Editor's note: Ivan Nikkhoo is managing director at Siemer & Associates, a boutique merchant bank that provides highly targeted M&A, capital raising and financial advisory services to Internet, software and digital media companies.
One question I am most often asked is: “How much is my company worth?”
In addition to the customary, “it depends,” my answer is usually followed by: “It depends on who the buyer is.”
As Bill Gates famously said: “Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
So, in the tech world, there is a constant and continuous search for good, scalable intellectual property (IP). “Scalable Intellectual property” essentially means that the system or network of a company must have the ability to be expanded - and keep up with the times.
Tech companies are generally cash rich, and the pace of internal developments can’t possible keep up with the necessary growth expected by Wall Street. So there's always appetite for growth opportunities.
There are ways to work out the value of your company, and here are my three top tips for doing so:
1. Hire a good investment banker. A good investment banker does many things for a client. He finds the right buyers, creates urgency, positions the company for the highest valuation, negotiates, and, most importantly, acts like a therapist when, inevitably, the deal looks like it is going South 20 times before it actually closes as parties are fatigued, frictions rise, and common sense is replaced by ego.
2. Find the right buyers. And any good investment banker knows that there is one buyer out there that is willing and able to pay the extra premium for an asset.
3. Know the dynamics of your particular industry. So when the time is right for you to check the market for an exit, hire a banker specialized in your segment, make sure your potential buyers understand and focus on the strategic nature and increasing value of the transaction and take the time to fully understand the landscape.
As Warren Buffet said, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
(CNN) – In the Middle East, the demand for apps is high - and growing.
CNN's Leone Lakhani explores how reliant people in the region are becoming on mobile applications, and what it can mean for day to day life.
By Nina dos Santos, CNN
A grey day in Brussels provided an apt backdrop for addressing the bleak job prospects facing Europe’s younger generations.
With a quarter of their 16 to 25-year-olds out of work, youth unemployment has become one of the most pressing issues facing EU leaders today.
Among the potential solutions tabled was using the European Investment Bank as a mechanism for providing small businesses with loans, so they can hire.
Job and training guarantee schemes were also agreed by member states as well as a plan to roll out 6 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to the hardest hit countries like Greece and Spain where more than half of the young workforce is standing idle.
But the funds committed so far are a drop in the ocean compared to the size of the problem. FULL POST
(CNN) – A hospital in Chile is trying to reduce the threat of infections by using equipment, including bed rails and washbasins, made of copper.
A study into effectiveness of copper to kill bacteria is taking place at the Roberto del Rio children’s hospital in Santiago de Chile, and scientists say that the initial results are positive.
Dr Marisol Navarette, in charge of the clinical trials, says: ”The ions of copper interact with the membrane of the bacteria, their metabolism gets disturbed and they are killed by copper.”
The project is spearheaded by Codelco, Chile’s state-run mining company and the biggest copper producer in the world, in partnership with foreign investment.
Chilean company Copper BioHealth already manufactures hospital products made out of the metal, and after the Environmental Protection agency in the U.S. registered copper as an anti-microbial agent, it will have the option to market their products internationally.
(CNN) – A luxury Parisian men’s footwear label plans to start selling bespoke shoes made of camel leather.
The shoes, which exclusive label Pierre Corthay will sell from between $1,600 and $1,800 per pair, will be manufactured by a tannery located in the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Xavier de Royere, Pierre Corthay’s CEO, said: "It’s a great place. I found people who are very passionate about what they do, and this magical, extraordinary skin.”
Products including camel meat, milk, and even camel milk chocolate have been exported outside the Gulf states, but have not been widely successful. But de Royere says that, as well as being more resistant and softer than cow leather, camel leather has the novelty factor. "It’s always great to try something people have not tried before,” he said. “It excites customers.”
(CNN) - A groundbreaking new initiative is helping small business owners in Somalia link with donors through a mobile phone money transfer system.
E-Cash, a program backed by charity Oxfam, offers the convenience of avoiding long waits at money changers, and erases security issues that go with carrying cash in the street.
The initiative, which launched last year and already has 2,500 beneficiaries, targets vulnerable communities, such as women whose husbands have left them and who are breadwinners for their families, as well as disabled people.
(CNN) – In the impoverished and crime-ridden Mexico City suburb Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, a pioneering education center is tutoring students through a mix of computer programs and teaching.
It is one of 70 learning and innovation hubs first established in 2009 which now have around 350,000 users, most of whom have never used a computer before. Mois Cherm, CEO of the company behind the project, ENOVA, who was been named Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Economic Forum, says that the aim of the centers is to harness technology in educating low-income citizens.
Mexico has the lowest education standards of any major country, a fact often blamed on teaching unions which have a huge power over hiring and regulation.
As well as providing computers, the company, which is for-profit, creates its own programs with a tech hub in Mexico City.
(CNN) - Egyptian scientists say they have developed the first insect repellent material in the region, which has the power to protect people from being bitten by any bug, including mosquitoes.
Mohamed Hashem and his team at the Egypt National Research Center developed the textile, which he says is infused with what a natural and environmentally friendly material. Hashem would not reveal the exact composition of the substance, but said that it had the power to kill insects that were exposed to it for prolonged periods.
Insect repellent materials already exist in the West, but this development will allow regional manufacturers to buy it for much less, and Hashem says there are plans for it to be used by the Egyptian armed forces.
Editor's note: Victor Basta is the MD of Magister Advisors, an M&A advisory firm to the technology industry. The firm has worked on 16 transactions since it was founded three years ago, including the sale of C3 to Apple for $250 million and LoveFILM's $320m exit to Amazon. Below is his view on Apple's future.
After last week’s earnings, it is even clearer that Apple is not the company you think it is. Its future value will not be as a hardware designer and innovator. It will more likely be as a great software and services business, underpinned by the everyday actions of the hundreds of millions of credit card-enabled users subscribed to the iTunes store. FULL POST
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