Probably the most important thing to understand is that in 95%+ of tech companies, the “M&A team” does not drive M&A.
Instead, they implement it.
M&A is usually driven by either the CEO, for game-changing acquisitions, or a functional SVP, to accelerate something in her functional area.
So if you want to get bought, don’t waste too much time with corporate development. Take the meetings, be polite, but don’t expect much.
In fact, basically every acquisition requires the M&A/corp dev team to have a “business sponsor” who is driving the deal. Even almost every corporate investment.
So instead, build relationships with the CEOs and relevant SVPs at the BigCos that are relevant to what you are doing.
They are the ones that will step up, if the time and place are right.
WhatsApp excerpt from here: Facebook Closes $19 Billion WhatsApp Deal