What Is a Data Room and How Can it Help your SaaS Startup Get Acquired?

What Is a Data Room and How Can It Help Your SaaS Startup Get Acquired?

You already have everything you need to sell your SaaS. The problem is, it’s spread across different files, folders, systems, and departments. Consolidating all this data will take hours (perhaps days), but if you prepare it in advance, it will make it easier for your startup get acquired. How? You can respond to buyers’ requests quickly and easily and resolve issues before they arise.

Acquisitions involve many moving parts. While attending to buyers, negotiation, and preparing for due diligence, you also have to keep growing and operating your business. You don’t want to waste time pulling data from one silo to another where you risk looking unprepared, making a mistake, or discovering something unsavory. Instead, build a data room long before you list.

What’s a data room?

A data room is a virtual, sharable workspace where you store all the information pertinent to the acquisition. Rather than get lost in a sea of email attachments, you upload everything to one place from where you share documents and files as you see fit. Consolidating your data into one convenient location avoids confusion, duplication, and unknowns spoiling your acquisition.

If you want to sell a house, for example, you might create a Google Drive folder in which you store pictures, descriptions, video tours, deeds, maintenance records, and more. Like a locked filing cabinet, you have control over who sees what in your data room, preferentially giving access to only the most interested and trusted buyers. It’s the same with acquisitions.

A typical acquisition data room includes financial records, customer lists, vendor licenses, contracts, asset inventory, and lots more. You might also include legal documents like your attorney’s digital minute book. What’s important here is that you create a single source of truth no matter how big or complex your startup is, which makes sharing data super easy.

How can a data room help you get acquired?

For a successful SaaS acquisition, building a strong data room is key

A successful acquisition relies on finding the right buyer for your startup. You could simply list your startup on a marketplace and wait to attract offers — but acquisitions don’t work like that. Buyers want a lot of information before making an offer, and if you don’t have that information, relay incorrect data, or are too slow to respond, your buyer may lose interest.

Creates a focal point for your acquisition

A data room is your focal point for acquisition preparation. It shows you what’s done and what’s left to do. It should include everything prospective buyers want to see and that which those who go so far as due diligence need to see. You control access to the data, and a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) handles the rest.

Some buyers who handle a lot of transactions — like SureSwift — will have their own template for NDAs that they’ll prefer to use. If you’re dealing with a first-time or smaller buyer, you may want to have your own NDA template, which you can store in your data room.

It’s a good idea to populate a data room in advance of listing your business because it will save you days of rushing to compile everything when buyers start asking for it. You’ll also discover issues that you can rectify before a buyer ever sees your listing, preserving your asking price, and with more time to prepare, you’re less likely to let mistakes and unknowns creep into your data.

Helps you negotiate from a position of strength

A thoroughly populated data room helps justify your asking price (assuming it’s realistic). When you can share relevant data for instant feedback, you’re also less likely to waste time on buyers who aren’t the right fit, and your overall sale process will be faster and smoother.

Some buyers, for example, might not have the time to wait while you compile your data. They might be considering multiple SaaS targets, and if you’re in the running but can’t provide supporting data fast enough, you might lose out to another Founder who’s better prepared.

Speeds up due diligence

Due diligence is the stage where most acquisitions fail, and can involve dozens of questions and points of verification about your business. But with a well-populated data room, most (if not all) the information you need to share during due diligence is ready in advance. You might even say that preparing a data room is doing due diligence on yourself — a dry run for what’s to come.

In that respect, you’ve overcome the worst. You’ve peeked into the dark corners of your startup, patched up any faults, and itemized and documented everything from your employees to your codebase. When the due diligence questions arrive, your data room provides the answers, which could cut weeks off the process and save you a great deal of stress, too.

Why every Founder should have a data room

Even if you're not planning on selling your SaaS business any time soon, it's important to be prepared for anything. Founders sell their businesses for a variety of reasons, some planned and others unexpected (that's why we think every entrepreneur needs an exit plan). Whether the thing that draws you away from your business is a new opportunity, a baby on the way, or just shifting priorities, you'll be grateful you started organizing your data sooner rather than later.

For Founders who never sell, it's still important to keep all key data in one place. We're all familiar with the frustrating scramble of trying to figure out a login you haven't touched in months or years — it's not something you want to be dealing with while trying to run your business. Having all your data in one, organized place also makes onboarding new employees a breeze. Instead of starting from square one, that new customer support specialist or marketing manager you bring on will be able to review and build from your previous work, without lengthy meetings and quests through your files for what they need.

How to set up a data room

A data room is a secure and important way to achieve a successful SaaS acquisition

A data room takes minutes to set up but could take days or weeks to populate. You’ll also want to categorize the data into folders so it’s easy to navigate. Once done, however, sharing your data is as easy as sending buyers a single Drive link.

The bigger question is what to put in your data room. The high-level goal of a data room is to have credible buyers have as close to the same understanding of the risks and rewards of owning your business as you do.

Being organized and thinking through the buyer's perspective while of course being positive about your business helps reduce the friction and time needed to find the right next owner.

Here’s a basic list of what you should include:

  • marketing materials, including an information memorandum and other supporting information that will help sell your startup. (Even a very short memo with links to the key bits of your deal room is a much better sales doc than just sharing deal room access because it makes all info easier to understand)
  • digital minute book, which is a digitized collection of legal documents including intellectual property rights, patents, share certificates, and so on
  • audited financial records for the past two years, including tax filings and financial commitments such as depreciation, capital expenses, and inventories
  • employee records, including resumes, salaries, benefits, equity percentages, performance records, and so on
  • pending legal disputes — if you can settle before you list, probably best to do so, otherwise include details in your data room and ensure you ask the buyer to sign an NDA before sharing them
  • customer lists, including demographics like age, location, persona, purchase history, preferred contact details, and so on
  • vendor lists, including licenses, which products and services you bought, whether you negotiated special rates, who to contact, and so on

Whether you prepare a data room or not, prospective buyers will need this information from you. Leave it until the last minute, and you risk jeopardizing your acquisition or not getting what you want from it at worst, and creating a more stressful sales process for yourself at best. Prepare it in advance, and you can field inquiries quickly and efficiently, and ensure you’re set up for a smooth sale.


Whether you're considering selling your business or have no plans for acquisition, building a complete and organized data room should be at the top of your to-do list. This strategic step not only expedites the due diligence process but also leaves a lasting positive impression on potential buyers, increasing the likelihood of your SaaS startup being acquired. Even if you're not selling, a tidy data room keeps your records in order and makes tasks like hiring easier in the future.

Related articles

When It Comes to Your SaaS Tech Stack, Keep It Simple

April 11, 2024

When you’re starting a software business from scratch, there are a ton of options for how to build it. While acquiring and operating a full portfolio of SaaS businesses, we’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when it comes to your SaaS tech stack.

Read More

Why B2B SaaS Businesses are Our Favorite Acquisition Targets

April 4, 2024

Since 2015, SureSwift Capital has acquired over forty businesses. While not all of those businesses are in our portfolio today, over the last nine years, we’ve refined our ideal acquisition target and perfected our growth strategies.

Read More

Unveiling SureSwift Capital’s Fund C: The Next Chapter of our Innovative Serial Acquirer Model [2024]

March 28, 2024

2024 marks SureSwift Capital’s return to B2B SaaS investments with the launch of Fund C, following a two-year hiatus from acquisitions. With two successful funds behind us since our establishment in 2015, we're proud pioneers in B2B SaaS investment, consistently delivering profitable returns to our Investors.

Read More

Cookie Settings

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
cross icon