409A Early-Stage Valuations: The Value Proposition

“Price, timeliness, and quality, I always tell the client that you can pick two of the three.”  These were the words of wisdom a Deloitte partner passed down to me as a first year valuation manager. Now, having been in professional services for over a decade, I understand intimately the intricate trade-offs among fixed fee engagements, hourly rates, expedited service and quality. But is it possible to experience professional-grade service without breaking the budget? The answer is yes – by complementing a skilled team with technology enablement.

At Solium Analytics, we use technology to automate certain onboarding and scoping processes for early-stage 409A valuations. Technology helps us streamline the process for our clients, so we can spend time on what really matters—delivering a quality valuation.

In the startup arena, people tend to overemphasize automation and self-service. A founder once told me that he loved his 409A valuation experience because he received a report without having to talk to anyone. At the same time, he couldn’t tell me the name of his provider. That may work in the short-term, but how do you know you’re getting a credible valuation? Does that approach work when you need something more?

Questions to ask a potential 409A valuation advisor

  • Does your valuation provider have relevant industry expertise and an understanding of your business model, so your company can be properly valued?
  • Will you have a dedicated team who will answer your questions and calls? Or will they simply base all their decisions on a 20-minute management call, and call it a day?
  • Will they be able to provide you insights on related valuation matters (e.g., secondary transactions, warrant liabilities, etc.) from their expansive client base?
  • Will they be able to scale with your future growth?
  • Do they provide robust audit review support when your company requires audited financial statements (sometimes even retrospectively)?
  • And when your company is ready to go public, do they have experience to guide you through the S-1 filing process?

Regardless of your stage of development, you deserve to have a trusted partner who can grow with you, and be available to alleviate management stress. For all founders who are passionate about building a world-class business, we believe that this message resonates.

Questions about 409A?

I would love to help! Drop me a line and let’s connect.



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