Don’t be Caught Off Guard: How to Recognize an Upcoming Startup Acquisition
Congratulations! You work for a startup, the birthplace of innovation and new ideas, where every day is a rollercoaster of excitement and terror. And, like all good rollercoasters, sometimes it takes a sudden turn for the worst.
That’s right, we’re talking about that scary word: Acquisition. The process by which your startup is consumed by a larger entity and rebranded as a mere division of a behemoth corporation. And with that comes the threat of layoffs, promotions, and the restructuring of your job.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you prepare for the worst. Here are 6 surefire signs that your startup is about to be acquired and you should start polishing your resume, just in case you don’t like the new host company and the way your job is potentialy destroyed.
The CEO is Nowhere to be Found
Normally, the CEO of your startup is a constant presence. They lead the charge, inspire the troops and, sometimes, take all the credit (sorry). But lately, they’re nowhere to be found. Maybe they’re busy with closed-door meetings or attending off-site conferences, but they might be off negotiating the sale of your company.
Projects are Dying Faster Than Your Career Prospects
You’ve been working hard on the next big project. Suddenly it’s on hold; you’re left fixing bugs instead. All the other projects are suddenly on hold, too. This is a clear sign that your startup could be about to be acquired, and your project is might just be the first thing to go.
Strange Reorganizations are Happening
The company you work for is suddenly rearranging its employees and departments to fit the needs of the acquiring company. This might mean two unrelated teams suddenly reporting to the same manager, or the reorganization of development teams to fit the new company’s needs. If it looks strange to you, it’s probably because it is.
VC Funding has Dried Up Faster Than Your Boss’ Sense of Humor
Your startup was once the darling of the VC world. But now, funding has dried up. Your CEO is no longer taking meetings with VC firms. This is a clear sign that an acquisition is on the horizon, as the more VC funding your startup has, the less attractive it becomes to an acquiring company.
Hiring is at a Standstill
Despite the fact that your company is advertising for new hires, no one is getting hired. This is because prospective buyers want a deal with as little overhead as possible, and salaries look like overhead to them. So, if you’re currently understaffed and really need people, but no one is getting hired…congratulations, you’re about to be acquired, maybe.
Management is Suddenly Tight-Lipped
Even the most open, honest management team becomes secretive when it comes to acquisitions. They’re under negotiation, and nothing is official, so they don’t want to make an announcement before everything is finalized.
They may also be worried about their own jobs and the future of their positions under a larger corporation, so they may be too distracted to share any information with you. If you hear whispers of upcoming changes, and management is staying silent, this could signal an acquisition, or it could signal a business going under.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it, 6 signs that your startup is about to be acquired and your job is about to be turned upside down. But don’t panic just yet. An acquisition could signal a big change in the job you love, or it could signal the end of your career (just kidding, don’t worry–there’s always another job for you, and that’s kind of what Camden Kelly Recruiters are here to help with, anyway). So, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.