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June 17, 2022

Founders helping founders

By Adam Burroughs

Ilana Diamond on launching 412 Ventures, its investment thesis, and how their collective experience as founders might give them an advantage.

June 2, 2022

Listening is key to uncovering overlooked opportunities

George J. Howe Co.'s Len Caric on why creating win-wins is critical for the acquisition process.

May 19, 2022

When to incorporate investor feedback and when to ignore it

Co-Pilot Co-founder and CEO Matt Spettel on launching the company, what he learned through fundraising, and what it's like going through a rebrand when investors are involved.

May 6, 2022

Factors that can trip-up a deal

Conco Systems Ed saxon, along with Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir's Kevin Wills, Stellex Capital's Mike Livanos, and BDO USA's Robert Berdanier, spoke at this year's Pittsburgh Smart Business Dealmakers Conference about the factors that impact a deal and how to address them.

April 13, 2022

TTG Imaging Gets Deal Done Despite Supply-Chain Hiccup

Matt Mastarone, president and CEO of TTG Imaging Solutions, spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about brokering a deal despite supply-chain issues. Hit play above to catch the full conversation.

March 18, 2022

Tony Montanaro on what exactly a Q of E means for a seller

Tony Montanaro, a partner with Louis Plung & Company, spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast, about Q of E reports, and offers a look at deals from a buyer's perspective: what they like to see in diligence that speeds a deal to close, and what they don't like to find — problems that could mean they walk away.

February 25, 2022

Bold predictions for the 2022 M&A year

Will 2022 bring us a recession? The best deal year ever? Or the end of working from home? Predictions abound as the Dealmakers Roundtable kicked off this year's Pittsburgh Smart Business Dealmakers Conference.

January 27, 2022

Stephen Vitale finds opportunity in chaos

Pyrotecnico's Stephen Vitale talk about his busy M&A year, one that saw the company acquire five businesses.

November 24, 2021

How reading and research helped Andrew Bartels sell Medical Packaging Inc.

Medical Packaging Inc.'s Andrew Bartels along with McCormack Capital Advisors’ Bob McCormack, and Herbein + Company’s Tom Bakaitus, Jr. and Beth Bershok, break down the deal and the obstacles sellers faced during COVID to get transaction done.

October 15, 2021

Protect your blindside in a deal

Jim Nickel and Steve Bigari, along with Jeffrey Ford, Dale Killmeyer and Ryan Olsta offer tips on how acquirers can avoid the blindside risks in a deal.

September 17, 2021

Put your best foot forward in a sale

Charles McIlvaine, along with Dick Hollington, Chris Farmakis, and Patrick Fodale, offer a deep dive into how to make sure you’re checking the right boxes before you go to market — during the deal and post-close.

August 19, 2021

Supply chain issues and the threats they present in M&A

David Iwinski, managing director at Blue Water Growth, talks about the supply chain issues between U.S. and Chinese companies, how they’re affecting M&A transactions and offers strategies for rooting out supply chain risk ahead of, and during, a transaction.

July 16, 2021

De-risking the de-SPAC transaction

There’s a lot of talk about SPACs, blank-check companies that raise money to fast-track a private company into the public market. What doesn’t get discussed as much is the de-SPAC transaction — the second part of that process.

June 11, 2021

Ryan Green continually adjusts his model to find success

Gridwise co-founder Ryan Green continues to evolve his business, using customer feedback and adjusting to the market to find success.

April 30, 2021

Chuck Mattera on integration during a pandemic

How Chuck Mattera navigated the nearly $3 billion Finisar integration during a pandemic.

April 23, 2021

Post-COVID capital trends to watch

As buyers and sellers look to transact, Mark Guterman, managing director of loan syndications for First National Bank, and Martin McCormick, managing director and head of FNB Mezzanine Finance for F.N.B. Corporation are seeing capital trends starting to take shape.

