Maine Venture Fund - Walch Education: Anatomy of a Merger
Walch Education is a Maine Venture Fund portfolio company that recently executed a successful merger. Al Noyes, CEO of Walch, was kind enough to capture highlights of the transaction in a blog post for our readers, including the factors that led to the merger and how Walch has changed now that the deal is complete.
It is rare for mergers in the business world to run smoothly and deliver the predicted results, not to mention the culture clash that often occurs. Pursuing a successful combination can often seem like chasing a pot of gold at the end of an elusive rainbow. Now that Walch Education is six months post- deal, it appears that we may have beaten the odds.
Walch’s merger with BoomWriter was a meeting of like minds, with complementary functional skills, geographies and products. An important key, however, was the fact we had known each other for several years before we got together. Much of the risk in our combination was mitigated by mutual respect and shared beliefs.
Walch provides a cloud based-platform for educators to author and customize curriculum. BoomWriter has innovative reading and writing applications with an important social component.
BoomWriter’s founders (Chris and Ian) and Walch recognized the need for us to combine to achieve critical mass so that we could attract institutional funding, and Chris’ existing relationships gave us a leg up in that regard.
As a small company with limited access to capital there are numerous challenges, foreseeable and unforeseeable, that must be overcome. And these can go far beyond the usual challenges of hiring, closing deals, building a culture and honing a unique selling proposition. For Walch, they ranged from launching our Curriculum Engine platform just as the pandemic hit to dealing with an antagonistic landlord.
Critical mass matters. The combination with BoomWriter provides us with additional experience, brainpower and capital, and we are more resilient and better positioned to succeed.
Post merger things are going extraordinarily well. Chris (who became President and my partner) and I have been on the same page with respect to the entire range of issues we have faced, from personnel changes to new hires and initiatives, and our teams have been working very well together. Each company brought a talented and (importantly) very likeable group to the mix.
We are actively improving our existing offerings and seeking new acquisitions.
We are about to launch a promising new product, BoomMath, which will help students learn to read, write and problem solve in the language of mathematics and will also track students’ attitudes and states-of-mind in the math classroom.
It’s far too soon to declare victory, but we seem to be on the right track. So much so that we are approaching the Letter of Intent stage with two more complementary companies that would add value to the mix. “BW Walch” as we are now called has momentum and the pot of gold is within our grasp.
About Maine Venture Fund
Maine Venture Fund invests in dynamic businesses that have the potential for significant growth and impact in Maine. For more information, visit maineventurefund.com.
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LINK TO ARTICLE: https://www.maineventurefund.com/walch-education-anatomy-of-a-merger/