Welcome to the Arena

Growth through M&A can be hit or miss. Studies show that nearly half of these transactions fail to see value creation as a result of acquisition. Why is that? Well, one reason may be that M&A is disruptive to stakeholder relationships. The challenge for investment firms is to strike the ideal balance between creating enough change to see accelerated growth in the companies they acquire or invest in and preserving the brand and core values of those companies so that key stakeholders feel secure. Great investment partners are able to look beyond the bottom line so they can evaluate and adapt to the dynamic relationships that make each company unique. Firsthand operations experience can help.

Today's guest is Russell Fleischer, a former 3X software industry CEO and current general partner at Battery Ventures, a global technology-focused investment firm with a collaborative research style. At Battery, Russell is focused on new opportunities in the enterprise software sector, typically later stage transactions including buyouts, roll-ups, and take-privates. His experience as a CEO has allowed him to engage on a personal level with his portfolio company CEOs, coaching them and their teams to create more stakeholder value.

In this episode, I speak with Russell about Battery's research-driven approach to choosing investments, how current issues are affecting the tech industry, and how he approaches the human elements of mergers and acquisitions.

Show Notes

Summary:

Growth through M&A can be hit or miss. Studies show that nearly half of these transactions fail to see value creation as a result of acquisition. Why is that? Well, one reason may be that M&A is disruptive to stakeholder relationships. The challenge for investment firms is to strike the ideal balance between creating enough change to see accelerated growth in the companies they acquire or invest in and preserving the brand and core values of those companies so that key stakeholders feel secure. Great investment partners are able to look beyond the bottom line so they can evaluate and adapt to the dynamic relationships that make each company unique. Firsthand operations experience can help. 

Today's guest is Russell Fleischer, a former 3X software industry CEO and current general partner at Battery Ventures, a global technology-focused investment firm with a collaborative research style. At Battery, Russell is focused on new opportunities in the enterprise software sector, typically later stage transactions including buyouts, roll-ups, and take-privates. His experience as a CEO has allowed him to engage on a personal level with his portfolio company CEOs, coaching them and their teams to create more stakeholder value.

In this episode, I speak with Russell about Battery's research-driven approach to choosing investments, how current issues are affecting the tech industry, and how he approaches the human elements of mergers and acquisitions. 

Highlights:
  • Russell describes his early career journey through the software sector (03:39)
  • Russell explains how his experience with private equity as a CEO led him to Battery (06:25)
  • The challenges of being a CEO, and why an investor with firsthand experience can help (10:27)
  • Why management teams shouldn't be afraid to make personnel changes (12:36)
  • Battery's research-driven approach to choosing investments (15:15)
  • Russell's observations of where the technology industry is moving geographically (18:52)
  • Russell shares his thoughts on how the tech industry has responded to recent market shifts (21:32)
  • Russell explains why he believes the social aspect of companies has such a huge impact on success during mergers (24:10)
Links:
ICR Twitter
ICR LinkedIn
ICR Website
Russell Fleischer LinkedIn
Russell Fleischer Bio
Battery Ventures LinkedIn
Battery Ventures Website

Feedback:
If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, elizabeth@lowerstreet.co.

What is Welcome to the Arena?

In the increasingly crowded and competitive corporate and financial ecosystem, it’s harder than ever for companies to break through the clutter and be heard. The media, investors, agenda-driven influencers, even customers and competitors, are defining your business story on their terms. Therefore, it is imperative that companies take control and proactively drive the conversation with stakeholders in an effort to build & maintain equity value.

In Welcome to the Arena, Co-Founder & CEO of ICR, Tom Ryan, interviews key business and financial players who influence the fate of public or aspiring public companies in the capital markets. As a former Wall Street Journal ranked sell-side equity analyst and the founder of one of the largest strategic communications firms in the world, Tom understands what it takes to navigate this complex environment.

This is a forum for CEOs, CFOs, institutional investors, sell-side analysts, financial journalists, private equity professionals and other financial community participants to share their stories and give advice in an open and candid conversation.

For more information, visit http://www.icrinc.com