Blog: Driving Change While Ensuring Stability

By: Donal O’Sullivan

When I first joined Eli Global to head up the Europe and Australasia M&A team four years ago, it was both a time of adjustment and a period of stability. Although that may sound like a bit of an oxymoron, a quick recap of my interview process should illustrate what I mean.

Picture this: It’s December 26, 2013. In the US, most people consider the day after Christmas to be a period of rest and relaxation, but in Ireland, where I live, it’s a sacred day. So when I told my family that I was attending an 8 a.m. interview that day, they thought I was mad!

However, after just a few minutes of meeting with Eli’s Greg Lindberg and Chris Herwig, it became evident that we shared the same energetic outlook toward opportunities in building a global business, and I thought to myself, “I could really do business with these guys.” So I was delighted when, with a shake of a hand, we were in business — and I’ve never looked back. As I adjusted to working within the Eli team, I felt stability in not only my own career and future, but also those whom I would bring into the Eli family in the years to come.

An Ever-Evolving Business Landscape

What I love the most about what I do is that no two days are ever the same. I am constantly challenged to learn new things in a range of different areas which I can apply to new situations. I work with the very best and brightest minds, with people who aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong, and more importantly, when I’m wrong. Everyone in our organization is given a significant amount of autonomy. We are encouraged to make mistakes and learn from them, which is really refreshing, and drives my passion for going to work every day.

Over the past four years I have been lucky enough to personally welcome over 20 new entrepreneurs into our growing group of leaders by acquiring their businesses, the majority of whom have stayed on with us to help bring their firms into the next stage of growth.

Apart from the liquidity event each was provided on acquisition to acknowledge the incredible effort they put in up to that point, these entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of being part of a larger, entrepreneurial, privately-held organization with a long-term view that results in the following advantages to them:

  • A quicker, more flexible, and better-informed decision-making process, allowing for a long-term view on the risks and opportunities that exist for the business;
  • A bigger balance sheet that goes a long way towards solving mission critical issues in the business – e.g. investing in new product development, entering new markets, signing up new enterprise-level clients as well as also making bolt-on acquisitions to their business;
  • Robust support to develop and flourish the long-term careers of entrepreneurs’ best people through our unique focus on leadership development coaching;
  • Opportunities to work with like-minded entrepreneurs in highly synergistic businesses worldwide
  • Certainty in the long-term relationship we develop with the entrepreneur due to our buy-and-hold approach of never selling any of our portfolio companies.

Watching entrepreneurs follow this path has been incredibly rewarding, because at Eli, we fully understand how difficult it is for business owners to hand over the companies that often represent the fruits of their entire working lives. However, we promise to really listen to what entrepreneurs have to say at all stages in the process both pre and post-acquisition to ensure we have solutions that work for both parties, because there’s no reason why we can’t all be winners.

Eli Global is a well-established, hard working group of entrepreneurs who love what they do. We’re a sector agnostic partner of top quality management teams in businesses who operate on a global basis in the areas of technology and services. Our M&A team would be delighted to hear from you. Click here for more information.