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Finding Someone To Manage Selling a Software Company?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the ignorance-not-bliss dept.

Businesses 165

rrrrw22 writes "My company has spent the last year developing a framework for creating games on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. While we had originally planned to release the product to the public and take a percentage of the revenue, we have realized that we can make more money by selling the application to a funded company entering the social gaming space. Our problem is we don't have many other contacts in the social gaming space and would like to find someone to manage selling the company for us (in exchange for a percentage of the sale.) Where can we go about finding someone with the skills and contacts to sell a product like this? What experiences have others had trying to sell a company that we can learn from?"

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165 comments

Why not (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626474)

You didn't tell why you came to conclusion that you would make more money that way, and it seems you haven't tested the other possibility either. Why not? If it doesn't work, then sell it. It also gives more value for the platform.

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626676)

Riding on hype in the right moment might make more money though.

Re:Why not (2, Insightful)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627052)

Yeah, especially if you are selling a "framework" and not a game that works with some valuable infrastructure behind it.

Find one of those guys who gets funding for "zero point energy" or some other voodoo. That's your only hope. Oh, an "Enterprise Java 5GL cloud-based compute fabric" salesdude might work too.

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626742)

I'd like him to consider dying.

Well, not really dying, but just giving up.

I HATE all these status updates for farmville or mobwars or whatever stupid game people are playing on these social media sites. Everyone has jumped on the social media band wagon, and lately, it's having these craptacular games.

I don't care about a body in a trunk of a car, or a lonely pink cow, or lost ugly duckling. Stopping these dumb games from showing these retarded updates and wasting the time of people!

Die social media games, dieeeeeeee!!!

Re:Why not (1)

malkir (1031750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626790)

+1 insightful

Re:Why not (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627234)

1) you can block the updates from showing.

2) they're YOUR friends, motherfucker. stop associating with idiots?

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628172)

2) they're YOUR friends, motherfucker. stop associating with idiots?

Call me a cynic, but that would leave little people to associate with.

Re:Why not (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628426)

2) they're YOUR friends, motherfucker. stop associating with idiots?

Call me a cynic, but that would leave little people to associate with.

What, midgets aren't idiots?

Re:Why not (4, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626832)

I looked into writing a platform for Facebook games and decided that it was just too bloody easy to use something like the Zend framework with a little extra code on top and write a game that way. Writing an entire framework for Facebook games would be rather pointless, unless you marketed it to the 'wish they could program but can't' crowd, and then it would be really lame.
I notice they say MySpace and Twitter as well, and that would make the framework tougher and a little more useful... But still not enough that I'd bother.

So to answer your question, I suspect they have discovered that the amount of money available as a 'public' framework is nearly zero, and therefore selling it to another company would be a lot more profitable automatically.

I actually wrote most of a very simple MafiaWars-style FB game just to experiment with how hard it was. It took me about 20-30 hours, including the time to research how to integrate with FB and learn something about Zend Framework that I didn't know yet, like authentication another 10 hours would have seen a working game, but I decided I didn't want a boring game, so I'm designing an interesting one and will put my time towards that instead, not that I have the basics clear.

Re:Why not (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626844)

Argh. That should read "now that I have the basics clear."

Re:Why not (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627480)

If it doesn't work, then sell it.

... if it doesn't work, it'll be too late to sell it. Or at least too late to sell it profitably.

If someone offers you money for your lottery ticket, you can't wait to see if you win before selling.

I'm not going to mention the site... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626516)

... because I don't want to send a horde of Slashdot trolls over there, but you should do a search on Paul Graham and find a particular Web forum that his VC firm operates. Matters relating to entrepreneurship and startup foundation/funding are commonly discussed there, and you'll get a lot of good peer review.

The first rule of ****** **** is you don't talk about ****** **** on Slashdot.

Re:I'm not going to mention the site... (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626902)

You mean Hacker News, right?

