Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur: Wade Beavers on acquisitions



Wade BeaversAs a founding partner and the CEO of Rochester’s DoApp, Minnesota tech entrepreneur Wade Beavers knows firsthand just how schizophrenic startups can be.

The hybrid product/service firm has been in the mobile game since the early days of 2008, having gained Apple’s approval early.  They subsequently created some of the first 500 apps to hit iOS before it was cool.

With dozens of apps now under their belt, DoApp’s mobile creations have been downloaded millions of times. They have a basket of core products, which until recently, included mRemedy — a joint venture formed in 2009 with the Mayo Clinic intended to better connect patients with providers.

Just as mRemedy was beginning to find its own stride in the market, it was discovered and purchased by Raleigh, N.C.-based Axial Exchange earlier this month.  The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but some Beavers’ thoughts on the acquisition are:

TECHdotMN: How did DoApp initially approach the arrangement with Mayo in the first place? What was the goal to build an asset for acquisition from the onset?

WB: DoApp initially did some development work for hire for the Mayo Clinic and through the consulting process it became clear that there was some synergies. We were nimble in development and early to mobile. Healthcare is 5-10 years behind in tech so it was an easy target. We focused on the patient to physician gap with intent to beta something that hospitals could promote for use.

The goal wasn’t necessarily to be acquired so soon but to prove it out more and then raise more equity. We went out with a fairly well thought out business model right from the start, which I think was a smart move. That is what sparked interest from folks in the health-tech industry.
Split Rock Partners

TECHdotMN: How did the relationship with would be acquirer Axial Exchange commence and what was their interest in mRemedy?

WB: Through Canaan Ventures and the Mayo Clinic is how Axial became aware of what we had done. Axial is a Caanan venture backed tech company that is fixing the problem of disconnected healthcare records and the reduction of patient re-admissions. Complicated stuff to a financial issue that is global in stature. We are talking billions and billions of dollars at stake for medical institutions.

Axial was exposed on the mobile side like other tech companies. Even Facebook wasn’t exempt from the fast moving mobile transformation. Axial found they could fill that gap with mRemedy and have something that aligned with their sales channel of working with medical institutions. iTriage which was a comparable product to mRemedy’s solution which was bought up fairly fast by Aetna Health. Mobile health tech is really, really early yet so this is just beginning.

TECHdotMN: How was the process compared to what you would have anticipated?

WB: It’s longer and way more complicated than I imagined. I can see why there are so many books on negotiations ;-) The adage when starting a company that “It will take you twice as long and you will make half as much as you think.” carries over to the acquisition process. It’s more complicated and takes twice as long. It’s about the details. Get a good attorney is the best advice. Thank you New Counsel!

TECHdotMN: What are some takeaways? What advice would you have for peer entrepreneurs considering the sale of a company/product?

WB: Know what you want out of the deal because every little thing is negotiated and I mean everything. Keep the stapler, give up the coffee mug.
Never spend anymore than 20% of your day on the sale or negotiation side. You have a business to run and until the ink is dry on a deal, you just never know. Focus on the business and the value should go up.

You need to be honest with yourself why you are selling. Know those reasons because it’s more than financial. The better you know this, the more successful you will be with the negotiations.