Karl Motey is an Independent Business Consultant and Corporate Executive based in Los Altos, California. Through his work, he helps emerging and existing companies create their business development strategies. Before settling into the independent role, Karl Motey earned his experience and strong reputation through his work with several companies. His experience spans both the semiconductor industry and Wall Street. He initially worked in the semiconductor industry at companies such as Avnet and Cyrix and later transitioned to become a leading sell side equity research analyst. His analyst experience includes working for Alex. Brown / Deutsche Bank, and Wachovia / Wells Fargo. More recently, he has been working on mergers and acquisitions back in the semiconductor industry and led this effort at Spansion (acquired by Cypress), Adesto Technologies (acquired by Dialog Semi), and SMART Global Holdings / SGH.
Through his years of experience, Karl Motey has gained a strong understanding of corporate development in particular mergers and acquisitions. In fact, Karl has been involved with over $4 billion of acquisitions across both US and multinational corporations. His experience spans the entire spectrum of corporate development activities including developing corporate strategies, deal sourcing, negotiation, financial and valuation analysis, due diligence, and integration.
Currently, Karl Motey is a partner and sponsor of Parabellum Acquisition Corp., which is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). Parabellum is currently a publicly traded company on NYSE, trading under the ticker PRBM. The company’s purpose is to merge with a technology related company related to the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. This includes semiconductors, systems, and software companies.
Karl Motey also has expertise in building strategic partnerships, developing an investor relations strategy, and building a licensing plan, among others. He’s a skilled leader, communicator, and negotiator. His experience has helped him become a strategic thinker who skillfully handles risk management, financial analysis, and valuation as part of his daily work life.
When Karl Motey isn’t busy working, he enjoys spending time with his family or focusing on other passions such as music and sports. Karl is exceptionally family-oriented, having lost his father very early in life. It gave him an appreciation for the family he had left, including his mother, sister, and stepfather. Now, he has passed that lesson onto his children.
Karl Motey leads an active lifestyle and is an avid skier. He also loves to play golf and spend time at Lake Tahoe, where he explores the outdoors through activities such as hiking and jet skiing with his family. Karl Motey is also a dedicated sports fan and, although he lives in California, has stayed true to his home state of Massachusetts. Karl has a passion for all Boston sports teams including the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and Boston Red Sox.
Our Interview with Karl Motey
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Karl Motey: I am loyal to my family and friends I’ve made along the way. I pride myself in developing long term relationships and maintaining close friendships regardless of where I live. This includes my friends from grade school, my college roommates, and friends I’ve made throughout the years.
Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Karl Motey: I think my biggest accomplishment is remaining resilient. My life has had many ups and downs, starting with losing my father at age 7, being uprooted from my home in Iran due to the revolution and moving to the US where we had to integrate into a completely new culture. I remind myself often that “life is a marathon”.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Karl Motey: I would have to say at the moment there are 2 tools I can’t live without: my laptop and all the software on it (primarily Excel), and certain research tools I use for analyzing various industry data (such as Capital IQ). Technology advancements have made information readily available so I try to stay current by using cloud-based tools as much as I can.
Question: What is your favorite hobby and why?
Karl Motey: Snow skiing is my favorite hobby. I have been skiing since I was 8 years old so that’s nearly 50 years. I was fortunate to have a mother who sacrificed her weekends for my sister and me to learn how to ski and enjoy the outdoors. I have skied all over the world, from Iran (the best ski experience I’ve ever had), to the Italian Alps, and throughout the US. The reason I love it is you get to spend the day outdoors in a beautiful setting with friends and family.
Question: What excited you the most about your industry right now?
Karl Motey: The technology industry continues to go through transformations. This is the most exciting aspect of being part of it. For the semiconductor industry, it’s exciting for me to see the broader group of businesses and leaders finally realizing the value that’s inherent in semiconductors. For the past 20+ years, the US venture firms have significantly underinvested in semiconductors, given they had higher returns in other sectors such as internet, software, and social media. Unfortunately, throughout that same period, China massively invested in semiconductors and is on the cusp of being a major worldwide player. I’m glad to see many of our leaders in business and government alike finally realizing the value of semiconductor devices, which are the heart and soul of all electronic devices from the cloud and enterprise systems to consumer centric devices such as smart phones. This is now turning into significant investments in the semiconductor industry in the US.
Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Karl Motey: The biggest risk I took was moving to California by myself without a job. I had recently graduated from college, and at the time, the Massachusetts economy was not doing well. I had some family in San Diego, so I moved there to see if I had better luck. It was a rough start, as I struggled for the first 6 months. But then I moved to Silicon Valley, where the economy was booming. I was fortunate to get into the semiconductor business but more importantly it was where I met my wife, so it all worked out.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Karl Motey: I try to start the day with an hour workout. This does 2 things: gets my mind and body jump started and helps me focus on what I must do that day. I have described it as having a “buzz” all day (meaning my mind is working on “all cylinders” so to speak).
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Karl Motey: This is a great question but there is no single book that has impacted my life any more than others, but a few stand out. From a business perspective, “Accidental Empires” lays out the history of Silicon Valley in a way most people would never guess happened. “Only the Paranoid Survive” by Andy Grove is another one that stood out about how to manage a company to win in the long term. Personally, “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell reminds us to trust our gut vs. over analyzing everything. “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven is a short read about doing the little things right to get the big things right.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Karl Motey: While I value both, I have found that over the years, common sense makes the bigger difference. This applies to personal and professional settings. Obviously, intelligence is a significant trait but for me, sometimes important decisions can be made more impactfully just by using common sense. For example, my wife and I helped our kids with their college decisions. All 3 had choices to make which came down to making the “intelligent” choice and going to a higher ranked school or making the “common sense” choice and going to the school that was the best fit for them. Thankfully, all 3 made the common sense choice and it worked out well for them.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Karl Motey: The perfect day is one that would include all the activities I love. Not too long ago I had such a day to celebrate my birthday (it was close to perfect). It started with a morning hike with my family and dog. We spent the day on Lake Tahoe including lunch at my favorite spot Sunnyside and some beach time. It ended with a family dinner at home. All that was missing was playing some music and seeing my mom and sister.