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While rigorous, Mueller said these vetting processes ensure a "very high" percentage of solution providers actually pen a deal based on their forum meetings. Out of the 15 to 20 solution providers typically participating, between two and five of them, on average, will partner with an investor, Mueller said.
"The transaction could range from a private equity making an investment in one of the companies, all the way to either a strategic buyer or private equity buyer doing a transaction to get full control of the company," Mueller said.
Mueller said solution providers attending the forum also can choose to attend a Bootcamp prior to their investor meetings, where they receive resources like preparation checklists for their one-on-ones, presentation templates, and a list of questions frequently asked by investors.
Kirk Shroyer, a former solution provider who now oversees his own advisory firm called Kirk Shroyer Consulting and Investments, attended one of MartinWolf's M&A Forums back in 2000. Shroyer's company at the time, Security Portal, struck a deal at the event to be acquired by Sarcom, another solution provider, in what ultimately amounted to be a roughly $5 million deal.
Shroyer called the one-on-one format of the M&A Forum "unique and highly proven," and said he would urge other solution providers and entrepreneurs to attend, especially given the complexity of managing M&A deals on their own.
"It's not for the faint of heart," Shroyer said of navigating potential M&As. "This is a very good stepping stone in that direction and, as far as I'm concerned, with MartinWolf and the team behind [attendees], they're in good hands."
Mueller noted the timeliness of next month's cloud-focused M&A Forum, given all the buzz around cloud services today and the rising value of solution providers playing in the space.
"What we see is that there are cycles for maximum valuation of these companies. At this time, in particular, the cloud services space is seeing some very strong multiples of valuation," Mueller said. "There are windows that open and close, and we feel like it's a peak time for these companies."
Software-as-a-Service companies also are reaching their peak, Mueller said, with their median valuations projected to reach as high as 4.5 times their revenue.
In addition to the forum in June, Mueller said there will be another M&A Forum this September in San Francisco focused on general IT services, such as system integration.
PUBLISHED MAY 3, 2013