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BSG Team Ventures successfully completes CEO search for Nashville-based healthcare SaaS developer and provider

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Agilum Healthcare Intelligence

BSG Team Ventures is very proud to announce the successful recruitment of Mark McCurry to join the leadership team at Agilum Healthcare Intelligence. McCurry will be serving a leading cloud-based CRM provider that puts powerful customer insights at users’ fingertips as senior vice president of global services.

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Summer Marketing & Research Intern

  • WHAT WE DO: We build executive teams. Common slang? Headhunter. Lofty term? Executive search consultants.
  • WHAT WE NEED: A creative, self-directed, curious, marketing and market research focused intern. Our goal for this role? To map how we can best market into what we call the “gray space” with prospective clients.
  • WHERE WE ARE: We’re located in Back Bay, at the corner of Newbury and Clarendon. If you’re T-accessible, so are we (Green line Arlington or Copley stop, Orange, Back Bay stop).
  • WHO YOU ARE: Here is what you’re probably interested in, like thinking about, and are wired as—
    • Curious. You like to figure out how things work.  Or why things are the way they are.  Think investigative reporter.
    • Logophile. OK, if you’re the right type of person, you’ve looked this up and dropped it into casual conversation within the next 48 hours.
    • Self-directed. This is a role that will be given direction, but broad latitude to accomplish on one’s own.
    • Thirst for learning.
    • A budding pundit. Not only do you like words, but you like to write.  Not long tomes or deep research abstracts, but pithy, meaningful, insights-driven stuff. Think short stories. Something between haiku and novella.  You’ve written at least one tweet in iambic pentameter just for fun. You’ve blogged on life observations or your synthesis of current events.
    • You love the intersection of marketing, and market research. Finding a theme or insight, and then crystallizing, prepping, and disseminating it across the appropriate spectrum of social media tool.
  • FINE PRINT & FAQ
    • This is a paid internship.
    • The time commitment could be as few as 3 days a week, or as many as 4 or 5.
    • The internship will run from the beginning of June to the end of August, with the opportunity to continue in a part time role, if desired by both parties, throughout the school year.
    • You do not need to do all work in our office. However, you will need to spend most of your time in the office; therefore you should be accessible to Back Bay.
    • This role is conceptualized as a summer sojourn for college or graduate school students, not a full time role. Therefore, if full time work is what you seek, please respect the spirit of the need and pass up the urge to apply.
  • Strongly Recommended
    • A PC platform. A vast majority of the work is on a database that is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8 only.
    • Microsoft Excel, or a compatible software.

     

    In your response, please include:

    Social media coordinates for your work (blog URL, twitter handle), and any market research samples you wish us to review.

    Please direct all responses to our online portal at http://jobs.bostonsearchgroup.com/. Click on the link labeled “BSG Marketing Summer Intern”, and attach your resume, cover note, and contact information there.

The 5 Stages of Executive Hiring Grief [and the 10 steps to avoid them]

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It’s interesting that there are lots of books, articles, and blog posts written about what candidates should do when interviewing.  However, there are many fewer that are directed at the other side of the desk–the company hiring and the executive interviewer.  There is little more frustrating than finding a super-star candidate, and then having them slip off the hook and end up at a competitor.  We recently finished 3 searches in under 75 days.  The only way this happened was because of both deep cooperation and coordination between the search firm and the client as well as tight coordination internally within the client company itself, encouraging both interview quality and speed.

So how long do searches usually take you might ask? Every good executive search firm is pretty much done with assembling a high-quality short list of candidates in 60 days or less.  After that, most of the timeline rests in the hands of the client company.   David Lord and Simon Mullins of Executive Search Information Exchange (www.esisonline.com) run an annual survey each year to determine the average duration of retained searches.  Their 2015 Benchmark Survey of 62 mostly Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries shows the average length of a retained search at 123 days (initiation to offer acceptance). This number has been fairly steady in a range between 109 and 135 over the past 6 years.