Linky:

http://news.ycombinator.com/ [ycombinator.com]

Anonymous tears are the most delicious.

Step 1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626522)

Advertize on Slashdot for free by couching it as an 'article'?

Re:Step 1 (4, Funny)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627182)

Except the article was not much of an advertisement. It didn't even link to a website. Not that I blame the original poster for keeping this information close to his chest. After all, contact information, in this particular case, could be invaluable.

Apparently a random group of hackers has created a "framework" for making social games. They don't have any games that demonstrate the power of this framework, but it is an awesome framework nonetheless. After several man-years of work on this framework the hackers have decided that the best way to capitalize on their work is to sell their software to someone in the social gaming community that doesn't have a competing framework already. Since they don't know anyone in the social gaming community, much less someone in the social gaming community that is in need of an untested but still awesome game framework, they want to find a third party willing to sell their software on commission.

Yeah, I would want my name on that advertisement.

Easy (2, Interesting)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628084)

If they know really know enough about social networking to write a game authoring platform, they have enough sales people in their social networks to do this deal.

Alternatively, using said platform, write a game which appeals to sales people...

Translation to english (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626538)

Translated to truth from euphemism.

We started a company to try to get rich off the back of other websites. After investing all of our personal money we have realized that we will never get it back and we're tired of working 80+ hours a week for nothing and we know we will never make a dime.

We're looking for a sucker to do all the work to try to sell our craptastic software "company" that has never sold a single line of code and attempt to get some of our money back.

Re:Translation to english (4, Informative)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626856)

Actually, we've made quite a bit of money off of several successful games we built on the framework, we just realized that getting everyday people off the internet to build successful game isn't going to work.

Re:Translation to english (3, Funny)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626926)

VC funding doesn't count.

Re:Translation to english (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626964)

So you built a product and once finished making it you realized you fucked up as the target market you built it for just not interested!

So you have actually made quite a bit of money from it, yet the means for generating money (getting everyday people off the internet to build games) is just not gonna work.

Can you not see the bullshit and delusion streaming from your arse?

Re:Translation to english (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627066)

Your like the software developers version of American Idol, when a person who seriously thinks they can sing comes in and sings like a parrot with its foot stuck up a cats arse!

Re:Translation to english (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627232)

Actually even worse, they sing like a cat with a parrots foot stuck up its arse.

Re:Translation to english (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627238)

If you have made money creating social networking games, then you should have mentioned these games in the article. Not only would that have advertised your existing games, but it would give interested parties an idea of how much your software is worth.

Re:Translation to english (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626868)

LOL! So you interviewed with them too then?

Re:Translation to english (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628390)

That truth from euphemism option doesn't show up in babelfish. It'd be awesome if someone would sell that.

Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626542)

It's best to use referrals from people that have been through it before.

Grabbing a random person is incredibly risky. Business deals (hell, business in general) are very fragile and involves a ton of trust on everyone's part, or a lot of previous experience so you know how to protect yourself.

In any case, prepare to get screwed because that's usually how things go unless you're lucky.

Best reply so far, I've done this (3, Informative)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627266)

The poster is going to have to find someone who has been through this and get referrals. Sorry, that means meeting people and using social skills. Emailing potential buyers probably won't help because if you don't know any people in the space, you also don't know how to communicate with them out of the blue; you'll probably put them off, if they read your message at all.

Get an attorney who has experience doing these types of deals, this has saved me from failed deals. The guy who did Daddy & Mommy's will or plays golf with Uncle Barney or whatever isn't the way to go.

Trying to sell your company through one of the hundreds of business for sale websites brings tire kickers and scam replies. Going to the local business brokerage franchise (basically a bunch of commission-only out-of-work real estate salesmen) is usually a dead end for this type of thing, they won't grasp what you are selling, but they will have free balloons for the kiddies.

