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LR Startup Looking to Make Merger Matches

2 min read

Merger Match from Little Rock startup founders and IT consultants Bridget Farris and Alese Stroud seeks to make proper matches out of potential mergers and acquisitions, and when necessary, stop them from happening.

The pair has developed a propietary tool that assesses possible acquisitions and sets appropriate acquisition targets, both for companies with an eye on expansion and those looking to sell.

Farris and Stroud presented Merger Match, a product of the Arkansas Venture Center’s inaugural Pre-Flight pre-accelerator course, on Wednesday morning at 1 Million Cups from the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

1 Million Cups is a program from the Kauffman Foundation licensed in cities across the U.S. that affords local entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their startup over coffee to a group of peers and potential investors. 1MC is held each Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the Chamber. 

Merger Match went from an idea hatched by friends Farris and Stroud into a full-blown startup entity with its inclusion in Pre-Flight, a 14-week course designed to help entrepreneurs place their ideas and startups on a fast track to market.

Pre-Flight is licensed from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and the first Little Rock run was held throughout the fall from the Chamber, finishing up in December with Pitch Day presentations. The second course is scheduled to begin Jan. 26 from the AVC’s new digs at 107 East Markham in downtown Little Rock, the former ARK Challenge space, and beginning Jan. 28 the AVC will become the host site for 1MC.

Farris told the 1MC audience on Wednesday that Merger Match is set apart by its focus on post-acquisition success and analytics. The process begins with Merger Match assessing an acquiring or selling company and establishing acceptable targets. Merger Match then uses its proprietary tool to asses prospects and analyze results.

“From there, we decide if we’re gonna go for it, reprice or restructure the deal, or kill the deal,” Farris said. “That’s not what a lot of companies want to hear, but many times, it’s what they need to hear.”

Farris said the tool helps buying companies ensure investment success, prepares selling companies to be better targets, and for investors, adds depth and confidence to the due dilligence process.

Farris and Stroud each have 30-plus years of experience in the financial IT field, but Merger Match is being developed to serve a broad array of industries. Farris said the initial target fee likely will be in the $50,000 range but could develop into a percentage of the sale price.

Farris said once the Merger Match model is fully developed, the growth plan will include selling the software as a service and licensing the model. 

“This is stage one to perfect the model,” Stroud said. “We hope to develop the software, license it and provide training to do the assessment process. That’s what’s going to make this company grow large.”

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