For Astrata, speed to deal is essential, and moving rapidly to identify, vet, and close out opportunities is very much part of the company’s modus.
FOMO is a slang abbreviation that stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s defined as a pervasive apprehension that you may miss rewarding experiences that others enjoy, because you did not have the necessary information needed to participate. Used most pervasively in pop culture, it accurately sums up some of the buy-side challenges faced by George Kappaz in his dual role as CEO of global technology firm Astrata Group and Chairman of private equity firm, CIH International.
Astrata Group emerged as the result of an acquisition by CIH and has grown rapidly in part due to the very disciplined acquisition skills of the CIH management team, under the leadership of Mr Kappaz. The company competes in the fast-moving world of global location technologies, designing and developing the advanced IT services and solutions that help companies keep track of global assets.
With a high and growing demand for such technologies, acquisitions that are a good fit for Astrata can be fiercely contested by competitors. For Mr Kappaz and his team, this means half the challenge is staying on top of where potential opportunities may emerge.
Mr Kappaz explains: “The principal frustration or concern is ensuring we have access to the right deals. While we have a decent flow in terms of the number of opportunities presented to us, we are always concerned that we’re not finding the right one and there’s another out there.”
The only thing worse than losing a deal is finding out about the one that was not even on the radar. “That is not an empty concern or one that’s based on theory. We’ve had experiences over the past decade with ‘Oh, I wish I knew about that company.’”
For Astrata, speed to deal is essential, and moving rapidly to identify, vet, and close out opportunities is very much part of the company’s modus. “If there is a particular company or investment, large or small, that makes sense and helps us achieve our strategy, we’re going to take a serious look at it,” explains Mr Kappaz. “We tend to move very quickly when we approach a deal – we don’t want to waste a lot of time – we do our diligence, we structure prudently, but we move with dispatch and that’s important to us.”
To help source more, better matched deals and to accelerate the vetting process, Astrata Group chose to join Intralinks Dealnexus®, the largest and most vibrant online deal-sourcing platform in the world.
The addition of Intralinks Dealnexus to the business has made an immediate difference to the Astrata corporate development team.
“Dealnexus in our view is a powerful, elegantly constructed platform. It has allowed us to source more deals and see more prospective deals and acquisitions around the buy-side right now than we otherwise would have seen,” confirms Mr Kappaz.
Easy To Use – Where other providers proved “clunky and distracting” wastes of time, after only a few weeks the team at Astrata was fully enabled and Intralinks Dealnexus was already delivering value. This has been a “refreshing” change from previous experiences, according to Mr Kappaz.
Power of Buy-Side Mandate – Being able to refine their buy-side mandate criteria has improved the quality of the deals being tabled to Astrata. This includes those now being sourced from advisors and stakeholders on the sell-side.
“The ability to define with hyper precision what we are looking for, in a secure manner, has allowed us to identify some deals that very much meet our criteria.” Deals are now “right on target”, according to Mr Kappaz.
Accelerated Vetting – In business, time is money and speed to deal is often the source of competitive advantage. Intralinks Dealnexus delivers by reducing the vetting process from weeks or months to often a matter of minutes.
“One of the things we really like about Intralinks Dealnexus is that you have enough descriptive material in a single notification from the system to determine with 90% certainty whether you want to pick up the phone and make a call on that deal,” said Mr Kappaz.
In a matter of minutes, Mr Kappaz and his team can now determine whether to sign an NDA, see a teaser, or place an additional call. For Astrata, this has changed the productivity game in a very significant way. “What would have taken us days, weeks, or even months has now been condensed to part of the work day, and often a very small part of the work day.”
More Deals – Within a short space of time, Intralinks Dealnexus delivered value in the form of deals moving beyond NDA. “Of the eight deals that we are in the vetting stages of now, a majority of them came directly from Intralinks Dealnexus over the past 6-8 months. It’s been a valuable tool. I highly recommend it.”