There are 230,000,000 small and medium-sized businesses globally. Less than 1% of these companies will go public. Instead, these companies will need to access private capital markets both to finance growth and also to exit. These private capital markets are mysterious, relationship-driven, offline, and unmeritocratic. Axial’s search engine and online network helps business owners & private company CEOs navigate these capital markets and develop the necessary connections they need to successfully finance or sell their company.
This isn’t a problem if you’re Exxon, Apple, Google, Procter & Gamble, 3M, etc., it’s easy to access efficient capital markets. The world’s best investment banks, global law firms and big five accounting firms are beating down a path to your door to advise you and help you do that. And if you’re a young tech startup, the path has also become fairly straightforward (albeit not easy). You can visit the right VC suspects in Silicon Valley, NYC or Boston and you’ll be able to get a good sense for what kind of user or revenue traction you’ll need to access their pools of venture capital.
But what about “normal” entrepreneurs running one of these 228,000,000 companies? The family-owned $27M revenue wood pellet manufacturer in Nebraska? The owner-operated $4M revenue surgical supplies distributor in Georgia founded in the 1970s? How do these entrepreneurs successfully access capital? Who helps them find the right capital partners? Who helps them find their M&A lawyer, who helps them identify and select the right investment banker to advise them on key deal terms, valuation, and helps them drive towards a successful outcome? The answer is Axial. We build the network that connects business owners to the capital markets.
The Axial Search Quality Challenge
Just like Google, LinkedIn, Yelp, Amazon, or Zillow, we’re constantly trying to solve for search quality. Search quality for the Entrepreneurial Economy has three fundational components:
1. Comprehensive and accurate intent data.
The perfect search engine for the entrepreneurial economy would have investment criteria and risk profiles for every capital provider. It would know the perfect client profile for every professional advisor. It would know what each entrepreneur needed to take their next step, right now.
2. Exhaustive profile and historical behavioral data.
The perfect search engine for the entrepreneurial economy would have a complete understanding of the historical financial performance of every company, would know how they’ve grown in the past, would know who’s on the board, the leadership team, and how each of those key players had performed in their current and previous roles. It would know every investor at each fund, where they were before, and all the investments they’d made in their career. It would know the industries and size of transactions that a professional advisor has worked in.
3. A Great Algorithm.
The perfect search engine for the entrepreneurial economy would take intent, augmented by historical behavior and performance, and recommend the right organizations and professionals for any entrepreneur running any kind of company, and go on to tell you the best way to connect with them.
The Importance of Trust
Where it gets even more technically challenging is when you overlay the personal relationship element of all of this. The transactions that are getting done on Axial are confidential and sensitive. It’s someone deciding to sell their company or obtain additional capital. These decisions aren’t taken lightly or shared broadly. Ensuring that these entrepreneurs are successful isn’t only about creating highly relevant search results, it’s about helping them figure out the best path to connect with people through trusted mediums. It’s about quality, and about avoiding spam and noise. It’s about making sure people are responsive to one another.
So in addition to building a great search engine, we focus on building a well-behaved network of professionals who engage on the right opportunities, observe best practices, and are incentivized through the design of our software to do so. That means sophisticated implicit and explicit reputation systems, that means a product that makes it really easy to do things the right way and hard to do things the wrong way.
Welcome to Axial. We focus on solving one of the world’s most important problems — connecting entrepreneurs to the capital markets at massive scale.