Just posted my Vator Splash LA talk on the Magic Box Paradigm book/ Startup M&A on Vator News. You can see the full post here.
In terms of overall startup M&A process the things I'd highlight would be:
Create the narrative around the direction of your industry. Inside of that overarching industry narrative layout the evolving story of your innovation - and how it is growing into, and positioned to be a leader in, this changing industry landscape.
Potential Strategic Partners (PSPs)
Create a list of the PSPs. Think about current and future players in this evolving industry landscape. In particular those who are adjacent or with operating similarities to your startup.
Develop a thought leadership strategy that brings you into recurring contact with the key players at target PSPs and other industry influencers.
Either through thought leadership, or more directly through commercial partnerships, develop relationships with your target PSPs. Uncover opportunities for collaboration - and help them understand how your startup could accelerate their strategy in this emerging area.
Ultimately you're looking for strong, organic, inbound interest. That's when deals are interesting. Your job is to position yourself as the leader in the space, develop relationships with the key PSPs and create opportunities to be acquired.
If you want the full story - grab a copy of the book, here.