How Net Neutrality May Impact Medium and Small U.S. Businesses
You may have heard a lot about “net neutrality” over the last few months. It’s a regrettably dull term for an important idea – should Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and others be able to charge users different rates based on the amount of bandwidth used or should high-speed internet access be treated as a public utility?
Large technology companies such as Google (YouTube), Facebook, and Netflix are understandably against net neutrality since these companies require large amounts of bandwidth to deliver content to consumers efficiently. An increase in cost or decrease in bandwidth could have a strong impact on the profitability or the performance of their content and services of these technology behemoths if they choose not to pay. On the other side of the argument, we have the ISPs who are the gatekeepers of the internet via DSL, cable, and fiber-optic lines, and control how fast users surf the web and how quickly websites load. ISPs would like to ‘de-regulate’ the internet in order to charge variable fees based on usage, stating that large technology companies don’t pay their fair share.
So, the million-dollar question is how the repeal of net neutrality will potentially impact the vast number of medium and small U.S. businesses?
The Secular Trends Behind the Rising Tide in Wealth Management Technology (“WealthTech”)
The advent of Financial Technology (“FinTech”) has created ripples across the financial services landscape, and wealth management has been no exception. As a growing subset of Fintech, WealthTech aimed at the Registered Investment Advisory (“RIA”) channel has garnered significant interest from both industry constituents and M&A professionals.
It’s worth looking a bit deeper into the secular trends driving this interest.
Presented with an Investment Opportunity in Managed Services?
Secure. Convenient. Cost effective. Always on. There is a lot to like about managed IT service providers (“MSPs”), and recent M&A activity in the space would suggest investors agree. As enterprise clients continue to shift their IT spend from Capex to Opex, MSPs should continue to generate greater investor attention.
As with any due diligence process, investing in an MSP requires a careful understanding of the space and the target company under review. With this in focus, investors should consider/answer the following three questions at the outset of their diligence processes.
Measuring the Live Experience: Developments in Analytics to Estimate Experiential Marketing’s ROI
Conventional marketing approaches are giving way to less conventional, interactive approaches such as experiential marketing, which includes events such as product launches, tradeshows, and press events as well as other face-to-face experiences, such as mobile tours and promotions. Live experiences between brands and their customers offer more engaging experiences and allow brands to differentiate themselves from competitors. According to EMI & Mosaic, almost 80% of brands will plan more experiential programs and events in the coming year compared to last year. Despite experiential marketing’s promise, marketers continue to struggle with ways to measure its return on investment (“ROI”).
This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Marketing Strategy – Marketing and Technology Continue to Blend Together
Digital marketing has evolved at a furious pace and there is no sign of deceleration. Driven by shifting consumer preferences and the continued penetration of mobile and other platforms in the consumption of content, the line between marketing and technology has continued to blur. For marketing savvy companies, what used to be two separate business functions with little interaction has evolved into a nearly seamless integration whereby the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Marketing Officer are increasingly looking like the same person.
Disruption in the eDiscovery Industry
Electronic discovery (”eDiscovery”) refers to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. The size of the eDiscovery market continues to expand, topping $10 billion in value globally, as data volumes grow and its forms proliferate. eDiscovery participants must make big decisions around technology, partnerships, and business models that could lead to their winning or losing in the market. This environment, combined with the broader state of the economy, is driving and will continue to drive rapid consolidation. A set of factors driving mergers is the criticality of scale in eDiscovery.
Leveraging Data to Secure a Vibrant Future
The proliferation of the internet and smartphones in modern society has driven entrepreneurs to seek new ways to leverage data to profitably change consumer behavior. Companies are finding that their ability to collect, analyze and develop insights from consumer data can lead to sustainable competitive advantages. These competitive advantages are presenting themselves in a variety of ways, including vast improvements in a company’s products and services. These improvements can often drive powerful network effects, in which companies are able to attract more customers and in turn generate more data.
Key Questions to Consider Before Marketing a SaaS Business
The investment environment remains favorable for software as a service (“SaaS”) companies, leading many shareholders to consider raising capital, selling or recapitalizing (collectively, a “Transaction”) their business. There are many factors involved when deciding to pursue a Transaction. Despite the complexity, shareholders need to consider three critical questions before embarking on a Transaction.
Marketplace for Marketplaces
While investment banks help facilitate a marketplace for Mergers and Acquisitions (“M&A”), an interesting meta-trend has developed in the rise in M&A around marketplace platform companies – a marketplace for marketplaces. What began as a novel means for individuals to trade miscellaneous goods online, has transformed into a diverse ecosystem of platforms, trading an increasingly complex set of assets. This shift has attracted significant capital to start-ups and existing platforms in search of the next frontier in online trade, and the possibilities seem endless.
The Technological Evolution of the Oil and Gas Industry
Technology is once again on the forefront of advancing the oil and gas (“O&G”) industry. Throughout the supply chain, O&G companies are experiencing pressure to increase operational efficiencies as a result of a “New Normal” in depressed commodity prices. This environment has created a substantial opportunity for companies focused on delivering technological solutions tailored to solve age-old problems in the O&G industry.