April 16, 2021

BlueTree Allied Angels’ Sreekar Gadde urges entrepreneurs to see IP differently

BlueTree Allied Angels’ Sreekar Gadde urges entrepreneurs to stop think about IP only in terms of protection, and instead create a holistic strategy to maximize long-term value.

March 18, 2021

Support, trust go a long way in M&A deals

For anyone considering selling a business, those who have been there say whatever you’re thinking the due diligence process is, both in terms of volume and depth of the requests, it’s more.

February 19, 2021

Blue River’s Sara Clevenger explores M&A’s Tumultuous year

Blue River's Sara Clevenger looks back at M&A’s interesting 2020, and looks ahead, discussing what changes in perceptions and approaches could color 2021.

January 22, 2021

Metz Lewis' George Thomas on the surprising strength of M&A through the pandemic

Metz Lewis' George Thomas offers his assessment of the M&A market — what it looked like in 2020, and what he expects it will look like in 2021.

December 22, 2020

How outside deal pros helped Arnie Burchianti find needle-in-a-haystack buyers

Arnie Burchianti talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses.

October 14, 2020

Pineapple Payments’ Jon Halpern puts people first when acquiring

Pineapple Payments' Jon Halpern on his company’s acquisition and integration process, and how learnings are being shared between acquirer and acquiree.

June 26, 2020

CMU’s Lynn Banaszak: Priorities are shifting, but innovation interest remains strong

Despite the uncertainty, investors are still very interested in preserving their deal pipelines — continuing to build on the promise of the portfolio of ideas already in development, says Lynn Banaszak, executive director of the Digital Transformation and Innovation Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

May 21, 2020

Jay Katarincic shares the methods behind early stage VC investing

With early stage investing, it’s not about hitting every single time in order to have a successful fund, says Jay Katarincic, managing director of venture capital firm Draper Triangle. That's because it's often more art than science.

May 20, 2020

Babst Calland’s Chris Farmakis: The deal picture should be clearer by summer

While deals are still getting done, many have been pushed backed. However, we likely won't know until summer whether those delayed transactions come back to life, says Babst Calland's Chris Farmakis.

April 24, 2020

Jake Loosararian bets on himself — and Gecko Robotics

Jake Loosararian turned down an offer for Gecko Robotics in 2015 and stuck with the principles of why he started the company. He shares how that decision has paid off.

April 24, 2020

Metz Lewis’ John Lewis: Caution is the new normal

John Lewis expects employers to remain cautious in terms of deal activity, long-term commitments and employee compensation during this unprecedented time.

March 18, 2020

Vivek Gupta: A deliberate deal process will pay off for buyers

The more time you spend selecting the right acquisition and utilizing a thorough diligence process, the more likely you are to get better returns down the line, says Mastech Digital President and CEO Vivek Gupta. Based on his past experience, he provides advice for other buyers.

March 6, 2020

PNC’s Gus Faucher doesn’t see a U.S. recession in the near future — even with global concerns

A recession isn’t on the horizon, thanks to factors like consumer spending, PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher predicts. The U.S., though, may see slower growth in 2020. The X factor, however, could be an external shock like the coronavirus.

March 6, 2020

Pittsburgh 2020 Dealmaker of the Year Awards

Smart Business Dealmakers recognized some top deals and dealmakers in the Pittsburgh region at the Smart Business Dealmakers Conference on March 5. Here are the 2020 Dealmaker of the Year Award winners.

February 19, 2020

Kevin McPhillips: Taking an interest in employee ownership

While there's a level of unawareness of how employee stock ownership plans truly work, grassroots efforts and education are starting to pay off with business owners. Kevin McPhillips of the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership explains how.

February 18, 2020

Gregory D. Cessna: How much due diligence is too much?

Gregory D. Cessna wonders if the ease of information sent through digital portals can bog down deal due diligence. He provides some tips for right sizing the due diligence for your next deal.

