Founders Advisors review

Founders Advisors Review (Should You Use Founders IB To Sell A Business?)

Founders Advisors is a top merger and acquisition firm aimed toward company founders looking to sell or acquire businesses. Their top talent possesses over 20 years experience in both buying and selling business, and advisory.

These professionals have highly individualized and expansive knowledge in their industries. This is just a part of what contributes to Founders’ good reputation and esteemed presence as a broker.

Founders Advisors serves middle market level companies across numerous industries. Below we will explore which industries they work with and why they’re so highly praised.

UPDATED: August 2021

Our Overall Rating


Founders Advisors Overview

Founders Advisors deals in the sale, merging, and purchase of businesses. They help business professionals looking to buy or acquire a business that’s right for them.

Founders Advisors offers advice to help guide owners to make decisions that will benefit them best in the long run. This company endeavors to always follow the Golden Rule.

Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.

Duane Donner began this venture in 2003, and the small team of professionals who now call Founders Advisors their career homes are happy to serve you.

The main office of Founders Advisors is located in Birmingham, Alabama. They also have secondary offices in Alabama and Texas.

Founders serves businesses nationwide. With 17 years under their belt, their team is ready to advise businesses on both the sales side and the buy-side. *


Businesses that Founders Advisors Sells

industries served

The industries that Founders Advisors has helped to sell, or otherwise serve in, are numerous. They include business services, consumer and multi-unit enterprises, and energy companies.

Founders Advisors is also experienced in serving companies within the healthcare, industrials, and technological industries. This includes the internet and digital media spheres.

To ensure they are providing the most experienced advisory for each client, Founders has a different Board of Advisors for specialized types of businesses. So in addition to their general board, they also have an Energy and Industrials, and a Software and Digital Media board.

The professionals on each team are highly experienced within each trade. Founders’ Energy, and Software, boards consist entirely of influential veterans from their respective fields, or those from closely related ones.

When Founders Advisors works with a business, their proven, process-driven results begin with careful preparation and consideration. Read on below to find out more about the concepts they use during this step.

Types of Business Clientele

Trade Areas Systems, (TAS) a business in the technology industry, acquired by Kalibrate Tech Limited. Founders Advisors advised TAS throughout this process. TAS is a SaaS, (or “software-as-a-service”), analysis platform. Kalibrate is a tech giant that specializes in fuel pricing, location planning, market data, and data involving traffic count.

Rhino Fleet Tracking, also in the tech industry, helps businesses track and protect their assets.
Rhino was advised by Founders Advisors as they underwent recapitalization.

TVS Filters (TVS) has come a long way since its beginning as Tennessee Valley Supply Co.
TVS is a company that produces many various filtration products for industrial purposes.
Advised by Founders Advisors, Pleatco Filtration acquired TVS.

Nuclear Imaging Services, within the healthcare sector, is a medical imaging company that provides for many needs like equipment, parts, services, and staffing.


Valuation Process

When Founders Advisors decides they are going to work with a business, there are a few principles they consider vital.

Founders Advisors strives to listen to business owners to find out what their needs are. Once this has been established, they hope to not only meet, but exceed, expectations as they help them achieve their goals.

An authentic connection with the business owner and their company is the first. There are four additional key values that this highly experienced broker holds paramount in its transactions.

Forming a relationship with the client is integral to this broker’s model. This relationship acts as a foundation for every aspect of the advisory process. Forming and maintaining service oriented relationships with clients, for the long term.

Good, clear, communication between all parties is not just important but necessary. To Founders, this interaction is not merely a transaction but a mutual understanding and abetting.

Ensuring things happen in the right order, from the start. Founders team is there for their clients, from start to finish. Their process is curated to help decide on the most helpful courses of action for both sides.

Founders wants to help their customers learn and improve so that their profits and business will continue to prosper beyond the transaction. In order to do that, all of these key values must be used together.

Their experience, passed on to the business owners, rewards these companies for years to come, as the owner’s legacy lives on.

Accountability via definition, commitment and ownership – no matter what the results are. Founders Advisors is result-oriented. Being held accountable is a badge of honor for this team.

They will not rest until it’s clear that they’ve helped a client through each part of the process. Conversely, they wouldn’t back down from a mistake. This is what real accountability is.

Integrity is a key part of their values. Doing the right thing regardless of recognition, and staying resolute against dishonesty.

This goes hand in hand with truth as the next ideal. Speaking out against any sort of falsehood can be harrowing and immensely difficult. So when Founders Advisors recommends to “seek…speak…and advocate for the truth”, it speaks volumes.

Finally, growth is the last criteria this company lists as a top focus in its work. Their bottom line is improvement, via reflection, evaluation, and careful planning in every move they make.

Having discussed company values, read on to find out more about how Founders determines the valuation of a business.

As a buy-side advisor, Founders Advisors ensures that its relationship with the business helps develop accessible value for the company. Their main avenue to accomplish this is by listening to the business owner and taking the business’ goals as their own.

Founders’ knowledge from their experience on both sides of the sales and purchase process means smarter results for both parties.


Founders Advisors Sales Process

As a sell-side advisor, the broker is lauded as a “trustworthy partner with experience and exp”?

Founders Advisors will help business owners earn and negotiate the best price when selling. During the sales process, their goal is to cover all the goals of their client.