When searches take longer, it is typically because one or more candidates remove themselves from the short list.  Each time this happens, the company often suffers their own version of the 5 stages of [hiring] grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

  1. Denial: “They [the candidate] hasn’t really accepted another role. We still have a shot at them.  They’re probably just bluffing to move the process along faster and increase their compensation negotiating position.”
  2. Anger: “They really missed out on the best career opportunity. They’ll learn soon enough that they missed out, and will come back around with their tail between their legs asking if the role is still available.”
  3. Bargaining: “Let’s see if we can get an offer out to them that is sweeter than the one they’ve just accepted. They haven’t started in the job yet, and there’s still time to woo them over to our shop.”
  4. Depression: “We’ll never find a candidate that good.  Yes, there were others on the short list, but none of them were as good as the one that got away.  So let’s start the search all over again with a fresh batch.  I must have been fooling myself on the other candidates who made it to final rounds… they don’t hold a candle.  Flush the short list and start over.”
  5. Acceptance: “OK, I understand that the next time we find someone really promising we’ll move faster, sell harder, and be more aggressive around the executive compensation package we put out as an offer framework.”

So, if you’ve recently suffered from similar executive hiring grief, what are the top 10 do’s and don’ts in the executive hiring process to keep in mind for the “next time”?  Here is our list we generated after doing a post-vitum on each of these 3 recent sub-75-day search completions:

  1. Help to perform early triage of candidate profiles to clearly communicate what a “bull’s-eye” candidate looks like. On all 3 of these sub-75 day searches, the key client stakeholder reviewed actual bios of potential candidates to boil down what a “10” looked like.  In another search not in this sample where search start to candidate acceptance took 140+ days, this was not done, and it took much longer to calibrate between what the company wanted in their mind’s eye, and the profiles that existed in the marketplace.
  2. Make sure to create a short-list of at least 2 to 4 executive candidates, all who are “over the bar.”  Nothing drives indecision more than the sense that you have no choice.  “You can get this one in any color, as long as it’s black” never a passionate buyer makes.
  3. Schedule candidate interviews quickly with all key stakeholders.  The death knell for candidate interviewing is the length of time it takes to schedule them through all key participants in the interview process.  It is ideal to have each candidate be interviewed by ALL stakeholders on one visit to the company.  If not possible, making sure that candidates are scheduled for 2nd interviews to occur no later than 2 weeks after first interview is key.  As the deal-making aphorism states, “time kills all deals.”  Sometimes think about flying one of the stakeholders to the candidate if a roadblock crops up in the calendar.  This can both speed up the process, and demonstrate to the executive candidate that you think highly of their candidacy, enough to fly you to them, not only them to you.
  4. Don’t “serial-process” candidates. Working executive candidates one-at-a-time through the interviewing process means that the rest of the talent fruit that began ripe, rots while waiting. So, if a basket of candidates all hold promise, move at least 2 to 4 through the process in parallel, and save serial for the breakfast table.
  5. Establish a “candidate ombudsman” early in the interview process. This is best when it is the senior most hiring authority involved. The goal for this role is to “sell” on first interview meeting, and help to maintain interest by the candidate across the process.  Most companies fear having a senior manager play this role, but if a critical executive hire, it is really important to have this person be the first impression, sell the high level vision/culture/chemistry/values piece.  This is NOT a candidate advocate, but rather someone who establishes trust with the candidate and to whom a candidate can confide their concerns about the role, the company, culture, or other.
  6. Create “candidate interviewing strategy.” Establish and validate the core success attributes for the position, and then parse out across the interview team those attributes and make each stakeholder responsible for doing a deep dive on one or more, and then reporting back to the rest of the stakeholder group on their findings.
  7. Train stakeholders on interviewing best practices. Make sure the position is described with alignment across the stakeholder team, ensure interviewers are using behavior-based interviewing techniques [http://blog.timesunion.com/careers/50-behavioral-based-interview-questions-you-might-be-asked/1538/], and are basing their impressions on facts and experiences rather than “vague feelings.”
  8. During the pre-offer process, don’t forget to sell. Companies are so often in the “buyer” mode that they can sometimes forget that once they’ve found a talent they really want, they need to woo, sell, and offer themselves up as a resource to answer any residual questions lurking that the candidate has felt uncomfortable asking, or felt it wasn’t the right time.  These questions could come from their spouse to their mentor(s).
  9. Be prepared to make a “win-win” offer. In all 3 searches, the offer process was run more like a dialogue between three interested parties sharing their needs and wants with the goal of a win-win outcome–the company, the candidate, and the search firm.   This is in stark contrast to the “guess what I’m thinking” approach often used in generating an offer, where company puts out an initial framework in writing with little consultation with either candidate or search firm, and then negotiation occurs from there.  In a win-win offer approach,  the offer letter is only committed to writing once all the major elements are agreed to verbally.  Then a letter is generated more as confirmation of verbal agreement than a trial balloon.  This often cuts down on a week or more of back-and-forth, acrimony, and ultimate disenchantment and turn-down.
  10. Make sure the offer process is run by the senior most stakeholder. Not HR, or the CFO or even the search firm on its own.  If it’s a CEO search, then the head of the search committee.  If another senior operating role, it should be the senior most stakeholder (CEO or other), plus the search firm as a partnership.

