As of September 2017, our Partner, Dan O’Neil, joined the board of MoSys, Inc., a small cap, publicly traded, communications semiconductor company. Congratulations to Dan, as well as fellow new board member, Dan Lewis, on their recent appointments. We look forward to seeing the work they can do to help the Company reach its potential!
Author Archive for: Dan O'Neil
A quick note to wish everyone a happy holiday season and wishes for a fantastic 2014. At this time of year I frequently come upon lists: best books, music, movies, gadgets, etc.. Often these lists commemorate the best of the prior year, or they represent excellent gift ideas.. Regardless, I have two reading vignettes to add today. First, I must applaud the power of Twitter. I have an account to follow industry pundits, local beat writers, comedians and some artists. Happily enough, one of my favorite (and extremely underrated) musicians, Evan Dando, responded to one of my tweets and suggested a book of short stories for me: “The Dubliners” by James Joyce. Interestingly enough, I was able to find the book for $1 at Amazon. Coupled with free prime shipping, I was able to buy 5 excellent/thoughtful gifts for $5! Now I just hope the book is good…
Secondly, while I think of reading books, I often think about business reading as well. On that note, a former colleague of mine, Jay Goldberg, puts out a very interesting blog regarding wireless technologies and the surrounding ecosystem… If you get the chance, check it out: www.digitstodollars.com Great reading/learning in one.
Once again, Happy Holidays to one and all!
Congratulations to Sandy Harrison! Sandy recently joined Semtech as Director, Investor Relations and Business Development. No doubt an interesting opportunity given Semtech’s high quality team/performance and diverse end markets. ACME wishes Sandy the best and believes Semtech will benefit significantly from the hire. In my opinion, semiconductor (and technology companies in general) benefit from bringing non-operaotrs in to their fold. Sandy brings a strong understanding of investor mindset/motivations that will certainly enhance Semtech’s ability to create shareholder value…
We’ve witnessed major management transition at IDT. First, CEO Ted Tewksbury resigned a couple weeks ago. Then this week, CFO Rick Crowley announced he will leave IDT to become CFO at Intersil. My first comment is best of luck to Ted, Rick and IDT. I think highly of the two gentlemen as well as the direction of IDT.
The changes highlight the current dynamism in the semis industry. Like at numerous technology companies, activist shareholders took board seats at IDT, in this case Starboard, a little more than one year ago. Since that time, IDT has also undergone many changes in its business, including publicly announced divestitures and delivery of exciting new products (see wireless charging). In addition, the share price of IDT has risen approximately 60% over the last 12 months.
Despite IDT’s impressive accomplishments of late, the Company faces significant challenges as it competes in what many consider a consolidating and maturing industry. I don’t know the cause/effects of the board and management changes at IDT, but I do know they are symptomatic of the industry as a whole as it moves forward in what remains a challenging market.
Recently we advised MoSys, Inc. on their public financing. We were pleased to work with, and for, a very high quality client that likely could have accomplished the entire task themselves. However, similar to many of our clients, MoSys perceived a benefit from hiring us for “surge capacity”. Essentially, we helped the Company complete blocking and tackling related to a specific project so they could focus on their day jobs. Kudos to the teams at Roth, Benchmark and Feltl who acted as the underwriters, selling the story to investors and enabling our client to achieve a great outcome… Please contact us with any comments/questions….
Hello from Acme Strategy’s Blog. Dan and Sandy reunited to address the opportunity they saw to help advise technology companies (more specifically communications related companies) and their associated investor base. This blog is meant to highlight to both buy-side investors and corporate clients those things that are believed to be important and relevant to the communications business. The recurring theme is that the deluge of information has made it difficult to determine what is important and relevant and what is not. This blog is meant to do that. Please follow us on Twitter at @acmestrategy to be keep up on recent posts.
ACME is very pleased to announce Sandy Harrison has joined the team as an Advisor and to help with business development. Sandy has a wealth of experience working with technology companies and financial institutions, primarily as a well-regarded semiconductor equity research analyst. Sandy’s clients and colleagues appreciate his insight, candor and wit. His contact information and biography will be posted elsewhere on the ACME website. However, you can reach him immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally getting round to my second blog post. Admittedly much later than I intended. Turns out I have been meaning to get to it for a while, but just have not found the time. Much like I have not found the time to manage other modestly important items in my life (filing receipts and filling out expense reimbursement forms, updating my address on various accounts now that I have moved, etc..) As I was lamenting my lack of time to get all my desired tasks done, I came upon the topic of my second blog post; Why should a company hire a consultant/advisor?