Re:Best reply so far, I've done this (2, Insightful)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627738)

I agree - IP lawyers, especially those close to the industry you're in will be your best source for contacts and overall representation. I don't like to work with lawyers more than I have to, but in this case I think a high end lawyer will pay for him/herself in getting you the right price.

Re:Best reply so far, I've done this (2, Informative)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627956)

Yep, this is a situation where attorneys pay off. When selling a company ($1M - $5M) I tell people to prepare to pay $15K to $50K for a transaction attorney, but an IP attorney will probably run more. Buyers will try last minute tricks to cut the price in half or more so an experienced lawyer is a must.

While I'm at it... Some other comments have said a broker wants 6%, that's only for a quite big deal (assuming some variant of a sliding Lehman scale is used). Even in the $1Million range 10% is common (even 15% in some states like Florida).

Another commenter said something about getting MBA students involved. No way. This stuff is way, way above a student class project.

Zomg, news for nerds (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626550)

Yawn. Ok, I will offer one US dollar for your company.

Re:Zomg, news for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627206)

I will offer 12 SchruteBucks and 3 Stanley Nickels.

Re:Zomg, news for nerds (1)

ScytheLegion (1274902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628000)

That's what she said...

If nobody is knocking, it's too early (2, Insightful)

HedgeBoar (1432905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626558)

When you product is any good, buyers will come knocking. If it's not, then trying to find someone is a waste of time, keep on it until you have a good revenue and a decent customer base. Web 2.0 and .com were yesterday.

you want VCs and an exit strategy, basically (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626568)

If you're a small self-funded company, this isn't really at the level of specialized firms or agents specializing in acquisitions. It sounds like you fit in to standard venture-capitalist funding, which is usually aimed at eventually being acquired anyway. Often the VC firm will handle trying to sell the firm to someone bigger, when they think they can do so. However, your guess that you can be bought for a nice sum right now may or may not be something the VCs you can find will agree with. You might have better odds if you have multiple scenarios, like what you could do with another 6-12 months of funding.

This is partly because VCs are already in the business of evaluating "is this company worth anything (now or potentially), and who is it worth something to?" Most larger companies are wary of just buying unknown small firms, because they have no real way of evaluating that--- it's more often a multi-tier thing where the un-funded firm gets funded by a VC initially, then a larger firm buys from the VC.

Re:you want VCs and an exit strategy, basically (3, Informative)

castoridae (453809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626734)

Yes, in principal. But that's not pragmatic - this sounds way too small to interest VCs these days. Speaking from experience, they aren't going to give you the time of day unless you're asking for at least $3M, and ideally more like $5-10M.

I'd suggest local angels (individuals, not angel groups which often think they are VCs and act similarly) if you want, say, $100K-$1M, and friends-and-family or revenue (can be from random consulting while the product ramps up) for less than that.

That is not true. (2, Informative)

yooy (1146753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627740)

Why would they give you $3M if they can get along with much less? Fail often, fail early, fail CHEAP is also true for VC. I know VC that don't have a lower limit. It depends on which stage they are focusing on. If you are going to a late stage investor/growth investor and ask for 50.000 US$ seed capital (yes, 50k!) they will laugh about you the same way as an early stage/seed investor will laugh about you when you ask for 100 Million for a late stage pharmaceutical start up.

Re:That is not true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628274)

I disagree completely and agree with castoridae. I have been involved in a number of startup companies that went from the ground up to VC investment and I do not think you will find a single VC firm interested in something at that level. Angel and friends and fools are definitely your first avenue for investment and around $3M is accurate in my experience for the bottom of where VCs are interested.

Re:That is not true. (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628414)

I'll stand by my generalization. Less than $3M = less possible revenue for the same multiplier. In their minds, why bother when they could spend the same amount of effort to do a $10M deal?

I'm sure there are exceptions, but this is the rule in today's VC market.