And a bonus observation on moving executive searches to closure:

  • Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. Coming out of the 2009 recession, companies were interested in “seeing all talent available” before making a decision. They might even say, “We won’t make a decision until we’ve interviewed at least a half-dozen candidates.”  However, in today’s high-demand executive talent market, by the time the 6th candidate is interviewed, candidates 1 through 3 have often already accepted other opportunities.  In these 3 sub-75-day searches, each client company was prepared to move to offer if they found a compelling talent.  As the saying goes, “perfect is the enemy of great.”

EXECUTIVE SEARCH | President | Voyager Sopris Learning

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Voyager Sopris Learning

President


Reports To: Cambium Learning Group CEO, John Campbell
Location: Dallas, TX
Website: Voyager Sopris Learning

VOYAGER SOPRIS IN THE NEWS

December 19, 2014
Cambium Learning Group Earns Reader’s Choice Top 100 Distinction

September 17, 2014
Voyager Sopris Learning’s We Can Early Learning Curriculum Approved by Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development

September 22, 2014
Voyager Sopris Learning’s Fall Webinar Series Brings Educators in Contact with World-Renowned Authors, Educators, And Researchers for Fifth Year

POSITION OVERVIEW

Reporting directly to the John Campbell, CEO of Cambium Learning, the President will be responsible for leading Voyager Sopris Learning through a company-wide transition from print to digital products and services. Person will have direct responsibility for all functions and developing and executing the transition to a SaaS model and subscription sales. President will have full responsibility for Voyager Sopris P&L.

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

BSG Team Ventures successfully completes SVP Global Services search for CRM leader in talent recruiting services

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Bullhorn

BSG Team Ventures is very proud to announce the successful recruitment of Danielle du Toit to join the leadership team at Bullhorn. du Toit will be serving a leading cloud-based CRM provider that puts powerful customer insights at users’ fingertips as senior vice president of global services.

du Toit brings 15 years of experience in professional services for IT and technology companies to her new role, most recently serving as vice president, professional services America at Salesforce.com. At Bullhorn, du Toit will focus on delivering an excellent customer experience through service delivery, consulting, training, and adoption services. She’ll lead Bullhorn’s team of 75 services professionals and help develop an ecosystem of system integration partners dedicated to customer success.

