It’s an exciting time for those investing in the tech industry these days. Industry-specific mergers and acquisitions hit historic highs in the first six months of this year, earning a collective total of approximately $672 billion.

Now the public is curious: who are the puppet masters in this scenario? 

Puppet masters in the tech scene

They may not necessarily be the public face of the companies they represent, but there are eighteen executives working with some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley who are changing the game when it comes to M&A.

These include –

  • Microsoft executive vice-president for business development Chris Young; 
  • Apple vice-president for corporate development Adrian Perica; 
  • Google vice-president for gradient ventures Bonita Stewart; 
  • M12’s global head Michelle Gonzales; 
  • Facebook vice-president for corporate development Amin Zoufonoun; 
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) vice president for business development Kathrin Buvac; 
  • Google corporate development chief Don Harrison; 
  • Amazon senior corporate development executive Peter Krawiec and corporate development expert Alex Ceballos; 
  • Uber head of corporate development Madhu Kannan; 
  • Facebook corporate development strategist Mark Pols;
  •  Apple business development exec David Segera; Microsoft business development executive Lori Wright; 
  • Google M&A lead Sanjay Kapoor; 
  • Microsoft M7A and growth strategist Jon Tinter; 
  • Google corporate development exec Ajamu Baker; as well as 
  • Amazon vice-president for M&A Carlo Bertucci and vice-president for corporate development Nick Komorous.

What makes tech M&A different from conventional transactions?

For the greater majority of industries, companies tend to bring on investment bankers and analysts as advisers for various transactions, but most especially if they are set to merge or acquire smaller industry players or competitors. 

Mergers and acquisitions in the tech sector, on the other hand, are run differently. Tech companies depend on the advice of their own in-house dealmakers. These executives are responsible for doing research on potential startups that may prove to be strategic partners over time or are worth buying to consolidate a company’s hold on a specific industry niche. 

For the most part, the corporate development (or, in several cases, business development) teams in many technology developers or implementors have their work cut out for them. M&A is a highly competitive aspect of the industry as the big guns. Long-time players like Microsoft and Apple and the likes of Amazon, Facebook, and Google tend to snap up smaller development firms before anyone else can.

While insiders like those mentioned above use a unique skill set for deal-making honed by years in the industry, companies also rely on independent venture capitalists to see what startups are open for acquisition. These ven-caps help organize and manage funding rounds for startup firms and are keen on letting their contacts in big-ticket corporations know about new developments. 

That said, these dealmakers, their teams, and their external contacts are able to facilitate the M&A process from start to finish for their companies, essentially – and constantly – changing the game.