Paul Stillmank Shares Insights on Joining IBM with Dealmakers Milwaukee

7Summits In the News

Paul Stillmank, Founder & CEOEarlier this year, 7Summits made the exciting announcement that we had been acquired by IBM and are now “7Summits, an IBM Company.” This next step on our journey comes on the heels of another record-setting, award-winning year, and allows 7Summits to help more and larger companies around the world use collaboration and automation to delight their users. 

In a recent conversation with Smart Business Dealmakers: Milwaukee, CEO Paul Stillmank shared more of his insights on 7Summits being acquired by IBM. He discussed a bit of 7Summits’ history, including the rapid growth that necessitated moving from a private equity firm to IBM. Paul shared the goals that he had for 7Summits from the company’s inception, including the deliberate trajectory that put 7Summits, an IBM Company, where it is today.

An excerpt of the Dealmakers blog can be read below, and the full video conversation with Paul can be watched on the Dealmakers Milwaukee website.

Dealmakers: Paul Stillmank on Preparing for an Exit from the Start

“When Paul Stillmank, founder and CEO of 7Summits, got about four years into the venture, he made the decision to go into a private equity fund, take some money off the table and try to organize for a more formal growth in the business. Once the company had been in that fund for about seven years, there was a natural maturity from a timing perspective, he says, to move up to the next level. That laid the groundwork for what would become one of the largest tech exits in the region in recent memory.

7Summits, from the beginning, decided to be a very deep specialist at something. Stillmank says back when the business was started, social media was brand new. He saw an opportunity to build a company that would help those social constructs find their way into companies to help enable partnerships, customer motion, employee engagement, and that set up an opportunity to build up some intellectual property.

“So this company was kind of an agency meets a consulting company and then has all of this cool IP or software assets,” he says. “And so that set up an opportunity to grow a great business by staying focused on that mission and purpose, and then we built a company to be significant to large exits like this. So this is almost by design, the timing had to be now.”

Stillmank says the company reached a point as it approached $50 million in revenue, that to go really big it needed to get a larger sponsorship.

“This company was ready for more scale at a speed that you just can’t fully do organically without putting some serious investment in, which IBM is prepared to do,” he says.

Stillmank spoke at the inaugural Smart Business Dealmakers Milwaukee Conference about the growth of the business and its deliberate trajectory towards its sale.”

Access the full Dealmakers blog here.

Read About 7Summits Becoming IBM Company

See what else Paul had to say about the IBM acquisition in his open letter to friends, colleagues and clients of 7Summits.

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