IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of SRS Acquiom

June 14, 2023

As the new member participants in the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) keeps expanding, the current membership are given new opportunities for networking, in addition to optimizing support and partnerships, which leads to guidance and new ideas for Venture Capital, Private Equity and support industries.

The latest new member is SRS Acquiom, a firm that delivers a more seamless way to run a deal from start to finish, which enables sophisticated deal parties to focus on building their businesses and maximizing value.

The following is a Q&A profile with SRS Acquiom, which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.

New Member: SRS Acquiom
Representative: Eric Martin, Managing Director, Business Development for U.S. Central and Rocky Mountain Region/Canada

IVCA: What is a brief history of and background on SRS Acquiom?

SRS Acquiom: Since 2007, SRS Acquiom has reengineered the processes that slow down the administration of complex financial transactions, bringing unmatched expertise, insight and innovation to the full deal lifecycle. We invented professional shareholder representation and continue to be the leading provider of this service.

We were also the first to digitize shareholder solicitation and the shareholder payments process. We’ve created online dashboards to provide always-on access to the information our clients need related to their M&A deals, enabling deal parties to track and manage their deal anytime, anywhere. Our suite of integrated solutions, including virtual data rooms, digital stockholder solicitation, payments, escrows, and professional shareholder representation is designed to help businesses, investors, lenders, and advisors manage complex financial transactions in the most seamless way possible.

In short, we’ve changed the way M&A is done to eliminate inefficiencies previously accepted as the status quo, and we continue to look for opportunities to help streamline M&A deals and help our clients focus on what they do best – that has been and will always be the source of our continued innovation.

IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?

SRS Acquiom: SRS Acquiom has a long history with Venture Capital firms. Most of the early adopters of our flagship service (Shareholder Representation) were VC firms and they continue to be incredibly important and supportive clients of ours. We owe much of our success over the years to VCs who embrace our offerings. We have also been active for many years with the NVCA and other regional VC associations. The IVCA does an excellent job working with VC/PE firms and we wanted to be part of a like-minded organization.

IVCA: Your firm has evolved from the need to provide more clarity to complex M&A deals. How did your particular industry emerge and how has it been a game changer in providing a smooth landing for these deals?

SRS Acquiom: Before we were founded, few people thought to question how M&A was done. The process was complex and manual … factors which compound to create errors and mistakes, and to cause confusion and frustration.

Our founder was an M&A attorney himself, and seeing inefficiencies began to question the status quo. Why should shareholder representation be the burden of a single individual? Why do the attorneys need to collect documents via the mail, and tally responses manually? Why is confidential information too often shared via unsecure channels? Questioning every step of the process made it obvious how much the process could be optimized. That’s what we do – reinvent the mechanisms of M&A, helping our clients focus on what they do best. 

Before SRS Acquiom, an individual was appointed to the role of shareholder representative, but that person had little, if any, experience or support to handle the full extent of the role. SRS Acquiom solves that quandary and allows sellers to outsource the job of shareholder representative.

We have created robust processes and teams of in-house experts specifically to solve the types of challenges that arise after an M&A deal closes. Sellers can rest easy knowing that the post-closing ‘to do list’ and surprises are being professionally handled and can keep their attention focused on whatever their full-time responsibilities are, whether it’s working for the buyer, new-found retirement, fundraising/investing, or devoting attention to any other personal or professional endeavors.

IVCA: How did you evolve the business from that point?

SRS Acquiom: When we added paying agent and escrow capabilities in 2013, we quickly became known as a ‘one stop shop’ for counsel and deal parties.  When these services are bundled together with shareholder representation using a single provider, closing and post-closing communication and the overall process gets much more efficient for everyone involved.

On the paying agent service, we were the first to create and deploy purpose-built technology for this process and enable selling shareholders to complete all required documents and provide sensitive information in an intuitive, secure portal environment. 

We recruited some of the best talent from the paying agent industry, and together with the technology platform, created a service that M&A participants have come to rely on for their transactions. 

Deal parties want security, speed, transparency, responsiveness and , ultimately, comfort knowing that the funds flow at closing will result in parties receiving their closing proceeds as seamlessly as possible. That’s what we deliver to our clients.

For escrows, we partner with HSBC and Citizens Bank for our depository institutions.  We know that bank stability is of utmost importance to our clients, and we’re proud to partner with these two A-rated institutions.  Looking at HSBC specifically, when measured globally, their total assets are near $3 billion – one of the largest banks in the world. Deal parties have the benefit of working directly with our flexible and responsive M&A escrow team while knowing that their funds will be on deposit with very stable banking institutions.

IVCA: What layer to deals has been particularly vexing to the the process, and how has SRS figured out solutions?

SRS Acquiom: Multiple steps in the M&A process have historically been vexing … from communicating with multiple bidders during diligence to solving the multitude of problems that arise after the deal closes. Historically, the M&A process was quite manual and not terribly efficient.

SRS Acquiom was founded based on the belief that there was a better way to run M&A deals – by eliminating roadblocks to a deal being completed efficiently and effectively. We’ve created a system of technology-enabled products and a highly experienced team that can be deployed at different stages of the deal lifecycle, or across the entire deal lifecycle. Our offerings complement one another so that efficiencies gained early in the deal process cascade through the later stages. That’s intentional because we view switching from one provider to the next at every stage, and having to on-board and manage all those providers to be yet another challenge to the deal process, one more vexing issue we can solve.

IVCA: How has the digital revolution changed M&A deals?

SRS Acquiom: As in all aspects of modern life, technology is becoming increasingly central to how M&A deals are done. VDRs have replaced physical data rooms, signature-gathering software has largely replaced “blue-ink” signatures on deal documents, software to prepare closing binders has replaced bound books.

SRS Acquiom is proud of our role in developing innovative, purpose-built technologies that have changed the way M&A is done and delivered game changing solutions to drive efficiency. We were the first to offer, and continue to set the bar for, online M&A payments, digital stockholder solicitation, and online dashboards that give deal parties always on access to crucial deal details. 

IVCA: What does SRS Acquiom hope to achieve in their interaction with the VC/PE community within the IVCA?

SRS Acquiom: More than anything, we are excited to get to know the people in the VC/PE community, and be able to share our unique data and insights with them. The VC/PE community is a tight-knit group and we are proud to be a small part of it.

For the website of SRS Acquiom, click here.

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