UHY LLP is getting involved in supporting technology startup companies and the CPA firm is finding some new clients that it can guide through the funding and M&A process.
Next week, the firm will be sponsoring the 2013 NExT Conference, a two-day conference of discussions, presentations and tech demonstrations from established business leaders and upstart innovators in Brooklyn. UHY is a sponsor of the event, which gives them access to several New York City technology businesses and potential future clients.
“We have for a number of years worked with startup companies, generally technology startup companies, from the very early stages when they just need help with their bookkeeping, to when they might need a referral for an interim CFO, and as they mature become a client that needs full-scale audit and tax services, and potentially introductions to capital along the way,” UHY Advisors NY president and CEO Michael Mahoney said in an interview Tuesday. “We have had a focus on private equity and venture capital for a number of years that has allowed us to make introductions for companies in this area, as they grow and their need for capital increases.”
Among the technology companies that UHY helped was a software company that provided an operating platform for the prepaid card industry. Another developed online syndication software for companies that were looking to obtain financial institution financing.
“Both of those companies we worked in the past four years, from the day that they opened for business until both of them resulted in exit strategies in the last 12 months, one for an amount in excess of $220 million,” said Mahoney. “The other one was about $40 million. The $220 million transaction was actually an acquisition by Google of our client.”
The company that was sold to Google was TxVia, which contributed to the development of Google Wallet, but the other was a private transaction that Mahoney declined to identify.
“Our whole focus in this area has been that for many years we’ve had a growth strategy of trying to identity where today’s next wave of innovators and entrepreneurs are who will drive tomorrow’s economy,” said Mahoney. “Our approach has been to try and develop relationships with and demonstrate a commitment to these individuals that will help them grow their companies from their earliest stages of development all the way through the growth of the company into an exit strategy, which might include investments by strategic investors, private equity, venture capital firms, or possibly an IPO.”
UHY decided to get involved in the NExT Conference, the Northside Entrepreneurship and Technology Conference, an offshoot of the Northside Festival. Northside has traditionally focused on the film and music industries and the arts and has been billed as Brooklyn’s answer to the South by Southwest festival and conference in Austin, Texas. But like SXSW, it has expanded into providing a showcase for the technology industry in recent years.
“The three industries—the film industry, the art industry and technology—had all moved to the West Coast and are now being reinvigorated here in New York,” said Mahoney. “You’ve seen the film industry coming back, and now there’s reinvigoration of Tech Alley with Brooklyn’s commitment to early-stage technology companies. We thought it was a neat way to place ourselves into that new growth industry and let these young innovators know that we want to be a part of it, and we’re here to support them and help them develop their businesses.”
In addition to technology startups, UHY has also been helping companies in the health and wellness, online education, alternative energy, aerospace, and organic juice and restaurant industries. "In the past 12 to 24 months, we've seen tremendous activity in M&A through private equity and venture capital," said Mahoney.
He hopes to encounter more potential clients at the conference on June 13 and 14 in Brooklyn. “The thing that’s really exciting and interesting in working with these early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs—I call them serial entrepreneurs—when we’ve had relationships with the youngest and the brightest in the past, they lead you to not just acquiring one client, but very often you work with them throughout their career,” said Mahoney. “With all the business opportunities that they create throughout their careers, whether that’s establishing companies, acquiring companies, acquiring new technologies, they’re generally reaching into the markets like we have. And becoming a sponsor of the NExT Conference is a neat way to meet the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”