With the uptick in the economy, as an active startup mentor, I’m seeing a new surge of entrepreneurs and startups, with the commensurate scramble for funding. There just aren’t enough Angel investors and VCs to go around. Thus I’m getting more questions on new mechanisms, like crowd funding, and an old one long out of favor, the so-called “reverse merger.”
A reverse merger is the acquisition of an already public company (usually a dormant shell) to avoid the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process and cost, to quickly get your startup on a public exchange for fund raising through visibility and selling stock. It sounds like a great way to raise money, but here are some of the challenges you need to consider before trying it:
Make sure the shell you choose is squeaky clean. The image of shell companies has long been tarnished by true stories of shareholder lawsuits and “pump and dump” schemes. I recommend you work only with financial and broker organizations who have done the due diligence required, and who have a track record of success.
It takes real money to get into the game. The cost of the shell, plus the cost of navigating the process, can now easily exceed a half-million dollars, depending on the shell company, according to The Labrecht Group, a law firm based in Irvine, California and Salt Lake City. This approach is not for entrepreneurs already out of money.