and his all-star M and A team move to Hogan Lovells

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, business advice, M&A

In this episode of The M&A Moment, I talk with Rick Climan about his recent move to Hogan Lovells, LLP. Rick, along with his entire mergers and acquisitions all-star team of Keith Flaum, Jane Ross, John Brockland and their support staff all moved to Hogan Lovells to take advantage of the firm’s worldwide reach and resources. This is a powerhouse move in the technology M&A world designed to put Rick and his team in position to be the leaders in the increasingly global nature of multi-billion dollar deals. As Rick often discusses, both domestic and foreign corporations are looking for global targets and buyers for their M&A strategy and Rick and his team are now likely to be one of the go-to firms for one side of many of the biggest deals.


Rick Climan headshot
  
Hogan Lovells, LLP logo

Rick and I also take a look back at a deal announced in 2016, Broadcom’s acquisition of Brocade Network Solutions and see how the regulatory review, both foreign and domestic, has been progressing. We also discuss some recently announced divestitures, contingent of the deal closing, to see if this might be timed to appease regulators or perhaps be for some other strategic reason.

Finally, we look and the heating up tech IPO market and see if this means the M&A exits will be impacted by the availability of more liquidity in the equity markets..

 

This episode was recorded on Bay Area Ventures on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on May 22, 2017.

First quarter 2017 mergers and acquisitions review

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, business advice, Finance, Financial Services, M&A

The first quarter of 2017 is in the history books and in this episode of The M&A Moment, Rick Climan, a partner at Hogan Lovells, LLP and I discuss the Q1 M&A results both world-wide and for the San Francisco Bay Area.

In Bay Area technology M&A, we discuss Intel Corporation’s acquisition of Mobileye, the Israeli manufacturer of vehicle collision avoidance systems for $15 billion. This deal gives Intel a major leg up into the world of autonomous vehicles. Next we look at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s purchase of Nimble Storage for $1 billion.

Hogan Lovells, LLP logo  Rick Climan headshot

 

Then we talk about the volume of global M&A in terms of both overall dollar value and the number of deals taking place in the first quarter of 2017. We look at trends in the currency of mergers and acquisitions such as cash or stock and the preferences for each from the buyer’s or seller’s perspective as the year 2017 unfolds. We close our first quarter review with a look at what lies ahead for the rest of 2017.

Finally, we take a look at the how M&A deals initiate. We discuss the “mating dance” of M&A from the buyer’s perspective. To do so we look at why buyers pursue M&A as a strategy. We discuss the teams they put in place to implement that strategy in order to select a target company and to initiate the talks. Who makes the first overture in an M&A deal, what do managers need to think about before doing so and who is the right person in the organization to make the initial call. Listen in to learn all about it. Note, next month we’ll take a look at the process from the target company’s perspective.

This episode was recorded on Bay Area Ventures on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on March 27, 2017.

How to build products that are pulled by the market

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Biotech startups, business advice, Setting Goals, Venture Capital

My latest episode of Bay Area Ventures features Abe Sher, Managing Partner of Energetico Ventures, a Bal Harbor, Florida based venture fund focused on companies that are helping humanity with brilliantly engineered products and services.

Abe Sher
Abe’s portfolio companies include Aqua Sciences, a company that literally creates water out of thin air, SuperEye, a “neural-reality” company bringing advance displays to human-machine interfaces and Zero Phone, a company aimed at freeing users from the high cost of mobile communications.

 

Mr. Sher has won numerous awards for his technology and has been invited to speak at the White House, by the King of Saudi Arabia and to the Conference of Nobel Laureates by the King of Morocco. His companies’ clients include the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Army and FEMA to name a few.

Abe talks about the types of companies and founders he looks for at Energetico. He is typically looking for products and services that are “pulled” by the marketplace as opposed to those that have to be pushed along. For example, with Aqua Sciences, because he is able to create water from air in some of the harshest environments in the world, he has had huge demand for the systems from governments and NGOs or non-governmental agencies. This has built up sales to the point where they have generated economies of scale and can now offer the system for general commercial purposes like stadiums and events.

Abe has traveled the world helping companies and promoting his own. He talks about his recent trips to China and what he’s discerned about the state of their economy just by walking through their factories. And regardless of where your company is located, he provides tips on what to expect from your leadership team.

This is a super interesting interview jam-packed with practical takeaways for your business and career.

Recorded January 23, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

2016 Mergers and Acquisitions Year in Review and 2017 Forecast

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, M&A

In this special extended addition of the M&A Moment we take a look back at the highlights and final numbers for mergers and acquisitions for the year 2016. We will also take a look ahead at what 2017 might hold in store. Rick Climan of Hogan Lovells, LLP joins me to talk about how 2016 compared to 2015 and discusses some of the biggest deals announced, as well as some of the biggest deals to crater in 2016. Not only does Rick tell us the numbers but he gives us tremendous insights into what’s behind all the strategy, negotiation and legal decisions that led to the results.

Rick Climan
2016 was a stellar year but, was it as strong as 2016? Will 2017 be stronger still? What sectors had the most activity? How did US activity compare to global M&A. Were US companies an attractive target for foreign investment and, if so, what countries were the biggest investors? How will the Donald Trump administration impact US and foreign M&A transactions going forward? Will CFIUS reviews be stepped up and will cyber-crime or information leaks impact any major deals?

 

Rick and I cover all of this and take calls from listeners, as well. It’s a jam packed episode that will be invaluable for your understanding of M&A and your decision making going forward.

This episode was recorded during my Bay Area Ventures show on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on January 23, 2017. Be sure to check out my Bay Area Ventures show page here on Spreaker. For more information on Rick Climan you can go to Hogan Lovells, LLP.

M&A Moment December 2016 – Golden Gate Capital and Neustar Merger

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, Finance, M&A

In this, the final M&A Moment for 2016 Rick Climan of www.weil.com joins me to talk about the recent Golden Gate Capital acquisition of Neustar Inc. (NYSE: NSR) signaling a continued resurgence of private equity firms making financial acquisitions in 2016. This deal is interesting because of some of the foreign capital involved in the deal, as well, which will mandate careful review by US’ Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS also comes into play as Rick discusses President Obama’s veto of a proposed merger of the German semiconductor company Aixtron by a Chinese company Fujian Grand Chip based on national security concerns. It an unusual reach for a US president to get involved in a CFIUS matter.

We also take a brief look at 2016 as a whole but will be doing a full review of M&A Activity for 2016 and will be taking a look ahead at trends and prospects for 2017 on our next episode which will be an extend addition.

Here is a direct link to Rick Climan