When Nipun Soni tells us that he spent 5 years at Oracle Corp., during which time he helped to perform due diligence on some 40-plus M&A transactions, we can’t resist asking about the “big” deals that grabbed business headlines—such as Oracle’s 2009 acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Although Soni no doubt understands our curiosity, he can’t help but tamp down our expectations a bit after we ask: “Do you recall ‘the visit’ to Sun’s campus?”Read More
His reply? “With high-profile public company mergers, you actually don’t visit. You try to keep it under the covers. You don’t want people to know about it before it happens.”
Still, our curiosity lingers around “the visit” because this is when the ice is broken and where finance is frequently represented more than any other functional group within the acquiring company.
Soni is happy to expand: “Well, as soon as the transaction was announced, we were actually at the Sun campuses. We met with Sun’s broader team, their leadership, and we tried to break the ice between the two broader finance teams just by saying: ‘Hey, welcome to our broad Oracle umbrella. We really look forward to working together and learning about this different business model.’”
However, BillionToOne’s CFO makes it clear that some of the biggest lessons from his 40-plus M&A transactions at Oracle and numerous subsequent other ones that today populate his collective career portfolio often came from deals involving smaller private companies.
“You don’t want to suddenly find yourself in a position where you inherit a few questionable sales transactions from an acquired company that begin tainting the overall revenue recognition of a company like Oracle,” explains Soni, who adds that the lack of infrastructure within smaller firms often makes such transactions riskier—and all the more interesting.
“What is it that we should be looking for?,” “How do we evaluate the synergies between the two companies?,” and “What are some of the beyond-the-numbers risks that must be thought through?,” asks Soni, as he seeks to better expose the experience that he believes helped to propel him upward in his career and ultimately into the CFO office at BillionToOne. – Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about BillionToOne … what does this company do?
Soni: BillionToOne is a precision molecular diagnostic company. We are in the healthcare space. Let me start by sharing our mission statement, which is what really brought me to BillionToOne: To make molecular diagnostics extremely accurate and accessible to all. Our company has developed a molecular counting platform through which our technology can help to analyze the composition of DNA in a blood sample with a very high resolution to isolate the healthy molecules from the diseased molecules.
This is a pretty new and advanced field. We are part of what is called the cell-free DNA space. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors of healthcare. Just through taking a blood sample, we can analyze DNA to diagnose health issues in the prenatal as well as oncology spaces. It’s all about unlocking the DNA to do these accurate diagnostics so that we can help the different patients to get the right level of treatment.Read More
Our first application of this technology—on which we are building a business—is really to run the tests in the prenatal space. What happens is that we get a blood sample from a pregnant mother, which we then analyze to determine whether the fetus could be at risk for certain hard-to-find disorders like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and spinal muscular atrophy. We are also building and developing a test that will help in the oncology space, so that you can run tests on cancer patients to see how they are addressing the therapy that has been selected for them or, if they have had cancer removed, to monitor to make sure that the cancer is not returning. This very important mission—to solve issues with birth as well as with cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death—is really what brought me here to BillionToOne.
“Establish transparency within the business and empower data-driven decisions. This will help to remove bias and lend credibility so that everyone can see how investments are being made for the highest ROI.” –Nipun Soni, CFO, BillionToOne
BillionToOne | www.billiontoone.com | Menlo Park, CA