du Toit’s move to Bullhorn highlights the company’s continued dedication to customer success. du Toit’s vision for Bullhorn global services is to help customers leverage Bullhorn’s technology to achieve their respective business visions. “I am looking forward to helping our customers achieve their business goals through world-class consultation and service delivery,” said du Toit. “Every customer, regardless of size or focus, deserves a consistent and excellent experience, always.”

du Toit’s was attracted to Bullhorn as a company for a very specific reason: “Bullhorn’s product is beautiful—truly, the first transformative development in cloud-based CRM in years—and the company’s growth opportunities unlimited, so deciding to lead its professional services group is a logical next step in my career. I’m impressed by Bullhorn’s growth and progression as a company, and once I saw the product, I was convinced. I’m excited to come on board and help strengthen support for Bullhorn’s core staffing and recruiting customers, and the new markets where its CRM product is already gaining traction.”

Before joining Bullhorn, du Toit served in a number of leadership roles at Salesforce. As vice president of professional services America, she owned profit and loss for the company’s professional services organization in the Eastern America region, driving strategy, structure, management, and operations to ensure client success, client retention, and key business and financial metrics. Before that, she was vice president, Global Center of Excellence, working with services leaders, services operations, and regional management to build the tools and processes to enable, guide, and govern the global body of consultants within the services organization and the partner ecosystem. du Toit joined Salesforce through its $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013.

“Danielle has a passion and drive for customer service and for enabling business growth that’s obvious through her energy and her fantastic track record of helping customers of all sizes and industries grow and thrive,” said Art Papas, Bullhorn’s CEO. “And with such deep domain expertise in SaaS-based CRM, she’s the perfect fit to lead our rapidly-expanding global services business. Danielle truly understands and appreciates that customers are the foundation of everything we do – it’s a rare privilege to work with someone who fundamentally just gets it.”

Since a major investment in 2013 to more closely align its technology with the way people live and work, Bullhorn’s CRM has expanded well beyond its roots in staffing and recruiting. Today, multiple industries are using its solution in place of traditional, horizontal CRM offerings. Bullhorn now has a client base of 10,000 organizations and 350,000 users, and is making further investments in ensuring ongoing success for its clients.

About Bullhorn

Bullhorn provides cloud-based CRM solutions for companies in service-based industries. Its data capture and customer insight technology puts the most up-to-date and powerful information at users’ fingertips to give them everything they need to win customers and keep them happy. Today, Bullhorn serves more than 10,000 clients and 350,000 users, and its software solutions are used by some of the world’s most prominent services enterprises to help increase sales, improve service delivery, and streamline operations. Headquartered in Boston, the company has offices in St. Louis, London, and Sydney, with 450 employees globally. The company is founder-led and backed by Vista Equity Partners. To learn more, visit www.bullhorn.com or follow @Bullhorn on Twitter.

 

On the Conference Circuit: Top 10 Private Equity Conference Takeaways – Food & Nutrition Companies

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Continuing our series on conference takeaways, we focus this time on portfolio companies in the food and nutrition industries.


These are the the key takeaways —

  • Strategic Buyers continue to dominate Food and Beverage deals: In 2014 they accounted for 91.5% of the deals; this is up from 88.7% in 2010.
  • Multiples were up 12.1x in 2014 (Source: Capital IQ).
  • The following themes dominated conversation about food and beverage: “natural”, “organic”, “fresh”, “functional”, “indulgent”.
  • The centre of the store offerings continue to lag.
  • Change in market demands are reflecting a demographic change: a shift towards millennials, who tend to be better educated and more diverse.
  • Millennials are looking for authenticity, transparency, and “eating clean”.
  • Millennial Moms, who account for 1/3 of all food purchases, spend 66 hours online per week. Social media is critical in reaching them!
  • Large Food and Beverage companies continue to buy smaller companies in order to remain competitive by bringing in innovative products. E.g., General Mills’ purchase of Annie’s Foods resulted in a 27x multiple.
  • Emerging demand trends include Protein, Breakfast Alternatives, and Ethnic offerings.
  • Smaller companies will succeed through innovation, outsourcing non-core functions and relentless focus on quality.