February 4, 2020

Rich Lunak on the hot technology market in Pittsburgh

The market for technology companies and disruptive startups remains red hot in Pittsburgh. Innovation Works' Rich Lunak shares what he's seeing in terms of valuations and deal flow.

January 22, 2020

Jamie Van Buren coaches newly minted CEOs on buying and growth

Jamie Van Buren estimates he’s bought about 20 businesses over the course of his career, but today he truly enjoys mentoring young presidents and CEOs on buying companies and strategic initiatives to help the acquired company grow.

January 16, 2020

John Roppo: Before the sale, focus on what you can control

John Roppo has found preparation critical to the sale process. The long-time CFO, who recently started his own consulting firm, gives some tips to help companies prep for sale and focus on what they can control.

January 7, 2020

MSA develops a better integration formula

Until a decade ago, MSA Safety hadn’t been very successful with its acquisitions. But that changed when the safety equipment manufacturer started taking an intentional approach to integration that's spearheaded by the right deal quarterback.

January 2, 2020

A forecast of what to expect for 2020 Dealmaking in Pittsburgh

Smart Business Dealmakers spoke with Tecum Capital’s Stephen Gurgovits Jr., S&T Bank’s Brian Dobis and Innovation Works' Rich Lunak about what they anticipate for the 2020 dealmaking climate.

December 23, 2019

Pittsburgh 2019 Dealmaking Year In Review

With 2019 just about over, we’re taking a look back at some of what we learned this year.

December 17, 2019

Jessica Gibson on raising capital from inside a health-tech startup

Pittsburgh’s efforts to grow its regional health-tech and life science startup sector haven’t paid off as much or as quickly as city and business leaders would like. But Ariel Precision Medicine CEO and co-founder Jessica Gibson believes there’s still a path forward with more collaboration.

December 5, 2019

GTE buys companies with a unique model: entrepreneurship through acquisition

Entrepreneurship through acquisition or search fund can be less risky than starting a company from scratch, and GT Entrepreneurs is one of a handful of firms that help experienced operators find successful businesses. VP of Operations Robert Septak shares how the firm works.

November 27, 2019

Gary DeJidas on staying conservative in today’s market and an inside look at an ESOP

In Gary DeJidas' mind many acquisitions are overpriced today, which is why GAI Consultants buys cautiously in an uncertain economy. The chairman and CEO also gives his perspective on ESOPs after 27 years under that ownership structure.

November 21, 2019

Pitt Ohio spinoff Idelic iterates quickly, including during fundraising

Hayden Cardiff approaches raising capital the same way he approaches building a product — with a lean startup methodology of build, measure and learn. The Idelic CEO discusses the company's growth and how he's applying what he's learned.

November 13, 2019

Tom Lombardo: Invest in your exit strategy upfront

Prior to a sale, it’s critical to professionalize your company, whether that means planning, education or just a better understanding of its value. And as with any strategy, that may require an investment to bear fruit, says Adams Manufacturing President and CEO Tombardo.

November 5, 2019

Confluence’s Mark Evans builds trust to gain backing to take over a larger company

Mark Evans has found transparency to be his most powerful tool when working with private equity owners. That's how he was able to convince his new PE firm to help Confluence buy the larger, publicly traded StatPro.

October 31, 2019

Thar Process’ Lalit Chordia: How to find the right investors or buyer

With growth comes the need for funding, says Lalit Chordia. The CEO of Thar Process, who sold two of his other companies in 2009 and 2016, shares his philosophies for raising capital and exiting a business.

October 22, 2019

Fifth Season expands its vertical farming, stays focused on capital efficiency

Vertical farming is capital intensive, which is why Fifth Season co-founder and CEO Austin Webb relies on his financial analyst and investment banking background to help manage the funding for the startup, which has raised over $35 million to date.

October 18, 2019

Buddy Flerl on today’s hectic and fatiguing deal market

Veteran dealmaker Buddy Flerl talks about what he’s seeing in the market and his approach to dealmaking.

