(with Sarah Rosenthal)
Part B explores the launch of M&A Connect, a one-man initiative led by Sanat Rao, to serve as a matchmaker between viable, high-potential Indian startups and U.S.-based acquirers such as Google, AutoDesk, and Intel. Students learn how Rao approached the challenge of finding inroads into the corporate development departments of these American companies in order to connect them with virtually unknown Indian startups. While he has achieved success, the process is ongoing and the future of M&A Connect continues to unfold. Also see Part A.
The learning objective of the case is to provide students with an opportunity to apply social network theory to a real life business challenge. As Rao, students are asked to navigate the challenges and opportunities and determine a pathway forward for launching M&A Connect based on limited financial resources and numerous constraints. What personal and professional networks should he tap into, what resources can he use, what value can he bring to the respective audiences with whom he is speaking? Once students learn the details around how Rao actually launched the program, they are then asked to evaluate the next steps in Part B. How can he overcome the dual challenge/opportunity that iSPIRT’s status as a nonprofit brings? What new challenges does he face as he attempts to identify the “top” entrepreneurs throughout India while at the same time trying to establish credibility with the top tier technology firms in the U.S.? As Rao refines his model, how can he go about scaling it such that iSPIRT can have