Stay tuned for our next installment!

 

EXECUTIVE SEARCH | SVP Online Programs | West Coast University

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West Coast University

SVP ONLINE PROGRAMS
West Coast University


Location: Irvine, CA
Website: West Coast University

WCU IN THE NEWS

WCU offers RNs online bachelor’s or master’s degrees

Pharm D Students Receive Their White Coats

WCU holds Smile Camp in Anaheim

POSITION OVERVIEW

Reporting directly to the CEO, William Clohan, the new SVP of Online Programs will be responsible for building and promoting the new post-professional online division of West Coast University. The SVP is a general manager with strong P&L experience who knows how to grow an online division. Admissions and student retention report to the SVP and leading the student experience will be an important part of this position.

THE UNIVERSITY

For over 100 years, West Coast University has been educating and helping prepare adult students to enter the workforce and make a difference. Regionally accredited by WASC with CCNE nursing accreditation, WCU has been positively impacting the nursing profession. In 2014 thirty-eight percent of nursing graduates who took the NCLEX in California graduated from West Coast University and one of its four California campuses.

West Coast University’s objective is to stay at the leading edge of the healthcare industry, helping prepare graduates for a career in healthcare that is responsive to the demands of the community and the global society. The goal is to help each student grow professionally and personally, becoming highly skilled professionals and healthcare leaders.

West Coast University is privately held and has grown organically for nearly four decades under the leadership of its Founder, David Pyle.

The Mission
West Coast University embraces a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. WCU delivers transformational education within a culture of integrity and personal accountability. WCU designs market-responsive programs through collaboration between faculty and industry professionals. WCU continuously pursues more effective and innovative ways through which students develop the competencies and confidence required in a complex and changing world.

University Values
Academic Integrity and Intellectual Honesty
Committed to a culture where ethical conduct governs interactions.
A Culture of Mutual Respect
Belief that each member of the University community can significantly contribute to the fulfillment of the mission.
Student Learning
Commitment to continuous assessment, evaluation and improvement of student learning.
Serving the Community
WCU takes very seriously their responsibility to make a positive impact on the communities that surround them geographically and professionally.
A Student-Centric Culture
WCU holds an institutional responsibility to identify, understand, and respond to student needs.
Agility and Responsiveness
The needs of students, faculty, and associates are responded to quickly.
Innovation and Creativity
WCU is committed to bringing innovation and creativity to the development and delivery of instruction, and in identifying solutions to complex and challenging problems.
Diversity
WCU encourages diversity of thought, ethnicity, culture and experience recognizing that through multiple and often differing perspectives offered in a collegial setting, the best ideas emerge.
Efficient Use of Resources
Through WCU’s stewardship, they develop solutions that make the best use of investments in time and other resources.

University Objectives are always at the forefront

    • To provide degree programs in fields of study that lead to professional success
    • To provide academic and support services to enhance student success
    • To provide a caring environment that is supportive and concerned with each student’s success
    • To provide curricula, facilities, equipment and educated faculty to prepare students for employment in an ever-changing market
    • To offer innovative and alternative modes of education delivery
    • To assist in meeting the employment needs of related professions

    Institutional Learning Objectives
    Institutional learning outcomes are designed by the University as a whole, taking into account the role that both instruction and student services play in contributing to a student’s success. Institutional learning outcomes assume achievement of the stated programmatic learning outcomes of one’s discipline.

    Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

    On the Conference Circuit: Top 10 Private Equity Conference Takeaways

    Over the past month our principals attended a number of PE conferences ranging from the Women’s Private Equity Summit (WPES) to Buyouts East as well as ACG events where industry leaders shared their perspectives on the industry. Here the Top 10 Takeaways that resonated with us…

    • While no one uttered the “bubble” word out loud, there were consistent references to “frothy” prices
    • This is a challenge that PE firms are well poised to capitalize on as more than one speaker asserted “we get paid to find pockets of opportunity” across all market conditions
    • Deal flow is trending down by about 5% in Q1 2015
    • Despite the publicity related to larger deals, 95% of all PE deals were for companies with revenue under $400 million
    • Investors were advised to look for opportunities outside traditional areas: Los Angeles vs Silicon Valley for example.
    • Consumer-centric companies that target the growing global middle class will thrive
    • Many PE firms are looking to extend product suites within their portfolio companies
    • Most lower to middle market companies are “starved” for sales/marketing talent
    • Diversity now encompasses diversity of thought as well as employees from diverse backgrounds
    • Increased regulations and government oversight will continue…

    Please share any thoughts you might have on these. We will update this during the year.

    EXECUTIVE SEARCH | Chief Sales Officer | Achieve3000

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    Achieve3000 -  believe

    Achieve3000


    Reports To: CEO, Achieve3000
    Location: Flexible
    Websites: Achieve3000

    ACHIEVE3000 IN THE NEWS

    Achieve3000, Inc. Granted US Patent for Online Differentiated Instruction Methodology

    Achieve3000 Helps Florida Teacher Achieve Extraordinary Reading Growth

    Achieve3000 Goes Global with Launch of Worldwide Reseller Program

    New Tools for the Common Core, featuring Achieve3000

    … and other recent press releases.

    POSITION OVERVIEW

    With Achieve 3000’s recent acquisition by Insight Venture Partners, a leading private equity firm in the Education industry, company CEO Saki Dodelson and the investors are turning their attention to upgrading the company’s sales organization to reflect (1) its growing market position in online differentiated instruction in literacy and other K-12 course areas and (2) the fact that such a complex, technology-based product line requires both a higher level sales organization and more professionalism in how this sales organization is structured and managed. Key to this redefinition is hiring a new Chief Sales Officer to run Achieve 3000’s 85-person sales force, comprising field, inside, and international sales teams.

    The CEO and IVP share the conviction that the room for future growth is substantial, and that the company’s growth objectives will come largely through the acquisition of new schools in the United States and globally, and in cross selling the current portfolio of products to the established customer base.

    THE COMPANY

    Company Background
    For more than a decade, Achieve3000® has supported the individuality and potential of every student by reaching them where they are to help them reach higher levels of reading and writing proficiency.

    The company’s fundamental belief is that literacy unlocks achievement, and that the key to improving literacy is differentiated instruction. Today, Achieve3000 is the leader in differentiated online instruction, serving more than one million students across the United States. In 2011, Inc. magazine included Achieve3000 on its annual 500/5000 list for the fifth consecutive year, the exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest growing private companies.

    Achieve provides the only web-based, differentiated instruction solutions designed to reach a school’s entire student population — mainstream, English Language Learners, special needs, and gifted. In addition to KidBiz3000®, TeenBiz3000®, Empower3000™ and other literacy solutions, Achieve launched its first differentiated core curriculum solution, eScience3000® in 2011. Founded in 2000, Achieve has grown quickly, and today serves more than one million students across America. Today, Achieve3000 is leading the way towards helping every student become independent, reaching higher standards and becoming prepared for college and the workforce.

    Product Overview

    Literacy Solutions
    Achieve3000® believes in the power of truly differentiated online instruction to enable significant and sustained Lexile®/reading growth — a belief supported by a decade-plus of scientifically proven performance.

    The need for differentiated instruction has never been greater. With the increased demands of the Common Core State Standards, the imperative for students to become independent readers of complex text grows by the day.
    By setting reading levels, differentiating non-fiction text based on each student’s unique academic profile, and continually assessing and increasing the complexity of text, Achieve solutions steadily increase students’ ability to read, comprehend, apply and communicate information derived from complex text — prerequisites for success in school and beyond graduation.

