My colleague, valley legend and master of the message, Bill Ryan, calls the what we do, "groom to flip" and the New York Times has the state of the industry pegged perfectly when they wrote up the recent VAPPS acquisition of by Citrix. Nowadays companies that are venture backed are no longer IPO candidates that often, so instead being acquired at a far lower multiple is the route out. That means the company has to be flipped, or it has to grow, because the starry eyed dreams of IPOs of the past is far from happening any time soon.
For me, and my team, this is personally rewarding. VAPPS is company number 15 in the last five years that we have had the good fortune to work with this decade that have been acquired. More importantly in the last 13 months Vapps represents the third conferencing and collaboration company that's been snapped up by a major player. First was Web Dialogs by IBM, then SightSpeed earlier this month by Logitech and now Vapps, makers of HighDef Conferencing. So much for my shop only being about VoIP.
All three acquired companies had similar attributes. A very solid core leadership team that understood the technology they had very well and what it takes to be market acceptable. All had investors who were patient, not overly invasive and most of all respectful of both what it takes and how long it takes to have a company groomed and manicured to be ready to be acquired. What's more each team had great technology at the core that was more than just a feature in search of a problem. They had a complete solution that solved the problem for the market and the acquiring company. From my perspective they complimented one another, so transferring what was learned when working with one company regarding the marketplace, the audience, the media, etc. was a very easy transition for my team and me. Lastly, they all provided the kind of services we use regularly in our day to day work. Nothing like first hand experience to tell the story better as others wiser than I have always suggested.
To our friends Ben and John at VAPPS, and their investors at Azure Capital Partners, a big pat on the back for a very healthy exit. It was less than a year ago when Ben asked us to represent the company and we could not have asked for a better client or a better product to talk about. Congratulations to you all.
Fierce VoIP has more insight on the acquisition.