What Founders Need to Know Before Selling Their Startup

The vast majority of startup exits occur via acquisition. And while the internet is full of advice for pre-exit founders, remarkably little content exists to help guide them through post-acquisition life — even though they and the employees they recruited will often spend two-to-three years toiling away with the acquirer. An acquisition is an exciting occasion, to be sure, but it is hardly the happily-ever-after ending that the “founder’s journey” story might suggest.

Throughout my career, I have experienced 11 different acquisitions from multiple perspectives: as a founder, an investor, and a Board member. I recently went on a listening tour to compare my experience with the post-acquisition stories of a wide range of acquired founders. While I’m not at liberty to name names or dive into specific deals (as a rule, founders do not tell bad stories about their new employer), I can aggregate the honest perspectives I heard and combine them with my own…

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This article was written by David Jegen and originally published on hbr.org