Re:you want VCs and an exit strategy, basically (1)

wakim1618 (579135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628220)

It is not clear how much money you want/need and how much you think your company can make in 2 years, in 5 years and what it takes to get there. From your post, it sounds as though you lack many basic business knowledge. What does the market for venture/seed capital look like?

If you have a savvy investor who can provide something more than money such as a network of expertise or investors, they will want to know what your answers are to key questions. Who are your expected customers? How do you address their needs? What is the competition and how do you expect to mitigate competition risk?

Err, no. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626942)

One goes to VCs if one wants an infusion of moderate to significant capital (hence the name), not if one is looking to sell the company in the short term.

>Most larger companies are wary of just buying unknown small firms

Larger companies are usually delighted to buy small companies that possess something they want (technology, IP, talent, access to key customers/markets, ...) that have straight-forward ownership structures and balance sheets.
It happens all of the time.
If they don't have to cough up big $$ to compensate VCs, all the better.

I've been there, done that, multiple times.

Evil purposes (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626602)

My company has spent the last year developing a framework for creating games on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. While we had originally planned to release the product to the public and take a percent of the revenue, we have realized that we can make more money by selling the application to a funded company entering the social gaming space.

Sell it to the spammers, marketing research firms, and anyone without a conscience because the only way someone's paying for your product is if they think they'll realize a return on their investment. And right now, advertisements or leeching away people's personal data is the only way to make money in the "social gaming space". People without a conscience also tend to be cheap-asses, so I wouldn't expect to get much.

Also, for the above-mentioned economic reasons, I don't use facebook or myspace applications and most of the "personal" data on my profiles are outright lies or fabrications.

Re:Evil purposes (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627252)

Actually, not a bad business plan. Where are my mod points when I need them?

Prove that its worth buying (2, Insightful)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626692)

Release it and prove that users like what you have. Otherwise, I don't even know that your great platform/software does what you are saying it does. You want to make money out of your start-up but don't want to do the initial hard labor... it doesn't work that way.

Re:Prove that its worth buying (5, Informative)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626830)

Its out in public now at http://www.appainter.com/

Re:Prove that its worth buying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626878)

More like crappainter, amirite?

Re:Prove that its worth buying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627946)

Its out in public now at http://www.appainter.com/ [appainter.com]

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little...

As if all the existing cookie-cutter, done-by-the-numbers so-called "social games" weren't bad enough.

Re:Prove that its worth buying (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628350)

start interviewing elsewhere, because you aren't selling that.

Seriously? (2, Funny)

bahamat (187909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626750)

What kind of games can you build on top of Twitter? You do realize that it's limited 140-character text strings, right? I'm not really sure there's a market for Hunt the Twumpus.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626824)

Ha! I had the same thought..games on Twitter??? Sounds like the poster just threw in Twitter because they heard it in the media mentioned as a social networking site, and while the poster has no idea what it is, it sounded like their game framework should be able to work in any social network so they mentioned it along with fb and myspace. Brilliant.

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626888)

The games just use twitter for the viral mechanic.

"Viral mechanic"? (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627272)

I'm judging you've never run into the term "weasel words"?

Re:"Viral mechanic"? (2)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627670)

Eh, I suspect you don't understand the area. It is perfectly clear what he means by it. If you have nothing meaningful to say, just don't.

Foolhardy. (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626756)

If you have to turn to "Ask Slashdot" for what's likely THE most important decision your business could make (sale), then you really have no business farming this out to someone you've just met.

Believe it or not, Slashdot is a rather poor place for high-level business strategy (I know! I thought slashdot knew everything!). I don't know much about selling a company, but I do know a little about risk. If you really don't have the skills internally to do this yourself, there's an ENORMOUS risk of looking outside the company to find someone with these skills. If you don't have the skills to do this yourself, how are you going to know who's qualified to make such a big decision? How are you going to know if they're doing a good job? Put into simple terms, what's your expected gain in value from selling the company vs. selling your product? Now think about that in terms of hiring the wrong sales guy.

