Beyond the Balance Sheet: How This Former Citibank Venture Capital Executive Values Businesses Today

Beyond the Balance Sheet: How This Former Citibank Venture Capital Executive Values Businesses Today
Photo Courtesy: Michael Koeppel

Business valuation is a critical process in understanding a company’s or certain assets’ worth. By analyzing a company’s financial performance, market position, asset values, and future earnings potential, an independent, accredited valuation offers a comprehensive understanding of a business’s economic value. Whether someone is looking to buy or sell a business, develop an estate, or determine economic losses – this independent, accredited valuation is a crucial foundation for confirming the true economic value.

The challenge is having all parties agree on  a “proper valuation.” Buyers always aim too low, and sellers typically aim too high. That’s where Michael Koeppel, the Managing Director of Lakelet Advisory Group, brings his experience to the table. With over twenty years as head of his firm at Lakelet Advisory Group and another two decades serving in the corporate sector around the globe, Koeppel is quite adept at providing comprehensive and accurate business valuations for all parties, as well as litigation support.

A Well- balanced Career

Koeppel’s career trajectory took a unique turn from his initial dream of entering medical school. “Early in life, I was drawn towards medicine, but life had different plans. Instead of operating on patients, I now operate on businesses,” Koeppel reflects. After serving in the United States Army Medical Corps, he leveraged the GI Bill to pivot toward finance, accounting, and business, laying the groundwork for his future success. Koeppel graduated summa cum lude from Buffalo State University, then received his master’s degree in accountancy. His formative years included experiences at Price Waterhouse Coopers (“PWC”) and Citibank Venture Capital Group. 

While with PWC, Koeppel was assigned to a prestigious international position, a role which moved him to Brazil for approximately three years. Koeppel encountered the challenges of a hyperinflationary economy, learning valuable lessons in high-stakes investment environments. “Brazil was a turning point for me. Dealing with assets that fluctuated wildly overnight, I learned to adapt and think on my feet,” he shares.

Keys to Effective Business Valuation

There is no shortage of factors affecting a proper business valuation. With so many varying components and situations, it can be difficult to nail down a precise formula for a fairly valued company. That’s why Koeppel holds to four basic principles when offering business owners advice.

Getting An independent, Expert Opinion: “In valuation, independence is key. You need someone who can objectively assess value, not someone who’s entangled in other aspects of your finances,” Koeppel asserts.

Getting An Industry-Wide Perspective: Koeppel believes in an industry-agnostic approach. “Whether it’s agriculture or software, the true value lies in cash flows and the people driving them. Understanding the team behind the numbers is crucial,” he states.

Building A Board of Directors or Advisory Team: For Koeppel, a company’s board plays a vital role in its valuation. “Most small businesses don’t have regular strategic meetings with a knowledgeable board. This alone can significantly steer a company’s value and direction,” he advises.

Consider The Human Capital of A Business: Koeppel sees humans as a vital part of a business. “Human capital is as vital as any tangible asset in a company. Recognizing and quantifying this value is crucial for accurate business valuation,” he notes.

Beyond the Balance Sheet: How This Former Citibank Venture Capital Executive Values Businesses Today
Photo Courtesy: Lakelet Advisory Group

More On Michael Koeppel

Koeppel’s leadership at Lakelet Advisory Group is marked by a holistic approach to valuation. “We delve deeper than mere numbers. Our focus is on a comprehensive analysis that fuses the business’s core services and a strategic plan for the future,” he explains. This approach is bolstered by his specialization in intellectual property valuation, particularly in quantifying patents within their market context. In addition to his firm work, Koeppel’s insights extend beyond his role at Lakelet Advisory Group. He regularly contributes to several investing outlets and regularly shares his insights on best business practices on his website. To anyone looking to build a valuable and profitable business, he emphasizes the importance of building a strong team. “Surround yourself with the brightest and most enjoyable people. The strength of a company lies in its team.”

He serves on the board of the New York State Society of CPAs (“NYSSCPA”). In 2024, he was selected to be vice chairperson of the Business Valuation and Litigation Support Committee. In addition, Koeppel is on the Board of Directors for A Greater Voice for Autism.

Published by: Aly Cinco


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of CEO Weekly.