    KidBiz3000, TeenBiz3000 and Empower3000
    KidBiz3000® for grades 2 to 5, TeenBiz3000® for grades 6 to 8 and Empower3000® for high school are the powerful, proven, differentiated online literacy instruction literacy solutions that reach every student at his or her Lexile®/reading level. They deliver truly differentiated reading and writing assignments — using high-quality, non-fiction content based on each student’s reading level – and that automatically adapts content via ongoing, real-time Lexile assessment.

    Importantly they align closely with objectives of the Common Core State Standards to give students the content area literacy skills they need to succeed on the standards and prepare for college and career.

    Powered by Achieve3000’s LevelSet™ Lexile assessment tool and proprietary software engine that distributes assignments to the entire class, but tailors them according to each student’s reading level, KidBiz3000, Teen Biz3000, and Empower3000, enable all students to make continual progress and improvement.

    Achieve Language, Achieve Intervention, and Achieve Enrichment

    These solutions do more and go further to meet the needs of the entire population – English language learners, struggling students and students with special needs and advanced learners alike.

    Newly Developed Science Solutions
    As it has with its differentiated literacy instruction, Achieve is leading the way in science with a fresh approach and powerful partnerships. The new solutions promise to make science a passionate pursuit for students.

    • eScience3000® is a differentiated core science program for middle school students. The solution is an engaging, experiential, differentiated program that changes the game when it comes to science instruction. By making science accessible to all learners, eScience3000 is designed to help meet STEM objectives to move U.S. students from the middle to the top in science achievement over the next decade. eScience3000 is also designed to fulfill all district requirements for core science programs that meet 21st-century educational needs.
    • Achieve3000®’s World of Biology is a breakthrough in differentiated science curriculum for middle and high school — one that helps students achieve the literacy skills they need to succeed in biology and perform better on exams and high-stakes tests. Designed as a supplement to complement existing biology text, World of Biology provides a standards-based biology curriculum with embedded recommendations to support STEM literacy initiatives.

    About Insight Venture Partners
    In 2014 Achieve 3000 entered into a new business alliance with Insight Venture Partners (IVP).

    Insight Venture Partners is an American private equity and venture capital firm based in New York City. The firm focuses exclusively on investing in technology, software and Internet-enabled businesses and currently has a capital base of approximately $7.6 billion for this purpose. The company has invested in well-known companies such as Twitter, Chegg, Tumblr, Flipboard, Zynga, Quest Software, and Hotel Urbano, a company established in Brazil. Insight’s investments include growth equity, capital for M&A, buyouts, take-privates, pre-IPO rounds, and recapitalizations.

    The partnership with Insight will help advance Achieve 3000’s market leadership position and accelerate revenue growth through acquisitions and building of new products for the education market.

    THE POSITION

    Achieve3000 is seeking a Chief Sales Officer to lead and direct the entire sales effort for this rapidly expanding company, reporting to the CEO.

    Key Responsibilities:

    • Developing overall sales strategy in close partnership with the CEO and leadership team that will improve sales force productivity in both customer renewals and new business sales to existing and new customers
    • Integrating directing the inside, outside, and international sales teams’ activities to achieve sales goals including transformation leadership with the sales organization
    • Manage transformation from a geographic based team selling model to a Tiered Customer Segment model where accountability rests with an individual sales representative
    • Developing and leading the sales support and administration function
    • Working closely with marketing, product management, business development, and software development organizations to drive business results

    Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

    Top 10 Lessons Learned in Selling Your Company– Private Equity-backed CEOs Share Their Stories

    PE Exits Dinner photo, Dane Estate 2015-02-26 20.01.12

    In March, 2015, at the height of this winter’s snow fall that ultimately landed the year as “worst on record” for Boston, we at BSG had the opportunity to convene a panel of 3 CEOs to talk about exits. In common across these captains of industry?  All had been running private equity backed companies, all were located in the Northeast, and all had led their companies through successful exits, returning significant capital to their PE investors.

