7 Fragen an Felix Engelhardt, CEO und Founder von Zumera
Support from technology in the area of market acquisition, tougher competition in the small and midcap segment and the influence of the current state of the financial markets - these and other topics are answered in the interview.
You were Managing Director of Saxenhammer for the last two years and have recently become CEO and Managing Director of Zumera. Can you tell us something about that?
Gladly, when we launched the Saxenhammer Digital Unit in 2021, we had the vision of creating a new Era of M&A.
An M&A that uses modern digital infrastructure and specialised tools to enable advisors to successfully navigate even the most complex transactions.
An M&A that sees thousands of conversations with owners, experts and investors not as a necessary evil, but as a unique opportunity to gather knowledge and constantly improve processes.
To give this new approach the space it needs to grow further, we have decided to operate under our own Zumera brand from February 2023.
Zumera thus has an experienced international team with a clear consulting focus and is firmly anchored in German-speaking SMEs thanks to its origins.
As CEO of Zumera, I thus have the opportunity to create a new era of M&A.
I find the combination of decades of experience with state-of-the-art technology particularly appealing.
Saxenhammer is traditionally known for distressed M&A, is that where you differ?
Saxenhammer has its roots in distressed M&A, but in recent years we have expanded the range of services as the digital unit of Saxenhammer and the former focus on distressed M&A has recently become only a small part of the digital unit.
Therefore it was a logical step to create something of our own with Zumera.
The focus at Zumera is on company sales and capital increases as well as fundraises on the sell-side for technology-savvy growth companies and hidden champions in the traditional mid-market as well as acquisitions, search mandates and debt capital advisory on the buy-side.
How are you trying to make the M&A process at Zumera more efficient through digitalisation?
To complement the advisory-intensive business of a traditional M&A boutique with modern tools and digital working methods, we have built up the Digital Unit. Appropriate technologies make many administrative tasks more efficient, allowing for better sharing and access to knowledge and giving us as advisors more time for what is important - our clients and the M&A process. We will continue and strengthen this with Zumera.
How can technology support in the area of mandate acquisition?
In deal sourcing, modern CRM systems and collaborative tools in particular offer great opportunities. This enables us to make the knowledge and network of the various teams and future additional Zumera locations accessible to all employees. Finally, we increase the quality of advice with the help of technology.
Competition in the small and lower-midcap segment is getting tougher. What are you doing to stay ahead of the competition?
Our commitment to quality, which has guided us from day one, is what makes Zumera so successful. This is evident from the 700% year-on-year growth.
With the wealth of experience in our team from over 300 successfully completed transactions, we are pioneering the transformation of our industry - and as Zumera, now with a new brand identity.
Our success rate of over 90% of all mandates ever accepted, which is well above the industry average, shows the dedication and commitment we put into advising each and every mandate. Our clients' success is the biggest deal for us!
What do you expect for the M&A market in the coming months?
The financial markets seem to be decoupled from the general economic situation at the moment.
The M&A market has done great since the beginning of the year - a trend that will continue in the coming months. We have never had so many discussions with potential buyers as in the current period. The market currently offers ideal opportunities to initiate an M&A process. Interestingly, I would make this statement for both the sell-side and the buy-side. The purchase prices are moderately high, the demand is right and there are enough sellers who are looking for a partner for succession or for further growth. This means that many parties are currently coming together. In addition, financial investors are increasingly recognising the versatile opportunities and potential of transactions in the SME sector. This trend will also continue to boost the M&A market. However, it should also be borne in mind that a good M&A advisor not only thinks about the purchase price, but also conducts the negotiations with a view to the future, so that the transaction does not fall on the feet of the parties in worse times.
Which transaction makes you particularly proud?
Every transaction is unique and has its own charm. A special transaction was certainly the sale of the hhpberlin Group to the Normec Group. Through a competitive process, the team managed to find a partner in Normec who, as the client himself puts it, "understood the vision and goals and actively helped shape them." The basis for the successful transaction was the understanding of these visions, goals and wishes built up by the team in the search for a strong, innovative partner.
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