888-983-1617 [email protected]

Client Case Study: Axial Exchange, Rest in Peace

Axial Exchange filed articles of dissolution on July 31, 2019. Its two predecessor companies, Register Patient and Ingage Patient, were incorporated in 2009 and backed by respected venture capital investors. A merger provided new energy in 2015, but it was clear by late 2018 that Axial no longer met the profile for VC investments. Competition was tough. Staffing was thin. Cash was tight. Axial needed a new home outside the VC portfolios where it resided.


  • In 2018, Axial’s board, CEO and investors knew it was time to explore exit options seriously, but they were not necessarily in a hurry to exit. If the company could finance its own existence, they could hold the investment long enough to transition the business to a higher-value owner in a thoughtful value-maximizing way. They could entertain proposals that were not necessarily a sale of the business (for example, a new customer relationship or a joint venture). They were able to say “no” to bad deals. And they could ultimately close the business if there were no other, better options.

  • As board members, executives and investors, they were fiduciaries for other people’s money. By law and professional integrity, they had to demonstrate good judgment in how they governed the company and made decisions, regardless of the eventual outcome. Process mattered.

  • As experienced business people, they understood the amount of work required to find a buyer for a company. They were not staffed to organize and run the process themselves.

  • Because the company was small and the results of a sell-side process were uncertain, Axial had few sources of transaction support. Traditional investment banks would not take on an assignment of this size and risk.


  • Oaklyn Consulting designed an incremental sell-side process to help the company understand and act on its practical strategic alternatives, while managing to a pay-as-you-go budget.

  • Month 1: Customize a M&A process to uncover interest in either purchase of the company or other strategic business relationships:

    • Due diligence of what acquirers/partners would see in the company

    • Developed a prospect list

    • Created tailored marketing collateral

  • Months 2-3: Initial calls and follow-up

    • Started with 40 names and based on feedback and board guidance, eventually expanded the list to 150.

    • Yielded a handful of parties with serious interest.

  • Month 3: Step in when Axial’s CEO departed for a new job

    • Supported Axial’s remaining staff

    • Increased communications with the board

    • Monitored cash

    • Kept interested prospects engaged

  • Months 4-6: Respond creatively to nurture interest

    • Rearranged the customary process to get the firmest possible proposals from interested prospects, moving due diligence ahead of indications of interest

    • With the CEO having departed, fully managed the due diligence process

  • Month 7: Conclude the project

    • After in-depth discussions with several interested parties, there were no proposals to acquire the company outright, and the board reached the unavoidable decision to close the company.

    • Transitioned responsibilities to various board directors for final stakeholder communications and concluded our role

Obviously, despite best efforts, not every entrepreneurial venture yields financial success.

But every single one presents a team of people the opportunity for responsible decision-making and professional behavior. By this measure, Axial Exchange ended well, despite the unfortunate financial result.


For more than 25 years, our team has been working with business owners and investors to understand strategic options and reach the best available conclusions. Our experience with disciplined, customized processes for assessing strategic alternatives and finding business partners or acquirers includes:

  • Software companies

  • Health care companies

  • Medical devices companies

  • Insurance companies

  • Business services companies

  • Manufacturing companies

  • Media companies

  • Financial advisory firms

  • Professional services firms

  • Construction/engineering firms

  • Venture capital and private equity investments

  • Corporate subsidiaries

  • Family businesses

  • Owner-operated businesses

“Oaklyn Consulting did a great job for us on Axial,” said a board member. “The unfortunate outcome there had everything to do with the company’s situation and the market environment. The board and investors all agree on what a thorough, professional, top-notch job Oaklyn Consulting did for us. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again and in fact will look for opportunities to do so.”

3 Signs an M&A Deal Is in Trouble

Read the article in CFO.Spotting signs of trouble early is critical for CFOs to prevent a deal from derailing. Not every CFO will experience M&A firsthand during their career. But those who do typically find that their existing skillset makes them a crucial asset...

4 Tips for Pitching Investors in Today’s Economy

Read the article in CFO.Any company that intends to grow past a certain point eventually reaches the familiar milestone of pitching to private capital sources in hopes of securing additional funding. Those businesses that tend to be most successful are the ones that...

Resolving Conflicts in a Family Business

Read the article in Small Business Current.When family members run a business together, the experience often draws them closer, but there are inherent risks as well. Having years of personal history with one’s co-workers can sometimes lead to non-work disputes...

Oaklyn Consulting Congratulates Proof of the Pudding on Acquisition by Bruin Capital

Oaklyn Consulting congratulates Atlanta-based catering, food service and event company Proof of the Pudding on its recent acquisition by Bruin Capital. Oaklyn Consulting assisted Proof of the Pudding in evaluating potential partners and negotiating the transaction....

Analyzing Broad vs. Narrow M&A Deal Processes

We respect the unique M&A market insights that Sutton Place Strategies, an affiliate of Bain & Company, creates from its business development work with PE firms. SPS Founder and CEO Nadim Malik gave a presentation at ACG Boston's M&A Outlook forum in...

How To Work Through Conflicts In a Family Business

Creating a family business comes with a lot of positives, as well as a lot of challenges. Here’s how to handle those conflicts as they arise. Thanks to The American Genius for having me! Read the article in PDF.Anyone who’s managed a business with other family members...

Takeaways from Axial’s Recent ‘Dead Deals’ Analysis

Those of us who negotiate M&A transactions for, and with, small- to mid-sized businesses know a few hallmarks of the process: For any company, there is a limited universe of buyers. Each buyer's interest is unique, so average valuations are not reliable indicators...

Who We Helped in 2022

At the start of every year, we at Oaklyn Consulting like to look back at the past 12 months to reflect on projects accomplished and lessons learned from our clients. Building on our achievements from 2021, Oaklyn Consulting worked with 34 organizations in 2022 on...

Monty Bruell Interview with Business Radio X

Our Monty Bruell sat down with Business Radio X to discuss succession planning in minority and women-owned businesses. Listen on Spotify or Amazon Music or read the transcript below!INTRO: Broadcasting live from the business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's...

Succession Planning for Minority and Female Business Owners

For the founders of minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), succession planning takes on a deeper significance. Our Monty Bruell explains in a guest column for Memphis Business Journal. Read the article in PDF.Any entrepreneur approaching retirement has...