The Pilot – November 2020

Health & Education

Remember, Remember this November

Well what a November, I mean – no fireworks night with mulled wine, lost children, toffee apples and undercooked yet burnt sausages. Yes, Lockdown 2.0 arrived just in time for us to miss what for many is moving into winter mode.  So it was back to the Zoom life with a weather eye out for the dramatic event in the US election, a leaping stock market on the fabulous news of the imminent arrival of a vaccine and yet another missed Brexit deadline date!  Whatever you think of Boris, Donald and Guy Fawkes, you have to admit they all have or at least had cojones as well as a love for changing the status quo, until of course that means leaving office.

If you think your Zoom life has been challenging, spare a thought for Alex Thompson, the skipper and only person on board the non-stop round the world race boat – Hugo Boss.  I have written a blog on his amazing feat showing true grit in the face of adversity which you can read here.  Suffice to say, his boat had a serious structural failure whilst he was winning in the middle of the South Atlantic, but with the wonders of modern tech he was, under the remote guidance of his team, able to repair this complicated racing machine*.  A great example of how we can all achieve great things with a strong team around us, even when acting alone.

I am delighted that the team at Polestar has been super busy researching deals and finding useful or interesting tit-bits for you to read.  If you want to receive updates on any given blog subject or from any one Polestar author please do subscribe via this link.

So what have we got for you?  We have written a really useful guide to how to value a SaaS business.  If you have any interest in software businesses and want to understand why they command such high values do have a read.  If you own a software business, we hope it gives you some pointers as to how to maximise its value.

Additionally we have, separately, looked at private company and public company valuations for companies in the software and technology markets. Both are worth five minutes of your time if company valuations interest you.  If you ever wandered how the new Robinhood App – that allows for free stock market trading – makes cash, then have read of Shaan’s article; you will see why it is reputedly worth $11.2 billion!

Also in the news, Oli has looked at using orbiting solar farms to provide us with power and Chris has shown us another amazing human feat when Chric Mikic became the first person with Down’s syndrome to finish an Ironman.  If you have an interest in FX in your business please have a read of Shaan’s blog on managing treasury risk.

Have a great December and enjoy your five days of three-family bubbles over the Christmas holiday.

Kind regards,


A selection of this month’s blogs

*Since I drafted this Hugo Boss has broken one of its two rudders when it hit what is known as a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object).  Thompson has decided to live to fight another day and is heading to Cape Town.  It shows how close to the envelope of technical capabilities these boats are racing – high risk for high reward.  Interestingly, all but one of the newest generation of boats have suffered a significant failure.  The one that remains unblemished is leading and appears to have throttled back slightly.  The best of the rest is a 61 year old, Jean Le Cam, in an older generation boat – would it not be fascinating if he won?  I will keep you posted!


Crushing adversity through grit and teamwork
You may not be aware but 19 days ago 33 sailors set off on a singlehanded, non-stop round-the-world race.  Think about 25,000 miles at sea in all weather alone.  When stuff breaks you have to mend it or retire, and retiring is the last… Read more

Software and Technology UK – Mid-Market Private Transactions Snapshot December 2020
Polestar brings you the first of our insights into the UK mid-market software and technology sector. This report provides a snapshot of the trends we are observing in the UK M&A market where the enterprise value of the business is less than… Read more

Polestar Public Company Q320 Software and Technology Spotlight
Current Market Valuations In conjunction with our review of private company transaction we have prepared a detailed paper on UK PLC’s. UK PLC Software valuations remained robust in Q320 despite the  additional lock down and implementation of… Read more

No limits, No boundaries… Chris Nikic becomes first person with Down’s syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon
As many of you will know and indeed may have experienced, entering an Ironman endurance event and completing it, is bloody hard work for hours, many, many hours (including 2.4 mile Swim, 112 bicycle ride and 26.2mile marathon to finish). Let alone… Read more

Space-age solar power
Could a solar power station in space be a viable form on energy production? The UK government plans to answer this question with newly commissioned into space-based solar power systems (SBSP). In short, the technology would consist of huge solar… Read more

Reverse Robinhood
Robinhood, as we know him, was a philanthropist who robbed the rich to give to the poor. Today, it’s a software company that aims to “democratise” America’s financial system by enabling investors to “build their wealth free of charge.” This new… Read more

Views from the CFO’s Office
Few people in the world, let alone the c-suite, expected to face a more devastating challenge than 2008’s financial crisis. Yet, assessing the damage of 2020’s COVID-induced global recession, the pandemic has in many ways dwarfed the aftermath of… Read more

So what have we got for you? We have written a really useful guide to how to value a SaaS business. If you have any interest in software businesses and want to understand why they command such high values do have a read. If you own a software business, we hope it gives you some pointers as to how to maximise its value.

By Charles Whelan on 01/12/2020