How Google and Qualcomm choose which companies to buy

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It’s the internet of fangs

A panel of money men from SAP, Google, and Qualcomm (left to right, Jorg Seivert, SAP Ventures, Yves Cornaz, Google, Jason Ball, Qualcomm Ventures) talked turkey today at the White Bull conference here in Barcelona about how they start to tango with companies they might want to buy or invest in.

Needless to say, these companies, all with completely different corporate cultures, make the first approaches with totally different courting techniques.

Google buys, of course, and when it’s bought, the people it’s bought become Googlers. Yves Cornaz said: “For us the investment comes mostly through our product teams.

“They see day to day what’s happening, what new companies come to light and that’s the majority of the traffic we see,” Cornaz said. “We do some of our own analysis but it’s a bit harder for something to come out to stick. In terms of process we spend quite a bit of time with the founders and our team inside and that they’ll be excited about Google.”

“Our founders are very much involved with all the M&A decisions,” Cornaz said.

Qualcomm Ventures’ Jason Ball said that, for the very late stage companies doing tens of billions of revenues, those deals tend to “walk in through the front door”.

“That process can take six months to a year,” Ball said. “If we write a multimillion cheque the top ranks of the company will be involved. For the super early stages, I basically go out and hunt. Qualcomm is looking to write a €100,000 cheque. For normal seed programmes two or three of us will decide and write a E200,000 cheque.”

SAP Ventures’ Jorg Seivert said that his company finds opportunities through a variety of elements, and people often come unsolicited. As well as this, there are a number from within SAP, in particular, SAP Labs. “For the most part we look for opportunities like this event or connecting to other VPs that we’re friends with,” Seivert said. “There are six partners on the investment committee and we decide on four out of six votes”.

Qualcomm wants to sell more chipsets and so it is constantly looking for companies to invest in. It’s really into the internet of things, Ball said. Because hopefully that will sell more Qualcomm chips – and that’s what he’s all about.

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