1990 to 1999 was a time of modernization and globalization when it came to science and technology. This sector saw a huge growth and this decade brought about some of the biggest modern technological inventions. Some of these inventions or technological advancements laid the building blocks of technology of today.
The technology industry in this decade was dominated by computer technology. Until the 1980’s most of the technology involved large machines. In the 80s the rise of personal computers lead to the rise of applications that eventually set the course for the advancements to follow.
The 90’s also saw the advent of the world wide web. This was augmented by the introduction of the Local Area Networks and the Wide Area Networks. This allowed the PC and the office workstation to connect with other systems on the same network.
This period also the saw the launch of some truly iconic software, apps and companies. Suddenly the PC allowed you to create files, distribute them, print them etc. This period also saw the rise of apps like email and other apps that made entire processes go digital. This included data being created and transferred via email, stored on storage devices and viewed by individuals.
This however sparked a whole new level of competition and modernization of technology. This was led from the front by companies like Microsoft with the launch of their iconic brand Windows, to Intel launching their microprocessors. Sun Microsystems launching their Java Development Kit 1.0 contributed largely to paving the way towards advancements in programming languages. This time also saw the rise of Cisco in networking, HP & Dell in the desktop technology or PC space, and EMC in storage. The electronics space got a huge boost through the introduction of smartphones and memory cards. This decade was not just all about the hardware and the networks but also saw the launch of two current household names. 1994 saw the launch of Amazon that revolutionised the way people shop and 1998 saw the launch of Google. Google changed the IPO landscape as well, through a one of a kind dutch auction based book building process for technology companies.
All the senior partners in the firm, except one were in active corporate development or driving M&A and capital raise transactions during these times. The experience ranges from selling mainframe solution companies to IBM and Cisco reseller partners. The partners were also active in driving information technology services deals, VAR market M&A, late stage semiconductor design and production company buyouts and early stage capital raise deals for garage born Internet companies.
In this decade, we saw the rise of Amazon, Google and the World Wide Web. This rise made sure that we had a connected world over the next decade. The foundations for the start of the information / data age was set in motion during this phase. As a result, the first half of the 2000s was dominated by the information technology sector. Microsoft launched the .Net framework. Social Media was launched with Facebook coming into existence. Towards the end of the first decade in the 2000’s the world saw a switch from desktop to mobile with the launch of the smartphone category.
The advancements of this decade have led to the proliferation of new applications which are no longer bound to enterprises and their activities but also linked to the digitization of almost every activity in our lives. The social media boom has ensured we have the ability to create and share information with anybody, anywhere and at any time.
During these times, almost all of the senior partners and more than half of our vice presidents were active in the M&A, capital raise and corporate development markets. While the partners had experienced phenomenal highs during the dotcom boom, they also had to go through two deep recessions which affected valuations, transactions and changed the regulatory framework for financial institutions. The partners were involved in several marquee cross border M&A deals between onsite and offshore based technology companies, capital raise for enterprise software deals with licensing & AMC business models, M&A for mobile solutions companies, early stage capital raise of consumer internet firms and the sale and in some cases distressed sell outs of legacy mainframe solution providers.
The recession post 9/11 was a testing phase for most financial firms like S&L. The financial crisis in 2008 and the after effects further tested the resilience of M&A boutiques and transaction advisory firms. In the M&A world, most firms had to go through cost cutting, relook at their business model, scale down on the market thresholds and shift the focus onto newer markets and opportunities. During this decade, S&L and its subsidiaries shifted their focus to growing Internet based solution firms, the new generation of digital marketing firms and mobile solution firms. Also, during these times, S&L did not lay off a single employee or consultant across the globe and grew by high single digits percentages right through the crisis.
We are in an exciting phase in the evolution of IT. The leap has been from products to the growth of data to the integration of products and data. Today, we have advanced computers, mobile phones, and geospatial mapping, these show that the scope of technological advancement has only increased and will continue to increase. SMAC based platform and solution firms are in demand. Digital Marketing products and services have changed sales, advertising and marketing forever.
The cloud has become the way to deliver information technology. Big data and analytics defines the way we look at information and the way we utilize this data. The Internet of Things (IOT) brings in the integration of product, data and the cloud to enhance our day to day lives. Internet of Things has grown in popularity over the last few years, with several companies looking to capitalize on the various smart devices out there in the market. From smart homes, to wearables, to autonomous cars, IOT has started to play a major role in bringing about the advancements of these technologies. The second half of this decade has thrown up innovation that could lead to long term implications for the human race, through artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning.
Our momentum post-recession has helped us move seamlessly into the second decade of this new millenium. We’ve embraced change, our domain experts have a thorough understanding of this and the next generation companies taking shape. Our clients have changed their business model and that has also signalled our shift and focus into cloud, big data and artificial intelligence. At Sett & Lucas, we have embraced our position as a thought leader in the information technology and digital marketing verticals. We have adopted technology to streamline our own operations. Digital data dashboards are slowly augmenting the traditional powerpoints, use of artificial intelligence in our regulatory compliance business is disrupting an entire industry, leveraging big data analysis is helping us spot trends and patterns in our client’s business models and next generation communication tools have helped us create a robust global buy side ecosystem thereby enabling us to reshape the M&A landscape in Information Technology.