Ep 27: Selling your business – Stories from a serial entrepreneur – with Yo Shibata

yo shibataSelling your business is one thing. But it requires another level of skills to be able to sell several companies in the row. Merging or getting acquired by another company is a bit like marriage: you need to be sure you share similar values and can make things work out before getting into this big commitment.

To talk about selling a business, nobody was more appropriate than my guest this week, Yo Shibata. Yo started his first company when he was only 20 years old. After two years working on it, he decided to give a try to the corporate world but soon realized that this was not for him. He then moved back to the startup world, working on two companies at the same time. Eventually, he sold them both, including one for half a million dollar in just about a year.

Following that double success, he decided in 2011 to focus on his latest venture, Spotlight, making an O2O (online to offline) service called SMAPO. It is a mobile application where users can earn points by physically checking in at bricks and mortar retail shops. He has been able to sign over 90 brands at 700+ locations getting onboard big names like BicCamera or United Arrows. Eventually, in 2013, he sold 100% of the company to Rakuten, Japan’s biggest e-commerce company.

Yo explains how the acquisition took place step-by-step and tells us about the criteria that led him to choose that company over other offers he received. Merging a start-up with a multinational company is not an easy task. The management style as well as the corporate culture are so different. Yo guides us through the slow integration process following the acquisition and explains how adjustments have been made to only keep the best of both sides.

Beyond talking about how to sell your business, as a serial entrepreneur, Yo shares many pieces of advice for entrepreneurs out there. From how to make your first MVP to when to quit your corporate job, he gives us very valuable recommendations.

Questions: What criteria to consider when selling your company? How long building an MVP should take? (reply in the comments)

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  • (3:31) Presentation of Yo Shibata
  • (6:17) Building 2 successful companies in parallel
  • (11:30) Making a quick MVP at low cost
  • (15:29) Presentation of SMAPO O2O application
  • (20:20) Marketing metrics – how to prove the efficiency
  • (22:26) Online to offline or offline to online
  • (24:14) New technologies and technology dependencies
  • (31:56) Acquisition by Rakuten – managing the fusion
  • (34:35) Acquisition process and criteria
  • (39:58) How does it feel to get acquired?
  • (42:16) What to do next after selling your business?
  • (44:20) Merging corporate cultures
  • (47:24) Quick-fire questions

Thanks for listening!

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