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Toptal Finance Blog

The Toptal Finance Blog is a hub for in-depth studies and analysis on all facets of finance, ranging from innovative strategies on raising capital to detailed coverage of new finance trends and technologies.

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Selling a Business for Maximum Value in a Challenging M&A Market

by William B. Doyle, Jr.

With $936 billion of uninvested private equity capital inching down market, why do 46% to 80% of lower middle market sell-side transactions fail to close? The usual answer is that companies are not ready for buyers’ examination and owners can be overly optimistic or even greedy. Business owners can do much more to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Success boils down to the following: (1) take the time and do the work to prepare for an exit transaction and (2) apply “intelligent greed” to close your best deal.

18 minute readContinue Reading
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How to Be an Amazing Financial Consultant

by Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA

Fewer than 3% of applicants make it through Toptal Finance’s rigorous screening process. How do the best of the best become such effective financial consultants? We sat down with one of Toptal’s most on-demand financial consultants, Jeffrey Fidelman, who shared his proprietary methods for ensuring success for his clients and how he has grown his own business exponentially.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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Exploring Evergreen Funds with a VC Investor Who Raised One

by Alex Graham, CFA

VC and PE fund structures are traditionally raised in the closed-ended manner, through limited partnerships with end dates. A less common alternative to this is an open-ended/evergreen fund, an ongoing structure that continues indefinitely. In this article we discuss the nuances of open-ended funds with a GP from B37 Ventures, who raised and operates one.

15 minute readContinue Reading
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Estimating WACC for Private Company Valuation: A Tutorial

by David Turney

The discount rate is a critical input in any discounted cash flow valuation analysis. How does an analyst estimate a reasonable discount rate for a private company that has no publicly traded debt or equity? This article focuses on best practices for estimation of the WACC in the context of a private company valuation. The discussion begins with an overview of the WACC, background on the components of the WACC, methods to estimate the WACC components for private companies, and an example of how to apply this framework to estimate a privately-held building materials company.

16 minute readContinue Reading
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Advanced Financial Modeling Best Practices: Hacks for Intelligent, Error-Free Modeling

by Alberto Mihelcic Bazzana

From abstract spreadsheets to real-world application, financial models have become an inextricable part of business life and an indispensable part of every company’s toolkit. But irrespective of its ubiquitousness as a productivity and decision-making tool, many out there still have a love-hate relationship with it. Finance expert Alberto Bazzana authors a comprehensive “how-to guide”, for both the novices and experts among us, detailing Wall Street’s best practices for intelligent, effective, and error-free financial modeling.

17 minute readContinue Reading
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Mastering Sustainable Startup Growth and Finding Your Relevant KPIs

by Erik Stettler

To unlock growth in a company, you must first find the KPI that is core towards increasing company value. More effective knowledge of growth comes from a deeper understanding of the characteristics of a "perfect client," the trends between user cohorts, and finding the tipping point that solidifies retention and engagement.

17 minute readContinue Reading
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Private Equity Succession Planning Do’s and Don’ts

by Melissa Lin

While growing investor enthusiasm has contributed to a historic $3 trillion of fundraising over the last five years, the PE industry faces increasing competition amongst firms, record-high multiples and other factors making it difficult to generate attractive returns. One aspect for consideration is succession planning, especially since CEO turnover at portfolio companies occurs at a rate of 73% and can increase hold times and decrease returns. This article defines succession planning, and examines the best practices and mistakes to avoid in succession planning for PE portfolio companies. It also explores succession planning within private equity firms themselves, something PE firms have been uncharacteristically proactive about confronting recently.

13 minute readContinue Reading
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Family Office Investment Guide: An Alternative to Venture Capital

by Vidur G. Gupta

The origins of family office investing date back, colorfully, to at least 15th century Florence, when the Medicis auspiciously gave the likes of Michelangelo and Da Vinci their start. Fast forward to present day, family offices have quietly continued to rival household VC names in the capital structures of the world's largest tech companies (Uber, Facebook, and WeWork, for example). Finance Expert Vidur Gupta presents a captivating introductory piece on the secretive but potent world of family office investing.

13 minute readContinue Reading

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