The thing is, you can always sell the company later. If you've demonstrated a viable sales strategy, your company is going to be that much more easy to sell, and worth more money.

Re:Foolhardy. (1)

crowne (1375197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626890)

Ask the question on http://startups.com/ [startups.com]

Re:Foolhardy. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627304)

Actually I'm going to disagree with Vellmont there. Invariable the crowd tends to get things extremely wrong. Wait, that doesn't sound like a disagreement? Actually, he was being fairly neutral and I'm being completely chastizing.

Looking from the outside in with reference to some lovely topics in 2009 I was always left with a bit of a chuckle.

In any event, if you have seen the website I have serious doubts about the viability of the frame work. It screams basement job from hell.

I think John Carmack said it best when he said NO ONE is going to buy a game engine that does not run a successful game. Thus the reason Id software actually sales the game Quake.

Re:Foolhardy. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627348)

If you have to turn to "Ask Slashdot" for what's likely THE most important decision your business could make (sale), then you really have no business farming this out to someone you've just met.

Drat, and I was just about to make a suggestion about emailing everyone on the Internet and then awaiting their joyous replies.

Re:Foolhardy. (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627636)

Why don't you ask Vellmont to sell your company. He seems to know everything.

I don't understand (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626792)

Given that you state you don't have the "contacts in the social gaming space", and since you basically state you don't have the expertise in-house to manage the sale - how exactly did you manage to determine that you "can make more money by selling the application to a funded company entering the social gaming space"?

I am guessing the phrase "we have realized that" in your submission should be replaced by "we're hoping that". I will also speculate that you attempted to follow your first plan - releasing the product to the public - and didn't get any significant interest. If these two suppositions are true, I don't know that you're going to find a company willing to take this off your hands - most of those sorts lost their shirts nine or ten years ago.

Sure... (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626800)

Post on Slashdot. Free advertising...

That's not a company (0)

Foogle (35117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626846)

You're not selling a company. You're selling a product, and an unproven one at that. No one is going to buy this from you, because even figuring out how much it's worth would be a costly endeavor. And what are they going to get for your "company?" A zip file full of source code?

Re:That's not a company (5, Informative)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626912)

We've had severial successful games on the framework, so it is proven:

http://apps.facebook.com/thesummoning/
http://apps.facebook.com/hammerfall/
http://apps.facebook.com/bandbattle/

Total our games have about 6 million users.

Re:That's not a company (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627036)

Total our games have about 6 million users.

How much revenue do they generate?

AH!

Re:That's not a company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628128)

First bid: I'll give them US$2.00 for the framework and 6 million users, itemized as US$3.00 for the framework and negative US$1.00 for the freeloading users.

Beware the first link! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627256)

The link for the game "The Summoning" does NOT ask your permission to access your Facebook data. It just takes you straight to the character-selection screen. If you pull up that link while you have an active Facebook cookie in your browser, be sure to go into your "Application Settings" and remove it from the list of authorized applications, or else this fly-by-night (and obviously pretty desperate) company has full access to whatever data can be mined from your Facebook account.

Re:That's not a company (1)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626934)

I didn't mention in the article, but we also have some games (6 million+ users) that we would be selling along with it to give a new company a jumpstart.

Wait a minute (1)

malkir (1031750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626872)

"We have realized that we can make more money by selling the application to a funded company."

That implies that if you sat on it, you wouldn't make money Sounds like fancy words for 'There's no way we can monetize this piece of shit, maybe we can convince some stupid VC company to buy it for more than it's worth.

Ps. Fuck stupid social networking games. What a bunch of data mining, spamming, assholes.

Re:Wait a minute (2, Informative)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626920)

We were saying we can't make money from trying to have normal people build games on it. To make good games on it you have to have an organized group of people (like we have done)

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30626978)

Seems like a pretty big thing to leave out?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627934)

We were saying we can't make money from trying to have normal people build games on it.