    The differences between the 3 CEOs? Two exited to financial buyers (other PE firms), and 1 to a strategic. One was in the medical devices industry, another in building products, and the third in SaaS software.  One was a microcap, (sub 15M in revenues), one lower-middle market (25-50M in revenues), and the third north of $200M.

    The setting for the panel?  The picturesque Dane Estate in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  The format?  Fireside Chat.

    The audience?  Other PE-backed CEOs and private equity investors intent upon sharpening their saws of learning in preparation for their opportunities for exits and liquidity.

    After cocktails and over dinner, the conversation began in earnest.   Each CEO shared their stories around the company they inherited, the lead-up to exit, and the sales process that ensued.

    Although the below does not comprehensively capture all “a-ha” nuggets, we offer here the aggregated top 10 lessons learned across these CEOs and their exit experiences.

     

    #1: Companies usually have more hair than you thought before you joined as CEO: Make sure not to underestimate how much work needs to be done before a company is ready to enter a sales process.  If you’re joining from the outside, be cautious of overly aggressive exit time lines.  It’s a bit like that vacation traveler adage, “double the money and take half the clothes you packed.”

    #2: Ensure alignment within ownership, board and management:  A smooth process requires upfront alignment among these parties on process, valuation, proceeds, timing, ideal partners and other factors. Once established, regular and thorough communication is required to maintain alignment.

    #3: Be ready to capitalize on market conditions They are many elements that enter into making the decision of when to sell.  Because many of these are beyond one’s control, it is important to prepare the company early in the ownership cycle so that when conditions are right you are prepared to act to take advantage of the window.

    #4: Sell the upside–growth potential for the future:  In attempting to capture maximum value, it is important to answer the question/create the picture of what the business will be like under new ownership.  For many financial buyers they need to believe that EBITDA under their ownership can double or better as a threshold condition of interest.

    #5: Start the process early:   Hire an investment banker (and other advisors) and start the preparation process months before you think you want to go to market. This time is needed to educate the advisors, refine messaging/positioning, create marketing documents/presentations, financial statement and forecast preparation and to start to populate the data room. In one transaction, the CEO spent as much time preparing (5 months) as he did in the entire sales process (5 months). It all paid off. This deliberate approach also allowed CEO and CFO to focus on running the business during the preparation process.

    #6: Pitch Book:  Have it ready, practice a lot, refine based on feedback.

    #7: Be inclusive when shopping the company:  Include more prospective buyers (both financial and strategic) initially to find the right partner.

    #8: Investment bankers:  Interview more than one investment bank. It will let you see who’s talking up the deal to get the business.  Don’t tell the investment bank you know how much you would be willing to sell the business for.  Let them price it.

    #9: Beware of impact created via internal communication across the employee base: There were two schools of thought on whether to share M&A process more broadly than on a “need to know” basis.

    PRO-sharing: More disclosure is better than less disclosure.  In a larger enterprise with many potential buyers it is difficult to ensure the sale process will remain confidential and it is better if customers, employees and other stakeholders hear the message from management and are kept apprised of key milestones along the way.  Openness may require that a key employee retention program be put in place or to ensure the contract addresses how employees will be treated post-closing to ensure the team is retained and focused until closing.

    CON-sharing:  Keep the management team who are in-the-know small. Hard work but keeps the rest of the team focused and not distracted on transactional “what if’s.”  Keep the overall timeline very condensed. Keeps the momentum moving.

    #10: The highest bidder isn’t always the best buyer: 2 out of 3 CEOs talked about how they ended up selling to bidders who were not top bidder.  In each case, there was good reason to sell to the 2nd highest bidder. One reason was because the high bidder was a direct competitor, and they felt it would put the health of the future business at risk.  The other CEO felt that the financial investor they ultimately selected conveyed a more compelling picture of growth for the company if they acquired it.

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