The Twilio-Segment acquisition was the biggest story of the weekend, and in our current IPO lull, it is the most discussed deal of the moment.
So it hasn’t been a surprise to see folks working to figure out if the $ 3.2 billion price tag Twilio expects to pay for Segment is cheap, reasonable or expensive.
We had the same question.
The all-stock transaction is another big deal from Twilio, which previously scooped up SendGrid. Some expected Twilio to be picked up by a larger company after it went public, I’ve been told. Instead, Twilio has become the acquiring entity, boosting its size and adding to its total addressable market (TAM) through deal-making.
But a smart company can still overpay while executing a generally intelligent strategy. So, does the Segment deal look cheap, or expensive? While we don’t have all the data we’d like, a few useful VCs dropped hints about the size of Segment in my DMs.
Our hunt begins with Twilio’s own release on the matter. From there, we’ll bring in some historical data from the deal that Twilio compares the Segment transaction to, compare the resulting multiples to today’s market norms and close with a discussion of the acquiring company’s rising share price. The synthesis of all the elements will give us an answer. And we’ll have some fun at the same time.
A quick refresher on the deal: Twilio will spend $ 3.2 billion in shares of itself to purchase Segment. Per the company, the transaction is worth about 6% of the combined entity.
Without trying to boast, I love being an entrepreneur. Being my own boss means I get to pursue what I’m passionate about. I can set my own schedule. And, all of the hard work I put in is for my family and me — not someone else.
At the same time, there’s a dark side to entrepreneurship. I know we tend to put individuals like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos on a pedestal. But, we are rarely open-up about the setbacks, stress, and “always-on” culture that it entails.
For example, Musk seems proud of the fact that he works 80 to 100 hours per week. In crunch time, that may be a necessary evil. But, that’s just not sustainable over the long run. In fact, it’s been found that working over 50 hours per week makes you less productive.
Additionally, we fall poisonous tropes. These include putting on the persona that you’re perfect and unshakable. We also can’t separate ourselves from our companies. And, being a founder isn’t just tricky; it can also be alienating.
Because of all the above, it’s not surprising that there’s a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship. Just how bad is it? According to a study by the University of San Francisco researcher Michael A. Freeman, founders are
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
- 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
So, how can this be resolved? Well, removing the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help is a start. But, I also believe that you need to make self-care a priority. And, most importantly, learn how to stop always being on.
1. Set priorities, not tasks.
“Founders and A-type personalities tend to live and die by their calendar and their task lists,” writes Jake Chapman for TechCrunch. “Unfortunately, task lists are just reminders that there are countless things to be done.” And, because “task lists are infinite, “this is a recipe for unbearable mental strain and unmanageable cognitive load.”
“The definition of anxiety is when we perceive that our ability to achieve is overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, which is inevitable when our tasks are ill-defined, too large or seemingly unending,” adds Chapman. So, scrap your task list and replace it with a daily priorities list.
What exactly is this? Well, it’s merely where list only the urgent AND essential items. “Completing these items may be more difficult, but getting them off your plate is infinitely more satisfying,” Chapman says.
But, what if everything is a top priority? Take a second and really think about that. The chances are that’s not true. But, if you need help determining this, try to focus only on the items that push you closer to your goals.
If that doesn’t help, use factors like due dates, ROI, or the consequences of not following through. You could also use the popular Eisenhower Matrix to determine.
2. Build your willpower.
Those who have the power to self-regulate “can mitigate the stress of constant connectivity,” explain Charn McAllister, DJ Steffensen, Pamela L. Perrewé, C. Darren Brooks, and Gang Wang for HBR. We also call this “willpower.” And, it’s merely the ability to resist temptations, like responding to emails during family game night.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Just imagine you’re anticipating an important message or phone call from a team member, client, or investor. You probably can’t resist the urge to check your phone every couple of minutes.
However, just like any other muscle, you can build up your willpower. But, this won’t just happen overnight. You have to keep working at it over time.
Even better? Willpower has been found that be universal. That means that “the willpower used to resist that second piece of cheesecake is the same willpower that can keep you from checking your phone for the 14th time this hour,” explain the authors.
How can you strengthen your willpower? The authors recommend starting with the basics. For example, since you’re primarily working from home because of COVID-19, continue making your bed, eating healthy, and sitting-up straight when working.
“All of these little, minor disciplines are small workouts that strengthen your overall willpower and will ultimately help you in separating your work life from your home life,” they add. Promaiarly, when it comes to setting and sticking to your boundaries. When you “clock-out” for the day, then you’re done with work until tomorrow.
3. Kill your ideas.
“For a passionate person, the more you care about what you do, the more you’re trying to solve a problem, the more ideas you’re going to come up with,” says Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance. “There’s a tendency to be addicted to the energy and excitement of new ideas, but that’s not a long-term high – it’s short-term.”
Like most entrepreneurs, I definitely belong in that group. As a result, my mind is always racing with a million ideas.
Personally, I think that this is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully, Belsky, who is also the author of Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, says you can counter this by killing your ideas. And, you can do this by:
- Listening to those you trust. “When we come up with ideas ourselves, we’re drunk on them,” he says. “We don’t have a sober bone in our body to recognize what’s working and what’s not.” That’s why you should bounce ideas off others to get their honest feedback.
