To learn the art of closing billion dollar deals, click here to watch Adeel Rouf’s keynote.
Adeel Rouf has made a career for himself as a leading expert on special purpose acquisition companies. SPACS are publicly traded companies formed solely to acquire or merge with a private company, providing an alternative route for the target company to go public by bypassing the traditional IPO process
Adeel’s success in this realm has amounted to a total of $1.3 billion raised, two completed IPOs and mergers, and a sharpened expertise for closing billion-dollar deals.
At a Founders Network global keynote on July 25, Adeel shared how he used his SPAC expertise to take Rubicon Technologies – a leading digital marketplace for waste and recycling – into a combined merger deal worth $1.7 billion on the public market. He also shared his tips for quickly and effectively closing deals of any size.
In his global keynote session, Adeel covered:
- How to work with SPACs
- The core pillars for executing a deal
- How to “meet the market of the day”
- Tips for building a strong management team
From IPO to SPAC Merger
SPACs are known to be a market differentiator as they increase the speed at which a company can reach an IPO. Often referred to as ‘blank check’ companies, they meet the market of the day by offering a pathway to accelerated growth.
As a founder and investment banker, Adeel has dedicated years of his life to executing complex transactions. In one of his most recent deals as founder and advisor of Founders SPAC, Adeel followed his SPAC model to take a private company public.
Adeel started with fundraising. Once his team had secured $321 million, Founder SPAC closed the IPO. Once complete, Adeel set out to find a company that met his prospectus for a merger before his 15-month market window closed.
His goal was to identify a company worth $750 million and above, with an innovative digital transformation model. In order to find a good fit, he sought an organization with a competitive edge in a niche industry.
“The digital transformation sector is huge. When we were looking at a number of different companies, a lot of companies had very replicable business models, or they were not operating in a very niche market,” says Adeel. “They missed the core value of having a strong competitive edge.”
Then Adeel found Rubicon Technologies, a leading digital marketplace for waste and recycling.
“Rubicon is an online marketplace for solid-waste management and its software focuses on waste and recycling. They have developed a mobile application to provide on-demand trash pickup. It’s a great cause in an industry that hasn’t been tapped into that much,” says Adeel.
Once the deal was closed, the combined merger was a deal worth $1.7 billion.
The Art of Closing Billion-Dollar Deals
Whether it’s a SPAC or a traditional IPO, Adeel attests that building and executing a deal often requires the same skillset. For him, the first tenant is to keep an open mind and find a pathway to a quick close.
“I consider myself a great deal executioner; I love to execute transactions. I think deal execution is very important in my world because there are so many things that can fall apart during the closing process,” he says. “You really need to be on your A-game to make sure everything goes accurately.”
Adeel says preparation and research are key when it comes to closing billion-dollar deals.
“I’ve worked in international banking and private equity. It has taught me how to be robust, how to be very precise, and how to work with different parties to complete a successful deal,” he says.
Collaborating with Senior Leadership
Throughout his career, Adeel has found that the most significant factor for success is understanding how to collaborate with senior leadership.
When establishing a SPAC, an investor engages in a process that involves both pitching to and interviewing senior executives. This means that the investor presents their SPAC concept and investment strategy to senior executives. The goal is to attract their interest in partnering with the SPAC for a potential merger or taking their company public. Simultaneously, the investor conducts interviews to assess the executives’ qualifications, experience, leadership skills, and alignment with the SPAC’s objectives. Through this combined approach, the investor evaluates, attracts, and selects the most suitable senior executives to collaborate with on the SPAC’s goals.
That’s why Adeel emphasizes the importance of finding the right fit and ensuring strong leadership for the SPAC’s future success. Effective communication between the founder and senior leaders is vital to capture potential synergies.