The corporate development team at the world’s fastest growing social network was managing multi-million dollar deals in email and spreadsheets, but knew there had to be a better way. Now, they use Podio to track deal candidates and manage their acquisition process. We were thrilled to sit down with Mike Brown, their Director of Corporate Development, to learn more.
With 6 publicly disclosed acquisitions in 2011 and ongoing conversations with dozens of companies at a time, Mike’s team needed a system to track all of this activity. They evaluated building a custom app on Salesforce.com, but found this approach too expensive & time consuming. The fallback solution was to manage all of this activity in email & online spreadsheets, but the team knew that there had to be a more structured way to organize their work. Says Mike, “I wanted to systematize our process for sourcing companies, reviewing companies, and figuring out whether we were going to pursue them for acquisition. I’m an impatient guy, and I didn’t want to wait months to work with some consultant on a major IT project.”
MBA builds his first app over the weekend
Mike is a business person, with no technical training, but built his first Podio app over the weekend. It was a simple app, mostly used as a place to put pitch presentations and contact information. As conversations with some of these candidates continued, Mike extended his app. First came a place to put meeting notes, screenshots of demos, even photos of architecture diagrams drawn on whiteboards. Then came more structured information about target companies, like the amount of capital raised and the names of investors, used to answer questions from Mike’s boss like “are we talking to any other companies funded by this VC?” Soon, Mike’s team was using their Podio app to stay coordinated as they spoke with companies around the world. They can enter notes and ask each other questions for realtime answers while still on a critical phone call. They can use Podio’s mobile app at restaurants to enter comments after a particularly exciting lunch.
Using Podio for the rest of the acquisition workflow process
September was an important milestone– the first company in their Podio app reached the status, “Term Sheet Signed.” Of course, a term sheet is just the start of the acquisition process. That’s why Mike decided to create a new Podio workspace to replace their spreadsheet-based acquisition checklist. This new workspace has dozens of members, from Finance, HR, and Legal. Over 200 steps in the acquisition process were identified and assigned to different roles on the deal team. The impact? “We’ve vastly improved our ability to orchestrate and work together as a team,” says Mike, “because we have a common workspace inside of Podio so everyone can track what they’re responsible for and share information with their dependents in other parts of the company” What’s next? Perhaps the post-merger integration process—another process currently run on a spreadsheet. Perhaps recruiting, the other, old-fashioned way to acquire talent!
Next generation work tools for a next generation company
The team behind the world’s fastest growing social network needs a new generation of tools to support their dynamic, fast-paced work environment. For Mike and his team, Podio has become a natural way for the business to build apps that support how they work.