1. There will be a spate of acquihires in the next 18-24 months. I’ve been closely involved in a dozen plus acquihires. After seeing both successes and failures, I believe he 3 principles of a successful acquihire are:
(c) Team size
(c) Team size
2. Talent: Since acquihires are about talent, there must be 1-2 verifiably (ideally through prior collaboration) exceptional people on an acquihired team, folks who raise the bar for that function or domain at the acquirer. Acquihiring an average team is not worth the trouble.
3. Domain: The acquihired team should work in the same (or adjacent) domain as the acquirer. Otherwise, the acquirer ends up with a team that went along with the process for lack of options, but leave after 6-12 months because they are not excited about the space or mission.
4. Team size: The smaller the team, the better. Ideal team size is sub-10 people. 20 could work. Why? The larger the team, the more functions it contains, and the harder it is to find spots for all of them, making it hard to ultimately justify the acquihire.
Note that I haven’t talked at all about price. Obviously, that’s an important component of the discussion, but it can (and increasingly will) be negotiated. The three items above are non-negotiable.
tl;dr Acquihires can be successful only if they involve verifiably exceptional talent working on a similar problem (as the acquirer) as part of a small team.