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ALEX KAGIANARIS - Like most companies, my company started with a thought - what if I open a chain of craft beer bars and, eventually, a microbrewery to help create a craft beer scene in Los Angeles. You should know that at that time (circa 2006) Los Angeles was lacking in the craft beer supply. Just a small handful of establishments even carried any craft beer let alone any craft beer bars or microbreweries. And that is how my company started. I took that initial idea, along with my business partner, and turned it into a concrete plan and began to execute it. By definition, us founders owned 100% of the company at the start. But as my company matured and began to have value and was diluted down by the addition of funding from other investors, we retained a significant ownership stake in the company. As a result, even in a relatively larger company, I will play a significant role and have a large say in whether or when the company decides to do a strategic transaction.

When considering my role as a founder in whether to sell the company, it is important to understand that there are a variety of motivations at play. Certainly, I shall seek to maximize my personal wealth. However, there are also some personal motivations when considering to sell my company. Liking watching a child grow up, I watched as the growth and progression of my company with significant emotion. Of course, I will be swayed for or against the sale based on how it will affect the company that I created. For example, I will be hesitant to sell to a larger competitor who may subsume my company to a company that I have competed against for so many years. Another factor that I will consider is what role will I play in the transaction and will my company lose the unique corporate culture that I helped create. Similarly, if I buyer wants to grow my company significantly, it may be even more personally rewarding for my ego and self-worth to see my company grow to such a large scale.

When dealing with founders, it is essential to keep in mind these non-financial motivations that in some cases may even outstrip financial interests. This is not to say that founders are irrational , but simply that as individuals, like all of us, we can be swayed by personal as well as financial goals and preferences.

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