Well, if you're looking for abnormal people, you have come to the right place, my friend.

WTF (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626924)

My company has spent the last year developing a framework for creating games on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.

Isn't twitter limited to around 140 characters? If so what games can you play? TLA-Scrabble?

Talk To Potential Acquirers (2, Insightful)

stcorbett (1712020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30626930)

To actually get the deal going, start talking to people at companies you think might be good acquirers. Start with polite email, or better yet, get introduced through someone you know who respects your work. Good people to talk to would be founders, C-level people, or investors at the potential acquirer. You will probably get better milage from asking a question, like "do you know anyone who would be interested in our assets" rather than going directly to the point of "you should buy our assets for $XX" If you can't do the deal without a broker, I'd suggest talking to business students at undergrad or MBA levels, potentially someone who's focusing on M&A. You've got to match the scale of the deal, and the size of the upside for a broker with the expectations of the broker. If you are going to get sold for just a few thousand, do it yourself. If we are talking hundres of thousands, there are people who work in the center of your local major metropolitan area who specialize in these things. Get introduced to those people through your lawyer, or through a lawyer you know.

Re:Talk To Potential Acquirers (1)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627048)

Thanks, thats helpful. I guess my only thought is that an MBS isn't going to have any more contacts than my team does.

Re:Talk To Potential Acquirers (1)

rrrrw22 (231117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627070)

^ MBA

Re:Talk To Potential Acquirers (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627772)

I'd suggest talking to business students at undergrad or MBA levels, potentially someone who's focusing on M&A.

I'd focus on the MBA level rather than the undergraduate. The graduate level students are more likely to have some experience/contacts in the real world and to be taken a little more seriously by the VCs (possibly unfair but the system is what it is - if you are asking for money you conform to their biases). Also, the graduate level classes are more likely to have real angels and VCs visit, or at least their screeners. In addition to the Mergers and Acquisitions class consider the Entrepreneurship and/or New Venture Management type class, I've met real VCs in the later.

--
Perpenso Calc for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch/a> [perpenso.com]

Obvious (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627080)

Craiglist!

mod 04 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627090)

The 7acts and [goat.cx]

Have you considered... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627094)

Have you considered simply putting an advert into a major daily newspaper?

What about advertising on websites such as Seek.co.nz, etc.

If you're looking to employ someone those are normally the sorts of things to do.

Reminds me of Cringely's recent article (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627220)

Where he was writing about how some start-ups are working from the business model of The Producers.

I find this high interest in off-loading risk onto another company a tiny bit suspect.

Maybe that's why most firms enabling this sort of activity want to see the business model up and running before they get too frisky thinking about an acquisition.

My advice -- get the damn thing up and working. Prove there's an audience. And then you won't need anyone to act as your agent. They'll be knocking at your door.

Stop being pussies and trying to transfer risk. Move forward with your business model and impress someone.

Can you prove revenue now and strong future est? (1)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627280)

Then you will find it easy. Social networks are hot and generating revenue there is important.
You correctly realize you need a professional manager/CEO to do it.

Don't give up on the IPO yet. If you have amazing revenue then contact Goldman Sachs in NY. Filing IPO costs around $500k, but there may be easy underwriters.

Do you have any links to forward to several candidates I know?

develop relationships (1)

bdambrosio (1596579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627312)

Selling a company is just sales. You have to network with the community you want to sell to. Go to events they go to. Scout your network to find someone who knows someone. Read the blogs the target community reads, post when you have something intelligent to say. Next step isn't going to be a sale, it's going to be to develop a custom app for one of those target companies, hopefully one large enough to be a potential acquirer. If you are lucky they will start to talk in terms of "strategic relationship" as you become a trusted provider. They will want to see a track record of app development, to "prove" your technology, your team, and your understanding of the real product requirements for a game platform. This may even provide some cash flow while you look for an acquirer. Beware, there are many many sales/mkting consultants of many types willing to take your money to aid this process. Those who can, do. Those who can't, consult. Good luck. (Credentials for the above comments: Sold two companies, on my third.)

