Featured founders

Last year was a busy one for our Allens Accelerate clients.

We caught up with two founders whose businesses celebrated major milestones in 2021.

Accelerate_(640x426) article_vijay-rob.jpgVijay Sivaraman, co-founder and CEO of AI-driven network analytics Canopus Networks, reflects on his business's Series A round.

What do you look for in an investor?

While the funds are always most welcome, it is important to us that our investor is aligned with the founders in terms of philosophy and goals as such synchrony is essential for both day-to-day efficiency and overall effectiveness. Our ideal investor is someone who has bought into the vision and helps where they can add value (staffing, board, industry connections, etc.), but also gives enough freedom to the founders and team to harness their passion.

What was the most challenging component of the raise?

While the vision was relatively easy to communicate, building a business model was a lot harder, because the technology is disruptive and has no clear market parallels for us to validate pricing, complexity of uptake, and revenues. Thankfully, we found some investors who bought into the vision based on early traction, and hopefully we will be able to validate the business model ahead of the next raise!

Do you have any advice for other founders looking for funding in the scale-up phase of their business?

Perseverance pays, so make sure you speak to many potential investors, and learn how to adapt as you go. Build a strong team around you, because investors know that strong teams can adapt to changes in markets, technologies and circumstances. Lastly, do not hesitate to take help – bring others on the journey so you can both lighten your load and make success more likely.

What's next for Canopus now that the raise is complete?

Canopus plans to grow and consolidate its footprint in Australia, while seeking to expand to fresh markets in Asia and globally. Our mission is to enhance the experience of gaming, streaming and other internet applications for millions of people on the planet, while increasing profitability for telecommunications operators.

Accelerate_(640x426) article_vijay-rob2.jpgRob Hall, co-founder and CEO of advertising technology business Playground XYZ (one of the first high-growth companies to join our Allens Accelerate practice), shares his insights from Playground XYZ's recent acquisition by media and technology leader GumGum.

Having navigated a successful sale process for Playground XYZ, what do you know now that you wish you knew when the transaction kicked off?

International deal making can be tough. We're headquartered in Australia and the acquirer is in the United States. It turns out Australia is generally considered a 'seller friendly' market, with the US considered more 'buyer friendly'. That difference in starting point, just from a market norms perspective, creates the need for a lot of understanding and empathy as both sides come to the table.

What did you enjoy about the sale process?

Two things. Firstly, it was a completely new experience for me, so I really enjoyed learning as I went. Allens were great at taking the time to make sure we understood the implications of each of the points and, as such, I feel like I've had a master class in M&A. The second thing was the camaraderie. We had a deadline and, as it approached, the workload and time crunch got a bit hectic, but it also meant it was a time of great bonding as we all pulled together.

What's next for Playground XYZ?

A big part of doing this deal was the fit around vision, geography and products. We're now a proud part of the GumGum family, and working hard on our plans to bring the technology and teams together to create something really special on the global stage. Watch this space!

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