Denis Cranstoun, Finance Expert in New York, NY, United States
Denis Cranstoun

Finance Expert in New York, NY, United States

Member since May 16, 2019
A Finance MBA graduate with honors from NYU Stern, Denis spent 10 years in investment banking in the technology, media, and marketing sectors, executing $4 billion of capital and M&A transactions at Credit Suisse, middle-market M&A deals, and early-stage financings at various boutiques. Denis joined Toptal to help clients with financial strategy, valuation, fundraising, and M&A while advising software startups and mentoring at Sports Tech Tokyo.
Denis is now available for hire


Select Certifications

Industry Expertise

  • Finance
  • Venture Capital & Private Equity
  • Financial Modeling
  • Startups
  • Sports
  • Entertainment & Leisure
  • Early-stage Startups

Other Expertise


  • Director, M&A & Corporate Advisory

    2017 - 2019
    PALAZZO Investment Bankers
    • Participated in completing multiple middle-market ($50-$100 million enterprise value range) sell-side transactions in the marketing and media sectors, including the sale of Soulsight to Bruin Sports Capital, securing premium valuations and favorable deal terms for the sellers.
    • Mentored the execution team of a vice president and two analysts at all stages of a deal cycle–from launch to closing–by overseeing financial analysis (ensuring proper accounting methods), modeling (including financial projections and public comps, M&A comps and DCF valuation analyses) and marketing materials creation.
    • Led a process–from pre-engagement to buyer negotiations (including deal framework scenarios)–for a multicultural marketing services firm.
    • Successfully identified and engaged over 70 high-quality M&A prospects with traditional (tech-enabled/pure services) and new (software/SaaS) business models for the firm.
    • Significantly expanded and leveraged the firm's relationships with strategic buyers and financial investors in core areas of focus (marketing, media, related technology, and tech-enabled services) through personal network and industry thought leadership.
    Focus areas: Deal Advisory, Finance Strategy, Valuation, Capital Raising, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Associate, M&A

    2016 - 2017
    Berkery Noyes
    • Played critical client-facing roles on active M&A and equity raise engagements across a variety of technology and tech-enabled services verticals, including adtech, digital media, eCommerce, edtech, healthtech, martech, and publishing.
    • Led valuation assignment for the board of directors of Ensequence (adtech platform offering interactive TV solutions) using financial performance projections, publicly traded comps, M&A comps, and discounted cash flow (DCF) analyses.
    • Designed, built and operated a custom LBO model for buy-side M&A advisory to Narrow Gauge Capital on the acquisition of Class Appraisal.
    • Built and ran a three-statement operating model for sell-side M&A advisory to Barron's on divestiture of certain assets to Kaplan.
    • Staffed in increasingly more senior roles to lead execution at every stage of live M&A transactions, equity raises, valuation engagements and new business pitches, directly reporting to managing directors.
    • Created buyer-facing marketing materials and new business pitch materials, including one presentation that was used as a firm-wide standard by the bank's CEO.
    • Initiated and managed relationships with potential clients and prospective (strategic and financial) buyers, specifically in the marketing technology, digital media, sports, and entertainment verticals.
    • Designed and conducted junior banker training sessions, leveraging hands-on skills acquired via years of training and client engagements in a bulge-bracket setting.
    Focus areas: Finance Strategy, Financial Modeling, Valuation, Growth Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Associate, M&A

    2015 - 2016
    The Jordan Edmiston Group (JEGI)
    • Developed expertise in managing every aspect of middle market M&A and financing processes in a vast range of technology verticals, including adtech, martech, content management systems, eventtech, and HCM tech.
    • Led accounting diligence, operational and valuation analyses, and marketing materials creation for sell-side M&A advisory to PrizeLogic, a bootstrapped digital marketing company, on receiving a significant investment by Pamlico Capital.
    • Analyzed growth opportunities and translated them into financial projections for sell-side M&A assignment to Evanta, a tech-enabled B2B events company sold from a private equity owner to The Corporate Executive Board, now part of Gartner, for $275 million.
    • Built a dynamic client database, including attrition/retention analysis; projected financial performance; created marketing materials and reached out to buyers working side-by-side with the CEO of a B2B content management software company.
    • Worked directly with the CFO on the client's side and the partner on the investor's side to analyze bookings, billings, and backlog; projected financial performance trajectory and designed an investment framework for a Software-as-a-Service platform.
    • Assigned to perform senior-level duties, managing select deals and reporting directly to two managing directors within the first three months at the firm.
    • Built financial performance projections and performed valuation analyses for multiple clients and prospects.
    Focus areas: Finance Strategy, Financial Modeling, Valuation, Growth Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Senior Advisor, Corporate & Venture Finance

    2012 - 2015
    • Devised comprehensive, financial performance-driven growth strategies for multiple early-stage adtech, martech, sportstech, and digital media platforms via financial modeling and comp analysis.
    • Built a comprehensive financial model, including base case, upside case, and downside case scenarios; new business phase-in options; and cash burn analysis for an enterprise-level revenue and inventory management SSP platform that led to a successful $2 million seed round equity raise.
    • Created financial performance projections, including ad-driven and affiliate-driven revenue models, for an innovative consumer engagement SaaS platform in the travel industry.
    • Evaluated opportunities for corporate, growth and venture investments in innovative technology.
    • Provided quantitative opinion to a diversified industrial holding on deploying a tech-focused VC fund.
    Focus areas: Startup Funding, Business Advisory, Fundraising, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Finance Strategy
  • Associate, Investment Banking - Technology, Media & Telecommunications

    2010 - 2012
    Credit Suisse
    • Applied industry background and financial product expertise in M&A, equity and debt to enhance client deliverables across TMT verticals.
    • Advised high-profile public and private media clients on strategic alternatives for their digital media businesses.
    • Served as the Technology group day-to-day execution lead on $1 billion sale of over-levered fintech software company (Open Solutions) amid challenging markets, limited buyer universe.
    • Led the overhaul and maintenance of a complex model to project financial performance and run leverage scenarios for >$2 billion in aggregate of refinancing bonds for Univision issued opportunistically, with limited time-to-market.
    • Served as an integral part of the execution team on $411 million term loan for Radio One and $300 million term loan for Hawaiian Telcom, both at most competitive rates available.
    • Received first-rate, formal bulge bracket financial modeling and valuation experience via extensive training and being given significant responsibility on creating new business pitches.
    Focus areas: Financial Modeling, Finance Strategy, Equity Financing, Debt Raises, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Region Manager, International Business Development

    2007 - 2008
    National Basketball Association
    • Built integrated P&L for the Eastern European market with SVPs of the media, merchandising, and partnerships business units.
    • Developed analysis for a global media distribution broadcasting rights contract up-sell from $350,000 to $500,000.
    • Created a financial partnership to grow annual revenue from $2.1 million to $3.8 million, which laid the foundation for the Brooklyn (fka New Jersey) Nets sale.
    • Performed extensive research and addressable market analyses to identify viable new business opportunities.
    • Put together marketing materials to present collaboration opportunities to potential global partners.
    Focus areas: Finance Strategy, Revenue Optimization, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)


  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Finance
    2008 - 2010
    New York University - New York, NY
  • Master's Degree in Media Management/Integrated Marketing Communications
    2002 - 2004
    University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC
  • Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology
    1993 - 1997
    University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC


  • Series 79
    NOVEMBER 2017 - FEBRUARY 2021

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