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How Shapeup Got Richard Branson To Boost His Acquisition Offer By 50%

December 28, 2016 |  

About this episode


Rajiv Kumar started ShapeUp, a software company designed around getting people to improve their health. He and his partners got the business up to $20 million in recurring revenue when they got a call from Richard Branson-backed Virgin Pulse.

Kumar was able to gin up Virgin’s initial offer by 50% based on some savvy negotiation skills. In the episode, you’ll learn:

  • The definition of fixed cost leverage.
  • Why you should start with pitching your worst investor first.
  • What “escape velocity” means and how it impacts your company’s valuation.
  • How optionality gives you negotiating leverage.
  • When companies are bought vs. sold.
  • The difference between an evergreen fund and one with a liquidity horizon.

Part of the reason Kumar was able to get Virgin to increase their bid was the health of their business measured in something called an LTV:CAC ratio, which in ShapeUp’s case was an impressive 5:1. We’ll explore LTV:CAC as part of our module on recurring revenue which happens in month five of The Value Builder System™—get started now by getting your Value Builder Score.

Click to Tweet: Ep. 75 of Built To Sell Radio How Shapeup Got Richard Branson To Boost His Acquisition Offer By 50%.

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Check out our full M&A Glossary

About Our Guest

Rajiv Kumar serves as Chief Medical Officer and President of Virgin Pulse Institute, which provides Virgin Pulse clients with cutting-edge Value-on-Investment (VOI) studies and promotes research on health, wellbeing and employee engagement. Dr. Rajiv Kumar’s responsibilities also include overseeing the Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board and the organization’s analytics team. Dr. Kumar joined Virgin Pulse in 2016, following the company’s acquisition of ShapeUp, an employee wellbeing company that he founded in 2006. As CEO of ShapeUp, he led the growth of the company from a two-person, dorm-room startup to a global company with over 100 employees, 800 customers, and 2 million participants around the world.

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