Sponsored Content

An M&A playbook for startup founders: Lessons from Google and Microsoft

One of the most important decisions a founding team can make is when to consider selling the company to a strategic buyer. In this session at TechCrunch Early Stage 2021 from Merus Capital, learn the tactics for approaching acquirers, avoiding common pitfalls, and maximize the likelihood of achieving an eye-popping valuation. Hear from Sean Dempsey, founding partner of Merus Capital who spent 10 years leading acquisitions for Google and Microsoft, and Dave Sobota, VP of Corporate Development at Instacart and former M&A leader at Google.


Sean Dempsey — Founding Partner, Merus Capital
Before co-founding Merus, Sean was Principal of Corporate Development at Google, where he was responsible for acquisitions and investments including Android and YouTube. Prior to Google, he spent over six years at Microsoft as a member of the Corporate Development team. In addition to M&A, Sean led the original team that drove Microsoft’s living room strategy, which eventually became Xbox. Before joining Microsoft, he spent two years in tech M&A at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in Menlo Park and was a Research Analyst at Jennings Group in San Francisco. Sean is a board member of the Peninsula Open Space Trust and is a Trustee of the Hillbrook School in Los Gatos. Sean holds BAs in economics and French from Claremont McKenna College.

Erin Lockhart — Partner, Marketing & IR, Merus Capital
Prior to joining Merus, Erin led public relations for Cisco’s Web team, where she was responsible for strategic partnerships with companies like Facebook and Google. She was responsible for the public launch of Cisco + Google Station, a global partnership to connect the next billion internet users. For the past 15 years, Erin has worked with high-growth startups, including Merus portfolio company NextRoll, on marketing and PR strategy. She was also a member of the Corporate team at Ketchum, where she was a communications advisor to clients like JPMorgan.

Dave Sobota — VP of Corporate Development, Instacart
As Vice President, Corporate Development at Instacart, Dave leads Instacart’s worldwide acquisition and strategic-investment efforts. Prior to joining Instacart, Dave was Director, Corporate Development at Google where he was involved in dozens of Google’s M&A deals, including the acquisitions of Skybox, Waze, AdMeld, Motorola Mobility, YouTube, and Android. Before Google, Dave was an M&A and corporate & securities lawyer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Venture Law Group. Before law school, Dave was a CPA at KMPG in Washington, DC. Dave is a graduate of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and also received a JD from the University of Chicago.