October 10, 2019

Tecum Capital’s Matt Harnett: Investors should work on the business, not in it

The PE firm’s founding partner shares his insights into how Tecum Capital manages the investments in makes in its more than 40 portfolio companies.

October 2, 2019

Angel Investing: The Power Of Group Intelligence

Former American Eagle President Don Morrison, who now mentors entrepreneurs as chairman of deal flow for BlueTree Allied Angels, talks about angel investing, scaling startups and what entrepreneurs should be looking for when it comes to investors.

September 27, 2019

Pitfalls And Best Practices For A Successful Acquisition

S&T Bank's Brian Dobis shares his perspective on three pitfalls and best practices when acquiring companies.

September 24, 2019

Family Offices Are On The Rise in Pittsburgh

Ann Dugan, who founded and led the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh for 30 years says more Pittsburgh-area families putting together a family office.

September 20, 2019

Gregory Cessna On Why Due Diligence Drives Post-Deal Synergies

The CEO of Consumer Fresh Produce says the work that’s done before the deal paperwork is signed is often the most critical to long-term success.

September 19, 2019

As Gus Gear grows, Sarah Palya eyes taking on investors

Sarah Palya had limited business experience when she started Gus Gear. She’s had to learn as she goes, and now she feels her medical device startup is ready to jump to the next level, including possibly taking on investors.

September 11, 2019

Mill 19 Opens As Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Mill 19 recently celebrated its grand opening as the new home to key leaders in Pittsburgh’s manufacturing industry, including Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative, the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and Catalyst Connection.

September 11, 2019

How Chuck Mattera Transformed II-VI With Acquisitions

Since Chuck Mattera joined II-VI Inc. in 2004, the manufacturer has completed more than 20 acquisitions. And he’s embarking on the largest deal yet as he works to close the acquisition of Finisar Corp. — a similar-sized company with annual revenues of $1.3 billion.

September 6, 2019

Dawn Fuchs Coleman On Selling The Family Business

Former Weavertown Environment Group CEO Dawn Fuchs Coleman talks about selling the family business and her journey from executive to coach and investor.

August 28, 2019

How Krystal Biotech went from founding to IPO in 18 months

CEO Krish Krishnan is an experienced biotech executive. But even he didn’t expect to go from self-funding Krystal Biotech to IPO in 18 months.

August 21, 2019

Pitt's Big Idea Center guides first-time entrepreneurs

Babs Carryer, director of Pitt's Big Idea Center talks about Pittsburgh’s startup ecosystem, raising capital and the Big Idea Center.

August 16, 2019

Cinderella Story: How Michael Blair Built Deka Lash

When Michael Blair and his wife Jennifer founded Deka Lash in 2011, the reaction from Pittsburgh was raised eyebrows and roadblocks. Today, he has 60 franchise locations across the country.

August 7, 2019

CMU’s Farnam Jahanian on talent development and regional investment

Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian is a glass half full kind of guy. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see challenges ahead for those who want to leverage entrepreneurship and innovation to create wealth in the Pittsburgh region.

August 1, 2019

Family Offices: Education And Focus Are Critical To Success

As family offices take an increased interest in direct investing, focus and education are keys to success, says Ann Dugan of the Family Office Exchange.

July 23, 2019

Mark DeSantis steers RoadBotics through rapid growth

RoadBotics CEO Mark DeSantis shares his experience building RoadBotics from the ground up, including rapid two-year growth since it got its first customers.

July 17, 2019

IPEG Industrial: Lessons from a strategic mid-market buyer

John Erkert has helped IPEG Industrial Group buy three industrial companies and sell another over the course of six years to build a global business in the plastics-processing, waste recycling and industrial heat-transfer markets.

July 8, 2019

Get your house in order long before a sale

Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani partner Craig Heryford discusses what business owners need to do to have their company ready to sell — before an offer comes in the door.

