Sramana: How did you manage your rapid growth from $5 million to $25 million?
Eli Sasson: We had to expand the management layer of the company. That was the key first step. We added additional information systems to enhance reporting. We had to really build out all aspects of the company.
Sramana: How long did you carry on with that, and what were some of the core milestones of that business?
Eli Sasson: That lasted until 2008. Since 2008 we have gotten into a more problematic situation with the economy. In 2009 we experienced a decline in revenue and have since recovered slowly. At that time we decided we would start looking for the next step for business success. We started looking for a buyer for the company.
Sramana: The conventional wisdom is that you do not look for buyers; rather, buyers look for you. What was your process to approach buyers?
Eli Sasson: I don’t know if many buyers come to companies. I think buyers approach you when you have decided to sell.
Sramana: I think it varies. If a company has enough visibility and enough competitors and larger players, then they can come to you. If you are a relatively niche company that is not always in the media, then you do need to create a level of visibility before buyers can think about coming to you.
Eli Sasson: I would agree. We did some shopping because it was clear to me that the only people who would approach us unsolicited would be our competitors.
Sramana: Who were the top competitors with enough money and capital to buy you at that time?
Eli Sasson: Our biggest competitor was a company called Avocent. They were a company which [had sales of] $400 million and were listed on NASDAQ. They did some acquisitions, but at the end of the day, by the time we were thinking of selling the company, they were acquired by Emerson Network Power. That purchase let us know there was still a dynamic environment in this market, so we knew that someone would be interested in purchasing us.
The key was being discreet. We did not want our customers knowing about us. We did slowly show our cards to our largest customers, one of which had shown interest in us. They did have some internal issues for about four months before they were ready to talk.