Want to Get Acquired? Think PR

In 2016, the largest fintech acquisition in Chicago was the purchase of 3Points client OptionsHouse by E*Trade. While the addition of OptionsHouse strategically filled a gap (active options traders) for E*Trade, and the acquisition was driven by their management team’s ability to build an exciting and dynamic business, the tactical leveraging of PR — while perhaps an easily overlooked aspect — we think also served as a key driver of the deal. We know, because 3Points was there for many steps along the way and saw firsthand how a strong PR campaign can help an enterprise command top dollar in an acquisition.

3Points began working with a predecessor of OptionsHouse, tradeMONSTER, as one of our first clients. We started small with them, and the relationship grew as their business did. We were intimately involved in the development of the business, so much so that our principal, Drew Mauck, created their tagline (“Proactive Investing”) and co-invented a first-of-its-kind product innovation in “tradeSHARE.” This feature allowed users to share trade details on social media. (Yes, we assert that it was the first social media “share” button on a trading platform.) The teamwork deployed to create an exciting brand led to media coverage for tradeMONSTER, including a very detailed and colorful feature in the Chicago Sun-Times about six months before the company’s acquisition by General Atlantic and subsequent merger with OptionsHouse.

Lessons Learned in Building the Brand

Our success with tradeMONSTER / OptionsHouse taught us several important lessons:

Pulling together the recipe for success

Many factors go into determining whether a company is able to attract an acquirer, with growth, a unique product offering and a stellar ability to execute being at the top of the list. As important as all of these factors are, however, the addition of a comprehensive and powerful communications strategy may well be the deciding factor between a good business and a great one — one that is able to command a premium in the market. Just as a little bit of flour can pull together a sauce for a top chef, the application of a robust PR and communications plan can help an entrepreneur create an exceedingly successful company that secures top dollar in an acquisition.

If you have any questions about our experiences with acquisitions or about our PR in general, please email us at info@3ptscomm.com or DM us on Twitter.

PR & Communications for Fintech & Chicago Tech. www.3ptscomm.com