In 2015, I left my job as an M&A banker all fired up and determined to transform the M&A industry. Having been in the industry for five years, I was appalled at how manual and archaic the deal sourcing process was and still is.
Everyone simply accepted that this was how the industry had always operated, but it didn’t make sense to me.
In Asia, the middle market space categorised by deals between US$10 to US$250 million is highly fragmented, with a huge number of players including M&A advisors, strategic investors, family offices, PE funds, etc. Adding to the problem, a large proportion of them are private companies with little available information.
The characteristics of the middle market mean that it’s challenging for anyone to scan and capture all the relevant opportunities manually and efficiently. As the universe of deal opportunities becomes increasingly global, the ability to effectively source for suitable investors, buyers, and investment opportunities manually becomes increasingly harder.
As an entrepreneur, you want to maximise the value of your exit and reach out to strategic investors that can create the most value for your company. That is why the breadth and quality of your reach is crucial, and it could mean a difference between an excellent deal, a mediocre one, or a poor one.
Data and AI
Being in this digital age of big data and artificial intelligence, it was very clear to me that we could leverage technology to make deal sourcing a lot more accurate and efficient.
Hence I left my job to start Detecq, a private M&A and investment marketplace that leverages software to connect strategic investors to the right tech companies in Asia.
In November 2016 while evaluating a pivot, I got connected to Antoine Denaiffe, one of the Co-founders of Finquest, by an M&A advisor on both our platforms. Over the course of three weeks, I met all four founders of Finquest.
At these meetings, I realised that I was still very passionate about solving the original problem that had motivated me to leave my job in the first place. We shared the same vision to optimise the way M&A and investment opportunities are discovered, by using big data and machine learning.
Detecq focuses on the tech space. Finquest on the other hand, covers all sectors, and both companies were seeing substantial interest in SEA from strategic and financial investors globally, especially in the tech space.
A competitive edge
As innovative digital technologies continue to disrupt industries, tech and non-tech companies will continue to turn to M&A in search for solutions. M&A and investments are a quicker and more viable way for both tech and non-tech companies to access digital assets that they need to create value and gain a competitive edge in their market.
The merger with Finquest strengthens Detecq’s value proposition to its clients and members, thanks to its unique database of more than 1.2 million organisations, proprietary technology, and in-house team of relationship managers with investment banking experience.
As any professional investor or investment banker would tell you, liquidity is crucial for any market. The combined platform provides wider access to global investors that can fund later stage fast-growing companies based in Asia. With family offices, PE funds, strategic and financial investors, Finquest is also able to generate exit opportunities for VC funds arriving at monetisation stage. Increased liquidity and exit options would be highly beneficial for the tech ecosystem in Southeast Asia.
By no means is this an exit and relinquishing the CEO/Founder role doesn’t mean I’m taking a back seat. Being part of a larger platform and bigger team with a shared vision and commitment means that we can achieve more and faster. Consolidating forces will strengthen our value proposition in helping entrepreneurs, investors, and M&A advisors connect to the right opportunities in Asia.
I’m very excited and look forward to transforming the future of M&A and growth capital in Asia with Finquest.
The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.
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