About a year and a half ago, we launched the Private Market Labs website with a lofty goal: to support the intergenerational transfer of millions of small businesses to new ownership. We pledged to do so by empowering a new, diverse group of entrepreneurs to acquire successful companies through the use of technology. Now, we’re taking an important step forward on this journey with the public launch of the buyer-focused part of the Private Market Labs platform.
The purpose of this post is to walk buyers through the platform and describe how it will streamline their acquisition journey.
The Redefined SMB Buyer Experience
1. Personalized Matching Technology
Private Market Labs is unique from other platforms because it provides buyers with precise matches to companies for sale based on their individual acquisition criteria. We focus on providing a personalized experience at the top of the deal flow funnel because that can often be the first place where buyers experience significant friction in the acquisition process.
In the past, buyers would scroll through endless, poorly-matched opportunities with only a handful of inexact filters at their disposal. This often led to frustration, especially for searches with criteria that don’t fit neatly in predetermined industry categories. For buyers with substantial resources, this inefficiency can be solved by hiring interns and virtual assistants. For everyone else, it can be time-and-cost-prohibitive.
In addition to having more than 120,000 deals, our platform adds several distinct advantages for buyers:
- First, buyers describe their search targets in their own words, which we then use to generate personalized and precise matches.
- Second, buyers have the flexibility to mark their criteria as strict. A strict search will only display opportunities that are exact matches to each of a buyer’s criteria, whereas a non-strict search will show a wider variety of options.
- Third, we give buyers the opportunity to exclude deal types that they don’t find interesting. For example, a buyer using our platform can search for food and beverage distribution companies but exclude restaurants and bars.
2. Unparalleled Broker Data
In addition to our work organizing the deal universe for buyers, we also have unique insights about sell-side advisors and business brokers. We’ve compiled profiles for each broker in our system, allowing us to match buyers with the brokers that are most likely to have a deal that fits buyer criteria based on the brokers’ past activity.
We also have feedback mechanisms in place to collect information about how brokers interact with our buyer community. Bad actors who offer unreliable financial information in their listings or are frequently unresponsive may have their listings de-prioritized within our system.
3. Manage Top Deals with Ease
To help buyers keep track of their deal flow, we’ve implemented match management features in-platform. Buyers save matches that look interesting in order to receive additional information and reveal contact information for the supporting broker. Once a match is saved, buyers can message the broker, see specific financial details, and track their progress with that match. For example, buyers will be able to see a timeline of when they matched with a deal, when they saved it, and any messages sent to the broker through the platform. They’ll also be able to create notes, which is helpful when tracking multiple deals at the same time.
4. Search-Friendly Pricing Model
Our pricing is designed to be flexible and aligned with the way buyers prefer to search. Creating searches and receiving matches is free, allowing buyers to browse. Paid plans come into play when buyers look to gain additional information about a specific match and begin the outreach process. Pricing works similar to a CRM – buyers sign up for monthly or annual subscriptions to access a set number of saved deals and brokers. This configuration furthers our mission because it encourages people to focus on finding quality deals.
How to Engage with the New Buyer Experience
When getting started, we encourage buyers to experiment. Create multiple sets of search criteria and edit them frequently. Make ample use of your Saved Matches space and contact brokers on interesting deals to make sure you’re seeing sufficient deal flow.
Complete your buyer profile and financial disclosure – this helps brokers qualify you as a potential buyer and is designed to create trust within the system. Share feedback regularly to help us continue to make the platform better over time.
Return to the platform and request matches at least every two weeks. The market turns over quickly and we’re adding new deals regularly to the system.
Utilize our buyer resources. We create regular content for members of the small business acquisitions community, including articles and the Private Market Insights podcast. We also have a robust FAQs section in case you have any questions. If all else fails, reach out to us – we’re here to help!
Join Private Market Labs Today
In early 2022, we wrote this:
“The current infrastructure around small business M&A is inadequate for the challenge at hand. Buyers face an intimidating 42-step process to purchase a business that can be challenging to navigate. When combined with poorly-designed websites for finding opportunities and a lack of guidance outside the top 20 MBA programs, it’s clear that this industry is due for a shake-up.
We commit to being the agents of this shake up. Each step we take with this company will further the goal of bringing ease and transparency to the M&A process.”
The release of the buyer-facing platform today is the first step of many to achieve this goal. We would love for you to join us on this journey. Sign up today on beta.privatemarketlabs.com!