After the Exit – From Scale-up to Corporation – Part 1

After the exit - from Start-up to Corporation

Last updated on January 14, 2023, 11:05 PM

If your start-up or scale-up has been sold and is to be integrated into a large corporation (MNC = Multi National Corporation), there are a few things to consider. Here are a few tips and my observations from the post-sale phase.

The important things to keep in mind are:

Clear communication and transparency for all employees in both companies

Communicate a lot and as transparently as possible to all employees with your new parent company: It is important to establish open lines of communication with your new parent company to ensure you are on the same page and working towards the same goals. This includes discussing your vision for the future and any concerns you may have about the transition. These definitions should also be communicated to all employees of both companies as clearly, frequently and transparently as possible.

Keep your corporate culture

As you integrate into a larger organization, it’s important to maintain the unique culture and values that made your startup successful. Consider how you can integrate those elements into the culture of the larger company while also picking up new practices and policies. Employees often stay with a startup for a long time because of the good culture; if that is lost after the sale, usually the employees are quickly gone as well. As a result, the buyer also quickly loses most of the “value” of the startup, as knowledge (human capital) is often a large part of the actual value of a startup or scaleup.

As a startup, you may have already had a collaborative and flexible work environment. Try to maintain this culture within your team and encourage collaboration with other teams and departments within the MNC. Don’t let too much of the corporate “environment” flow into your startup too quickly. That would also quickly alienate the good employees.

Seize new resources and expertise and share expertise

One of the benefits of being acquired by an MNC is access to additional resources and expertise. Take this opportunity to learn from your new colleagues and explore new ways of working. Also allow easy access to knowledge from the other side. MNC colleagues should also be able to easily access start-up / scale-up specialized knowledge.

Keep your customers in mind and your product differentiation too

As you transition into a larger organization, it is important to continue to put your customers first and meet their needs. Make sure you keep them informed of any changes and involve them in decision making where appropriate. Here it is also immensely important to clearly state how the actual products of the start-up/scale-up will continue. This fact must be clarified immediately after the sale and also clearly communicated to all employees of both companies. The longer you wait here and there is uncertainty, the more uncertainty among employees and ambiguity arises at every meeting. If something remains unclear for a long time, a lot of money is burned by unnecessary meetings and tasks.

Job titles and clear hierarchies and career paths

A very important point that is often forgotten: Create clear structures and align your hierarchy structures and Career Paths. An MNC has outlined clear structures and career paths. This is usually not so clearly defined in start-ups/scale-ups. It is important to use this advantage and pick it up as quickly as possible. Here, too, a lot can go wrong if there is a lack of clarity for the start-up/scale-up employees for a long time. On the other hand, there is also a lack of clarity in many meetings at the MNC because it is not clear whether the right contact person from the purchased company is sitting in the meeting.

To be continued :)