Post Merger Integration through the eyes of Henrike Fröchling founder of YogaEasy

Sometimes you meet inspiring clients who are doing and thinking somewhat differently.

6 months ago, I got introduced to Henrike, founder and CEO of YogaEasy. This happened through Tobias from Fin Talent. This lady dreams to further expands internationally and builds an online yoga platform through organic growth and buy and build. Not long before we met, she puts her first steps into the M&A market.

The first time we spoke she had found the perfect candidate, Ekhart Yoga. She asked me prior to the acquisition to support her with the Post Merger Integration strategy and planning. I was surprised, as usually I am mostly sought for advice when the acquisitions are closed and integrations problems become visible to the board and investors. This was a very welcome change for me. Changing from instant firefighting, to strategizing in advance.

Fast forward 6 months. We have created a solid strategy and planning. We had sufficient time to work with both teams on this and also conducted a cultural assessment, ensuring everyone felt right and was heard in the process. This resulted in a strong compass, guiding YogaEasy and Ekhart Yoga, through the integration pitfalls and give them enough space to jointly further build on growth and success.

To get an insider’s view, and understand het motifs and drive better I have asked Henrike some questions. Which you can further read below

You have a successful yoga platform. Why did you choose for buy and build in addition to organic growth?

YogaEasy has grown larger than other European yoga platforms because we built an in-house tech team. We have two successful apps and a web service, which gives us large visibility and flexibility. But it is expensive. So we can scale our tech cost better by joining forces with smaller local platforms. Further we are would like to expand our network with even more experts from the (international) yoga scene. . This way, we can better compete with big international players as we can offer a multi-language platform. We want to build a strong European family for online yoga. 

What do you think was/ is the most challenging in the acquisition and integration period?

For us, the hardest challenges were bureaucratic since we had to go through a transformation of our company form before the merger. Finding a common branding for loyal Ekhart yoga customers and YogaEasy customers is challenging as well. Joining the teams and products seems to be the easier part, because we share so many values and have a common vision of a deep commitment to the practice of yoga.

What was your drive to look for an Post Merger Integration Expert?

This is the first merger we do, and hasn’t everyone heard about a failed merger or a botched migration effort? So I wanted to avoid making the most obvious mistakes by asking an expert. The process is hard enough as it is, it is just smart to get some input when the company has no experience.

What advice would you give other founders/ CEO’s who are also considering buy and build?

For me, it has been the most exciting and gratifying experience to find like-minded people that we can join forces with. It is so inspiring, like finding a new family branch you didn’t know about. So my advice would be to go for it and to be open minded about what you can learn from your new family. And get some advice to avoid the pitfalls of integration, because you will too busy to escape your tunnel vision, so you need a structured process. 

Where do you see YogaEasy in 3 years time? 

YogaEasy has grown to be the epicentre of the German yoga community. In 3 years time, we will offer more products and services in addition to our existing on demand and live classes and programs. Together with our star teachers we will offer more live events on- and offline (think retreats, festivals, teacher trainings) and yoga gear – everything you need for your best yoga journey. We will also further expand our yoga academy, the place for yoga teachers to further expand their knowledge and skillsets. Most importantly, our European family will have grown and we will have joined forces with more local content teams that will offer local high quality content while using our platform.