Founders is able to help a business sell on demand, but is also available for long term advisory. This can help the company make its sale for the highest profit, at the lowest risk.

These solutions help direct growth so future buyers can easily become aware of, and invested in, the business for sale.

Because they take the extra effort to get to know the business, their plans are very effective at finding the right buyer. All while protecting the establishments’ privacy, and legacy.

Founders Advisors can help businesses with growth capital processes such as recapitalization, or refinancing. They are also experienced with negotiating forbearance, extensions, and covenant relief.

In order to do this, they work with clients. They create, evaluate, and execute strategies for their company that directly lead to more options. Even when a business is looking to refinance due to a stressful event, Founders can help.


Success Rates

Over the past couple years, Founders has assisted many widely recognized companies. Through these transactions, the Founders team has helped these companies accomplish important goals.

Founders Advisors has collaborated with many companies that have gone on to work and integrate with major platforms, like YouTube Live and Vimeo. They’ve also worked with businesses who are leaders among Fortune 500 companies.

Founders has successfully helped over 100 businesses reach their goals. Each Founders Advisors review praising the team only strengthens the already-stellar opinions of this is a safe bet to say that any business owner who chooses Founders is in good hands.

In 2019, Founders had many notable clients. With the help of this first-rate team, clients, like the tech company H2scan, have successfully closed multi-million dollar deals.

With this financing, H2scan will be able to increase the rate of production on their new technology. This new sensor is a groundbreaking innovation above current hydrogen sensors because of its low cost and accessibility.

Founders Advisors also assisted Kukui in its $27 million series A funding venture, in which SSM partners provided assets to recapitalize Kukui. Kukui is a digital marketing company that has worked closely with over 2000 businesses.

These incredible ventures are the direct results of how Founder’s Advisors go above and beyond for their customers. The fact that they recognize how valuable this is as a core concept of their brokerage demonstrates their values.

By narrowing each transaction down to its unique properties, they uncover the best ways to work together with the company.


Founders Advisors Fees

When working with an advisor like Founders, many things can contribute to the amount that the seller pays. For example, the experience of their team, how their process works, and how much their personal fees are.

During the transaction, the majority of firms have the seller agree to a retainer. This document dictates the prices and other details throughout the process. This allows the firm to take their fee out of the success fee at the end of the deal so long as the agreed upon terms are met.

For larger transactions, these fees can reach upwards of $100,000. For smaller deals, this falls closer to $5,000-$15,000.

If a business transaction is valued at under $5 million, many firms that specialize in these smallest of deals actually forgo these fees.

There are three predominant ways these fees are calculated. The Lehman Formula, the Flat Fee and the Tiered Fee.

The first of these means the broker is paid a smaller percentage from the last million made, than the first million. This encourages the firm to get the deal done quickly rather than hold out to get the biggest profit.

A flat fee simply means the firm names a price and that is what the customer pays regardless of size.

Meanwhile, a tiered fee is the opposite of the Lehman model, as it encourages the firm to seek out the best profit. The fees make up a higher proportion of the last million versus the first.


Pros and Cons

Founders Advisors worked with Mustang Energy Services, Incorporated, a manufacturer of “geosynthetic liner solutions”. These are important technological advances that prevent and control erosion.

Mustang Energy Services underwent a recapitalization and merger. The portfolio which funded this venture is company Extreme Plastics Plus. As a combined enterprise, this company services many major domestic shale basins.

Founders also represented Co-construct Holdings, LLC. Also known as, “CoConstruct”, this company partnered with Serent Capital in order to receive funding to grow their business.

CoConstruct is a management solution firm that also provides client and project handling in the home building industry. This company provides over 4,600 companies with the ability to streamline their technology in an ever growing sector.


Conclusion And Verdict

A great workplace for experienced bankers, Founders has many qualities that make it a great choice as a broker too.

As their name might suggest, this company focuses on helping founders buy, sell, finance, or merge their businesses. By working with company founders directly they ensure the legacy

Founders Advisors hosts an extensive Insights blog on which they post monthly market updates, and industry reports. (And, of course, the usual blog fare such as business-specific events, and updates.)

Their blog also has a press release for the majority of transactions Founders has participated in. These posts summarize each business. They then explain what role Founders Advisors had during the transaction.

They also offer a Summer Analysts program. This enrichment program is an 8-10 week course in which participants gain experience in financial statistic analysis, industry research and buyer research.

Founders Advisors boasts a 5 star score on Glassdoor despite its small company size which only goes to show how caring of a workplace it must be.

Founders Advisors reviews everywhere are aglow with praise for the team, their depth of care, and attention to detail.

Business owners felt that Founders was trustworthy, and cared about the relationship with their client as though they were a part of the same team.

Many companies reported moments of significant discovery their team experienced while working with Founders. They reported reaching milestones that greatly exceeded their initial goals going into the deal.

Previous clients of Founders see the value and care that this business put into truly teaching and preparing them throughout the process.

A common sentiment throughout every review is that none of them came away from their partnership with Founders empty-handed. All of these companies felt Founders added value to their company.

Founders Advisors does their best to do just that. Add as much value as they can to every company that works with them. By doing so, they help provide these companies with the tools to create their own, long-lasting, success, and legacies.

The one thing we did not see as a positive for this business broker is the fact that their response times are a bit slow. We contacted the company to check on response times and it took 48 hours to get a response.



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