Perfect example... (3, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627374)

I see this as a perfect example of people trying to base a business model on trying to convince people they need your product rather then making a product they already want.

I will state this as clearly as possible.

Your enterprise was doomed to failure before you even got started.

And another thing. You are trying to enter a field where MOST of your competitors are CROOKS. Do you really want to be associated with such a label as a "Social Network Game Producer" when those that already are seem to be jumping ship in an attempt salvage what little reputation they retain now the cat is out of the bag regarding the less then savory business practices they've used?

Count your losses, learn from your mistakes and move on. Soon, people will realize how seriously they are being used, excuse me...FUCKED OVER, by social networking sites and start abandoning them for something else to keep them entertained. You want to be in a position where they move on to YOU. You do not want to be the guy they are leaving in the dust.

Start thinking about what comes AFTER Social Networking sites, then work towards THAT. Well, at least if you want to make money.

Re:Perfect example... (3, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628036)

I see this as a perfect example of people trying to base a business model on trying to convince people they need your product rather then making a product they already want

SAP seem to do pretty well on that business model...

Done this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627398)

I sold my software company to a public listed US company. I'd be interested but I'd want some cash up front to take the job on. www.bradleythomas.com

Ask yourself this (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627470)

How much money have you spent making the product? That's about what it would cost the funded company to make themselves, and that's about what you could possibly sell the company for.

Also, depending on your corporate structure, you should be able to just sell a majority stake in your company to anyone. If you are looking for someone to negotiate for you, you'll probably have to give that party a stake as well.

Like other responses here, I'd conclude that you're better off trying to sell your software instead of hawking your company. This is 2010, not 1998.

I'll do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627564)

I'll do it!

Investors buy teams, not software ... (3, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627586)

To be honest, unless you have a successful and *popular* product that has a very high profit margin investors are unlikely to be interested in your software.

What angel investors and venture capitalists are really interested in is the team behind the company. They want to see a diverse group of people who have a decent probability of launching and growing the venture you are trying to sell. Unfortunately you are saying that the team most familiar with the venture wants to quit. Exiting the venture prior to having a popular product and subordinates who can immediately fill the original team's shoes creates a terrible impression.

--
Perpenso Calc for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch [perpenso.com]

Re:Investors buy teams, not software ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628358)

That's one part, an important part, but not the only thing they are interested in...

Product, operating model, revenue model, and market all play a large role in the decision making process as well.

Some points (1)

yooy (1146753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627708)

You sound very young and inexperienced to ask such a question on slashdot. Don't react to any contact requests, most of the people in the internet are a scam/shady, especially when it comes to business. Where are you located? Go to VC meetings and present your product. I have good contacts to some but they don't focus on software/internet. Your problem is that my impression is that you don't need VC-money but a buyer for your company. Talking to VCs may still raise some attention. Depending on the games you produce your product may also be well suited for a marketing company. The main question really is to me, why do you want to sell? Your negotiation power will be much higher if you get approached by someone. Could you try to find collaborators to get more momentum?

Not easy to sell without a buyer!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627786)

Sounds like you have a "development tool" to sell -- the lowest end of the value chain when it comes to making money from an application.
What makes you think a buyer would be interested? Who would that buyer be?

Typically a broker will take 6% of such a deal, but I doubt you will interest one until you have proven traction from a wider developer community (or a wide range of games successfully deployed

You need... (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627812)

You need the team from The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.

The players in the space are publishers (1)

dirkdodgers (1642627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627832)

But your assumption is dubious. While you will likely make more money selling your proven apps to publishers than by marketing them yourselves, you will likely not make money from your platform in that way, especially an unproven platform.

