Day 10 of 45: The Big Meeting

11.42pm. Today was the day of my big meeting with an industry legend from one of the most well recognized companies in the world. In my field this is a man to meet. This is a man I would welcome as an investor. 

Ok, let me back track a bit and put this into honest context. The company in question has been a juggernaut over the last 30/40 years. In more recent times it has lost quite a bit of its relevance and luster as it has pursued more lucrative paths. Despite that, it is probably more successful now that it ever was before. It’s a bit paradoxical.

There might have been plenty of times in the past few years when the idea of selling out to this company would have been seen as very uncool; a bit like selling your soul to the devil. This un-named company has gone from being important, to being the epitome of commercialistic greed.

But as my time is running out, and I look around, there are not many other companies that represent such a good fit. I think we could give them a good amount of credibility. And through them, our profile and opportunities would be lifted immeasurably. Most pressing, we need their capital to survive. 

Prior to the meeting today, I had a call with some other advisors on how best to conduct it. There is talk that we could be a good low cost acquisition for this goliath. I would not be against that right now, but what was I supposed to say? “Here’s my company. It’s cool. Do you want to buy it?”. That’s not standard operating procedure. You can’t look needy. You can’t look desperate. You need to be like Frost, coaxing an apology out of Nixon. (I don’t know where these analogies come from). But we have the pressure of a ticking watch here…. we are getting desperate!

Anyway, meeting time came about. We checked in at the front desk. We showed our IDs, got a sticker and up we went to the 35th floor. The space was open, and shiny, and bright, and colorful.

We were asked to wait in reception. As my colleague sat down, I walked back and forth surveying the pictures on the wall. I tried to take them in, but lets face it… I was nervy.

Finally we were invited into the main mans office. What a view!

The meeting went well. He asked lots of questions. We got on fine. I always try be relaxed and humorous… striking a good balance is important, but tough. Sometimes I try to go for the jugular too much. Throwing out different selling points when I feel one is not enough.

He seemed genuinely interested. But he had a demeanor that is hard to read. That probably explains why he’s in his job.

The meeting ended with him stating, “Write me a one pager on what your looking for, and how we could work together.”

And so that was that. 

The moment we left, myself and my colleague started dissecting. I felt it went ok. 3 out of 5. My colleague said I should write back to him and offer him the company for a million bucks. I said we’d need 4 million. He said not a chance. We’re not worth it.

When we got back to the office, I called our current investor to tell him how the meeting went and for advice. “I need to know when asked what the valuation on the company is… what’s the exact amount I am asking for?”

“5 to 10 million I think” he responded.

Bloody hell. 30 days to go. It will be some month if that happens.

I need sleep.

John Startup


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