Best Financial Due Diligence Adviser - France
EXPEN is a corporate finance boutique specialized in venture capital and private equity. They advise around 3 deals
per month in due diligence and company’s valuation in France and internationally in areas such as investments, M&A
and build-ups. We spoke to them about their company and their role alongside top-tier French VC Banexi Ventures’
investment in Netwave – a tech company that helps e-commerce understand its clients’ behaviours.
In Banexi Ventures’ deal, one main issue was to understand and challenge the very innovative business model
of the target. That leaded to revenue recognition questions, and also lightened the way value gets captured in
such fast moving food chains. In a nutshell, what is always asked to our team can be summed-up as: “how
sustainable what we see in the financials will be in the future?”
From a contractual standpoint, we worked with lawyers in charge of capturing the final terms and conditions
of the deal, including the part of our work that typically focused on the normative value of cash at the date of
the future closing versus the date of the signing.
We believe the market’s drivers, the team’s dynamics and the business model are the 3 main topics to be
understood before launching any due diligence process. The context also plays an important role in the way
EXPEN operates. We look at issues such as whether the target a competitor of the acquirer, whether the target
is running out of cash, and if the fund is pushy on the deal because of its pressure on investment.
VCs’ investments are very selective (1% of the studied deals arrive to a closing), and so are corporates’ ones.
This emphasizes due diligence’s importance in any financing / acquisition process to mitigate risks and boost
We think what separates us from our competitors is based on our proprietary approach to due diligence, as
EXPEN’s founders cumulate 20 years of investment in PE and VC. We thus approach financial due diligence
as investors, beyond accounts’ compliance issues. We also developed a lean and simple way to share our
conclusions with our clients (regardless the complexity of the deal) leveraging our experience of lectures given
at UC Berkeley, at HEC Paris and at the French Private Equity and Venture Capital Association on such topics.
EXPEN’s team is very proud to receive this award, and we are happy to share it with all our clients too! I founded
EXPEN 2 years ago, and we have grown to 10 people performing 3 due diligence per month. I think this
volume, combined with our highest quality of service, gives us a unique deal exposure which is very valuable
to our clients when contemplating whether they should invest or what terms and conditions should they offer
Looking towards the rest of 2015 and beyond, EXPEN is increasingly developing internationally to follow its
clients, especially in the UK and in the US. Considering France, we also are launching a legal due diligence
practice (“Commissariat aux comptes”) to value our expertise and bring it on a regular basis to companies
that need to have their financials audited for compliance reasons.