- Having a bias towards saying “no.” “In day-to-day operations, the tendency should be to kill new ideas that can get us off track or over budget,” says Belsky. Wait. Isn’t that the antithesis to innovation? Belsky argues that it’s more about timing: “You have to know the difference between regular operations and one percent of the time when you’re coming together to brainstorm and solve problems. It’s during that 1% that you have to suppress the immune system of the team and let new ideas take hold.”
- Being stingy with your resources. “An idea happening is the perfect storm,” Belsky says. “There’s a confluence of events that needs to happen. You have a need for whatever the idea proposes; you have time when you can focus on it and pursue it, you have the resources required, you have the capacity.” If you don’t meet those criteria, you don’t want to continue pursuing it.
I’d also add that whenever an idea pops up into your head, you write it down. I always keep a notebook on my desk. But, when I’m out and out about, I’ll put any thoughts into my phone’s notepad.
Besides getting these thoughts out of my head, I can then determine what to chase. As for the bad ideas or thoughts bothering me, I rip them up and toss them in the trash.
4. Clean-up attention residue.
You just responded to an email or crossed off an item from your to-do-list. You’re feeling pretty good. And, while that can help you build momentum, it can also stay with you.
We call this phenomenon has been called “attention residue.” In addition to having a negative effect on your productivity, it can make it difficult for you to “turn-off” — especially when working from home.
But, there are ways to control attention residue. For example, when work is done for the day, quit your email, social media, and messaging programs. You could even turn off your phone. That may cause anxiety. However, I’ve learned that if it’s essential, they’ll leave a message and I’ll get back to them when I can.
Dr. Keith Webb also recommends physical movement, such as standing up in-between tasks. For the last couple of months, I’ve transitioned from “work” mode to “home” by taking a walk as soon as I’ve wrapped up my obligations for the day.
5. Make an appointment with yourself.
Finally, to ensure that you make time to do things outside of work, use your calendar. Just like booking appointments with your team or priorities, block out time during the things you enjoy. It could be an hour in the morning fro exercise or lunch with your best friend.
The idea is to add non-work priorities to your calendar. Now you don’t have the excuse that you “don’t have time.” Better yet, this can be could for your mental health and provides a much-needed distraction from work.
I would add that you don’t want to overdo this. Instead, you need to strike a balance. That means putting your priorities into your calendar first. But, also leaving room for flexibility. For instance, you’re at the store and run into an old acquittance. Your calendar is free for the next two hours, so you offer to buy them coffee and catch-up.
The company’s chief executive Carsten Breitfeld told Reuters that the company is working on a reverse merger with a SPAC and “will be able to announce something hopefully quite soon.”
Breitfeld, formerly the co-founder of Chinese EV startup Byton, declined to give more information about who Faraday is talking to or when the deal will closed. A Faraday Future spokesperson contacted by TechCrunch also said the company had no further details to share at this time.
SPACs are blank-check companies that are formed to raise money through an initial public offering in order to merge or acquire other companies. As TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos wrote in an explainer, they’ve become more popular among tech companies recently because many had their initial public offering plans delayed by the pandemic. SPACs also present an alternative to the regulatory issues surrounding traditional IPOs.
Shortly after being appointed CEO in September 2019, Breitfeld told Automotive News that Faraday Future wanted to raise about $ 850 million by the first quarter of 2020. By that time, company had already received $ 225 million in bridge financing led by Birch Lake Associates. The funding’s purpose is to finally bring Faraday’s flagship vehicle, the FF91 luxury electric SUV, to market.
Though the SPAC deal’s timeline is still undisclosed, Breitfeld told Reuters that Faraday Future plans to start volume production of the FF91, its first electric luxury SUV, 12 months after securing funding. This would represent a major milestone for the company, which was founded in 2015 but hasn’t produced a production vehicle yet. Faraday Future has made several prototypes, including one that went up for auction in August.
If the deal is successful, Breitfeld told Reuters that Faraday Future will first build the FF91 at its Hanford, California plant, but then work with a contract manufacturer in Asia that it has already entered into an agreement with.
Faraday Future’s financial issues date back to 2017, when LeEco, the Chinese tech company it was closely linked to, began dealing with multiple financial headaches of its own. They worsened when Faraday Future fell out with its main backer, Evergrande Health, in 2018.
Many of those issues were tied to Jia Yueting, founder and former CEO of LeEco and Faraday Future, who filed for personal bankruptcy earlier this year. Filings in the case revealed that Jia’s bankruptcy was funded by one of Faraday Future’s main holding companies, Pacific Technology. The documents also revealed that Faraday Future had just $ 6.8 million in cash at the end of July 2019.
Breitfeld told Reuters that Jia no longer owns stock in Faraday Future. The approval of Jia’s bankruptcy enabled Faraday Future to once again pursue investments to produce its electric vehicles, though now that may hinge on the success of its SPAC deal. Breitfeld acknowledged that Faraday Future’s past raises questions. “Because of the history and sometimes the bad news of the company, not everyone is really trusting us,” he told Reuters. “They want to see that we’ve become a stable company.”