July 2, 2019

Buying in a frenzied market

PNC Mezzanine Capital's Doug Brosius Brosius shares his insights into what is driving these high valuations and how they are impacting his approach to deals.

June 25, 2019

For Stonewood's Kenn Moritz, patience, flexibility drive success

The PE firm's president talks about the importance of staying flexible during dealmaking and why the fewer owners in a deal, the better.

June 20, 2019

UPMC Enterprises invests in its own disruption

Officially created five years ago to create health care innovations that improve the lives of patients in meaningful  ways, UPMC Enterprises encompasses the $130 million a year that UPMC lays out for corporate venture investments and R&D.

June 13, 2019

Cellar Tech's Jim Rose: Selling is a painful process

The founder of the oil and gas industry business knew he needed help moving his company forward. But nothing prepared him for what's involved in selling a business.

June 11, 2019

Dale Buckwalter on buying and selling companies with high valuations

3 Rivers Capital co-founder Dale Buckwalter shares his thoughts on how to make returns in the current market of high valuations.

June 4, 2019

Federated’s Chris Donahue expects active investing to only grow stronger

After buying the smaller Hermes Investment Management, the Federated Investors CEO quickly moved to adopt Hermes' investment strategy of factoring in environment, social and governance criteria.

May 28, 2019

How to set up the right capital structure for each acquisition

Andrew Wiechkoske has never had the unfortunate experience of having a deal fall apart at or near the finish line, even though he’s worked at PNC since 2008 and completed more than $1 billion

May 23, 2019

Pittsburgh deal activity hit new high in 2018

The 340 publicly announced deals in 2018 upends the previous record of 308 back in 2007, which was the first year the Allegheny Conference began tracking the 10-county region’s economic data.

May 21, 2019

Diamond Kinetics swings for the fences with sensor technology

CEO C.J. Handron talks about how he brought Diamond Kinetics from the lab to the ball diamond with the help of Pittsburgh’s early-stage community.

May 16, 2019

Ed Wethli: Kiva Han-Crazy Mocha deal took time to brew

A year into the Crazy Mocha acquisition, the benefits of the deal are finally falling into place for the coffee roaster that wanted a growing retail empire.

May 7, 2019

Yvonne Campos' Next Act Fund gives women seat at dealmaking table

Yvonne Campos is an accomplished businesswoman who built and sold a successful market research and strategy firm. In all her experiences, though, she was never asked to participate in a deal or invest

April 30, 2019

Life after selling your business will never be the same

Michael Krol, head of wealth advisory at Waldron Private Wealth, discusses post-sale changes that catch many business owners off guard.

April 23, 2019

Honeycomb Credit expands crowd financing model beyond Pittsburgh

How CEO George Cook is blending crowd funding and community banking to change the way small businesses get loans.

April 17, 2019

Leon Rubinov on Incline Equity’s M&A strategy and value creation

Leon Rubinov doesn’t like to play favorites with Incline Equity Partners investments. “All our kids are cute,” the senior partner says. “We don’t love one any more than the other. They’re all special."

April 9, 2019

Corporates join VCs to fill pipeline for Pittsburgh tech investment

Pittsburgh’s tech startups attract the lion’s share of funding and attention, says Innovation Works’ Gary Glausser. We spoke with him about trends in tech investing, including highlights from Investment in Pittsburgh’s technology sector report, and the upcoming the AI & Robotics Venture Fair.

April 3, 2019

FNB’s Boyd Pethel: How to invest with a flat yield curve, low interest rates

The economy may be slowing, but there’s good news for investors who are worried about rising interest rates, says First National Bank’s Boyd Pethel.

April 2, 2019

When selling a business, take talent development seriously

Sellers who pay lip service to talent development could be leaving millions of dollars on the table, says Solutions21’s Buddy Hobart. This week, Buddy explains why it’s past time for buyers and sellers to take talent development seriously.