Publishers don't want to buy a platform. Publishers want to buy existing games with proven popularity for an initial capital investment that they can a profit on over time. Publishers fund development of games primarily through paying the original developer of a game to extend it, to port a game, to build another game, or to build a game with a product tie-in on behalf of another company.

If you want to sell the rights to your apps, start cold calling and the online equivalent. When you don't have connections, that's how it's done. There are plenty of social media game publishers out there, and if you have multiple games with proven popularity you shouldn't have any problem getting their attention. It's a publishers market, and it's put up or shut up.

Only don't expect them to be interested in your platform. If you're that confident that your platform is where it's at, then attract other developers to it first, get proven apps on it, and put your platform where your mouth is, so to speak. Then you might have something.

Use these guys... they worked for us (3, Informative)

sandanwork (1249254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627928)

I can give you my thoughts relative to having founded, grown, and eventually selling my company back in the 90's. I'll leave it up to you to decide how relevant all that is a little over a decade later. My company had a software product that eventually was sold internationally, with customers in 23 different countries. We had a staff of about a dozen engineers and an office assistant. We were entirely profitable, with a solid track record and a respected product. When it came time to sell, I found the people at the Corum Group to be invaluable. I'd suggest starting at their web site and moving forward from there. They are pricey, but the advice and guidance along the way proved to be worth it. Along the way, you'll probably hear a lot of things you don't want to hear, and will be asked to do a lot of things you don't want to do. Get over it. These guys know their stuff.

Companies that do just what you are asking for (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628132)

There are companies that just handle mergers and selling your company or buying someone else's. One such company is Corum Group. (http://www.corumgroup.com/) For the record, I do not work for Corum group, nor does the company I currently work for have any current ties to them.

Simple Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628316)

The simple and correct answer is, hire a banker. That doesn't mean Goldman, Morgan, Chase, or BofA, there numerous small boutique firms that are very good for your size transaction.

Lawyers suck at marketing companies, they're not setup to do that. Selling companies and running a process is what bankers do, so once again, find a banker.

I'm in the process of selling my SaaS company and hiring a banker is the best thing I ever did; they have brought two more qualified bidders to the table and I will get far more for the company as a result.

My 2c.

Find a good M&A attorney (1)

blantonl (784786) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628326)

You need to find a skilled mergers and acquisition attorney. There are a number of tasks in the selling process, including valuation (what are you really worth) all the way up to the final negotiation - which covers everything from earn-out to pay-out to final disbursements of assets and funds. You need to at least start and find out what your company might be worth.

If your company is worth good money, you need good advisers to facilitate this process. We're back full circle.

Summary: find a good M&A attorney. and be willing to pay good money to get good results. If you aren't willing to do that, you're not ready to sell.

You want Craig Stull at Pragmatic Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628330)

You want Craig Stull, CEO of Pragmatic Marketing. He's been involved with the sale of many, many software companies. If you are lucky he will take you on as a client. At the very least you should take a course from his excellent company. I can't believe you are actually getting good information from "Ask Slashdot".

Why not take a flying leap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628478)

Seriously dude you have no fricking idea how sick I am of being 0wn3d as a pet, hollow nagging requests to become part of organized crime families and listening to friends over coffe boast about the operation of their myspace meat markets... Enough is a fricking nough!!!!!!!!!

My recommendation is to jack your offices up on stiltz, get a few semi trucks and some chaser cars with the wide load signs and flashing lights and haul it all over a cliff.

May the warmest places in hell be reserved for you and your minions.

Why bother being negative? (3, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628488)

This isn't to to poster. Now that you've got the word out, you might find a buyer.

Everyone else: stop telling these people they can't do it, and are idiots for asking. They are smarter than you as they have got 50,000-60,000 people who are now aware of what they have. Also, no one has a freaking clue the first time you sell a company, and often after selling a few. Why? BECAUSE THERE ARE VERY FEW RULES. Just make sure you are getting paid in something that has real value and will continue to unitl your no-sell period ends. Having a lawyer is a give on deals like these.

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