Few of my clients or prospective clients have all the time necessary to accomplish the tasks they would like, or devote the optimal amount of time necessary to complete all their projects as well as they would like. Hence, I tell clients/prospects that one of the best reasons to hire a consultant/advisor like ACME Strategy, is to free up time to focus on more important tasks. Senior management teams at technology companies typically have the raw skill set to perform the tasks they hire me to accomplish. However, they don’t have the time to focus on the project. Or they don’t have recent relevant experience. So by hiring my firm, the client knows they will get senior, experienced and exceptional (in my opinion!) execution.
In addition, a consultant/advisor maximizes likelihood the project is completed in a timely manner. Clients who are too busy often let projects drag on longer than they should due to demands of their other projects.
In sum, hiring a consultant/advisor such as ACME is a great way for a company to improve project execution and free up time to focus on core competencies. See you soon — I hope!
Thank you for reading our blog! This is the first of what I expect will be a regular dialogue with (any?) interested readers. So, please respond if you have questions/comments, etc… Note, my blog would not be possible without the help of Anna Miller from Unstandard Design. I hope you agree with me that she did an excellent job creating my website – and consider that a hearty recommendation you work with her if you need similar services.
Since this is my first entry, I thought I would start with some background. I founded ACME Strategy back in 2010 with the goal of combining my interests and skills to deliver a set of services lacking in the market today. My background has included stints at private and public technology companies, but primarily comprised work at various investment banks. As a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I knew I had a strong interest in technology, and a facility for numbers.
My challenge was to turn that combination into a job/career. Back in the froth of the late ’90s in silicon valley, I worked at a couple technology companies, but ultimately realized I was not ready to choose one particular technology company to work for. As a result, I chose a career in technology investment banking. As a tech banker, I reasoned I could use my existing skill set to work with many different technology companies (I could also pay off my student loans!!!).
I assumed I would eventually find a particular client I wanted to work with and join that company full time. I then determined that I had to make sure to find the right tech bank for me. I chose Alex. Brown for three primary reasons: First, the firm had a great reputation in technology. Second, the firm primarily worked with emerging companies rather than well established companies such as Microsoft, Intel, etc.. Third and most importantly, my good friend Steve Bailey recommended the firm and the team highly. Per Steve’s recommendation, I really enjoyed meeting the team, which I knew would be critical to my longer-term enjoyment of the job.
I started shortly after graduating with my MBA in the Summer of 1998. I started as a tech generalist and was soon caught up in the whirlwind (long hours) of tech banking during the first internet boom. After a couple years, I became focussed on a subset of the tech market, communications. During this time, Alex. Brown was acquired by Bankers Trust, and then Deutsche Bank. I found myself acquired in to a firm with around 100,000 employees. Due to our scale at Deutsche Bank, we migrated to a focus on very large transactions/clients so that we could efficiently pay our bills. While it was somewhat rewarding to work with the Ciscos and IBMs of the world, I realized that I preferred working with smaller teams/clients.
During 2006, I took the plunge and decided to join a small-private company that provided technology-enabled services to the deregulated electricity market. For many reasons, that turned out to be a great learning experience. However, in 2008 I found myself back in investment banking. This time I was working at a boutique firm (40ish employees) targeted at emerging technology companies… I thought this would fit my interests and skills quite well. The fit was close, but not an exact match for what I needed.
During early 2010, I realized the need to do something different. I also knew that many companies in the technology sector needed experienced investment banking/consulting execution for deals of all sizes, not just the mega-deals that bulge bracket, or boutiques for that matter, drool over. Many of my clients had downsized their business development teams over the years and found themselves extremely stretched. I then had the ah-ha moment and realized I could create a niche for myself. So I founded ACME Strategy to provide strategy consulting and other services similar to what I had done as a banker.
With the extremely well appreciated support of my family, friends and first clients (Altman Vilandrie, IDT, Mosys, Zarlink, Zenverge…), I successfully launched my business. By the way, I cannot reiterate enough how much the help, advice and encouragement of my support group has meant to me… As a small business owner, the rewards and challenges are frequent and stark.
The key thing is that I very much enjoy my work and my clients. Unfortunately, it has taken me 18 months to get around to items such as a professional web-site/blog, but I hope to continue to build on the existing business. Thanks for reading, and once again, I look forward to any feedback you have!