March 29, 2019

How to value organizations in the wake of technology disruption

A look at the challenge of finding skilled workers for today’s highly automated environment, what investors should look for when evaluating companies and how involved investors should be in new technologies.

March 27, 2019

Quick Med Claims' Michael J. Lewis: A CEO's approach to M&A

In four years, the CEO of Quick Med Claims has gone through two sales and initiated five acquisitions. Now, he’s interested in passing along that knowledge.

March 22, 2019

BlueTree's big 2018: A unicorn, strong exits and new investors

It’s been an exciting and unprecedented year for Catherine Mott and BlueTree Capital, including her venture fund's first unicorn holding.

March 21, 2019

2019 Dealmaker of the Year Awards

Recognizing the top deals and dealmakers in the Pittsburgh region.

March 14, 2019

Irwin Car’s Bill Baker: Find synergies in your acquisition strategy

After doing nearly 60 deals throughout his career, Bill Baker knows himself. He’s a niche strategist who looks to buy companies where one-and-one makes three.

March 7, 2019

IAM Robotics’ Joel Reed: Finding capital and talent in a competitive robotics industry

The robotics industry remains in flux, especially as methods for fulfilling consumer orders continue to evolve. But Pittsburgh — and companies like IAM Robotics — is at the center of it all.

February 28, 2019

Integrating acquisitions isn’t one size fits all for L.B. Foster

CEO Bob Bauer breaks down L.B. Foster's unique integration approach to three different acquisitions.

February 6, 2019

The rise of corporate venture funding

Pittsburgh’s old industrial companies are paying attention to startups and Idea Foundry CEO Mike Matesic thinks the surge in corporate venture funding bodes well for local M&A activity. We spoke with Matesic about how corporations and startups are working together to grow Pittsburgh’s economy.

January 9, 2019

August Carlino on negotiating, risk and preserving a legacy

August Carlino talks about what gets his blood pumping, the Rivers of Steel's acquisition of RiverQuest and his advice for other dealmakers.

December 19, 2018

Best practices to follow and pitfalls to avoid with your next acquisition

So, you think you know what it takes to buy a business? With the range of available financing options and a red-hot M&A market, there’s a lot to consider. Finance-minded experts and entrepreneurs share their experiences at ASPIRE 2018.

December 7, 2018

Tecum Capital’s Stephen Gurgovits Jr.

Tecum Capital Managing Director Stephen Gurgovits Jr. talks about Tecum's evolution as an investment firm, it's appetite for risk and one of his most memorable deals.

November 20, 2018

Liquidity events aren’t just about money

After Arnie Burchianti sold a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare to Graham, he used the capital to supercharge his business. It grew from $30 million to more than $200 million in five years.

November 9, 2018

Choosing a strategic buyer pays off for Walsh Equipment family

It was bittersweet for Charles Walsh to no longer see his family’s name on their construction equipment dealership. But by all accounts, the sale to Stephenson Equipment Inc. in 2017 has been a success.

October 25, 2018

A look into the wild world of raising capital

Three dealmakers with different experiences raising capital came together in a panel discussion at ASPIRE 2018 to discuss the ins and outs of funding.

October 12, 2018

Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing Institute’s Suzy Teele

Entrepreneur Suzy Teele has helped at least 50 companies grow into market leaders, either as a consultant, adviser or executive. In this Q&A, she talks about how entrepreneurs can build relationships to create partnerships or find investors to grow their companies.

September 27, 2018

Managing the six stages of the sale process

Ideally, there are six stages to selling a business. When a deal isn’t successful, one of those stages was likely derailed. Four experts take a look at those six stages, including their advice on best practices and avoiding pitfalls.

August 28, 2018

The whys and hows of buying a business

When growing through acquisition, it’s imperative that the acquisition is the right company at the right price with the right integration strategy. That way you can make sure the company strengthens your existing business and accelerates your business goals.