Crash Course: M&A for Startups: Starting with an End in Mind with Jim Lejeal and Stacy Carter of Sphero, with Respondent Tim Enwall of Nest Labs

Tags: Entrepreneurship

Co-Sponsored by
JPMorgan Chase Foundation

Founders often think about the future of their startups, and one of the paths considered is a successful exit by merger or acquisition (also known as an M&A deal). In an M&A deal, two main parties, the buyer and the seller, work hard and often feverishly toward the desired outcome – either combining two companies via a merger, or selling of a company via acquisition. Involved in this process are intricate and important steps that require the efforts of founders, the board of directors, management, employees, and outside consultants such as attorneys and accountants. A poorly planned and executed M&A deal can cripple a company and its morale, and even a successful transaction can create stressful change for the company and its many stakeholders. But with proper planning, a focus on detail, and an understanding of the deal structure, founders and their teams can navigate the waters successfully. Even if a potential M&A deal is in a startup’s distant future, there are still things a startup can do from day one to prepare for success.

In this Crash Course, Jim Lejeal, CFO of Sphero, and Stacy Carter, General Counsel of Sphero, will share their insights learned from years of being integral parties to M&A deals – including leading the recent sale of Rally Software to CA Technologies, Inc. Specifically, Jim and Stacy will share the top 50 lessons they learned in selling a company, from initial discussions to post-closing concerns. Tim Enwall, Head of Business Development/New Business Initatives, Nest Labs will then join the discussion to provide his unique entrepreneur’s perspective. Tim will help to further illuminate the workings of the M&A deal, and he will also highlight issues an entrepreneur or founder should consider. This Crash Course will benefit the founders, management, and employees of startups and established companies alike.

Jim LejealJim Lejeal, Chief Financial Officer, Shpero, Inc.
Jim brings 20 years of experience in finance, technology and corporate leadership to his current position as CFO at Sphero. Before Sphero, Jim was CFO at Rally Software where he executed both the initial and secondary public offerings as well as the sale of the company to CA Technologies, Inc. in 2015. Prior to joining Rally Software, Jim spent four years at Oxlo Systems as CEO and Founder. Prior to Oxlo, he spent four years serving as the CFO/COO at Raindance Communications, where he played an important role in helping the company to evolve from a promising start-up to one of the most dominant conference providers in the technology industry. Jim led Raindance through its initial public offering in 2000.

Stacy CarterStacy Carter, General Counsel, Sphero, Inc.
As General Counsel of Sphero, Inc., Stacy Carter oversees the company’s worldwide legal affairs, including intellectual property, licensing, employee relations, general corporate matters, international governance and compliance. Prior to joining Sphero, Stacy was the Associate General Counsel at Rally Software. During her nearly five years at Rally, Stacy was integral to the teams that completed several buy-side acquisitions for Rally, along with Rally’s initial public offering, secondary offering and, eventually, its sale to CA Technologies, Inc. Before joining Rally, Stacy was an attorney at Cooley LLP in the Business Department with an emphasis in mergers and acquisitions and private company financing and corporate governance matters. Stacy’s law degree is from the University of Colorado, Order of the Coif, and she holds a Masters of Accounting – Tax from the University of Virginia.

Tim EnwallTim Enwall, Head of Business Development/New Business Initiatives, Nest Labs
Tim is currently head of business development/new business initiatives for Nest Labs, a unit of Alphabet Corporation (formerly Google), arriving there by way of acquisition. Tim has had almost 20 years of startup operating experience as an executive, including roles at a 50-person/$5M revenue company (Solista, CEO, acquired), a 200-person/$20M revenue company (Tendril, CEO/COO/CIO, still operating), and a 30-person venture backed smart home company (Revolv, CEO, acquired). Tim has also been an angel investor in 10 startup companies and is a Limited Partner in 3 venture funds. Tim has been a long-time TechStars mentor and has been mentor to award-winning startups including Snap-a-Bug (TechStars ’10), SimpleEnergy (TechStars ’11) and LinkCycle (MIT Cleantech ’11). Tim was named Boulder County Esprit Award Entrepreneur of the Year (2012) along with fellow Tendril executive, CEO Adrian Tuck. Tim has held numerous Board Member positions including several non-profits such as Silicon Flatirons Entrepreneur Initiative, Demand Response/Smart Grid Coalition, and Young Entrepreneurs Organization and for-profits such as Tendril, Adeptive, SkyeTek, Oxlo, Intellocity (acquired) and LeadWorks.

Know What’s Next