With Built to Sell Radio, you’ve grown accustomed to hearing entrepreneur exit stories from A to Z, but this week’s episode is a little different. We tease out four transferrable lessons from the latest batch of guests.
Arleen & Ted Taveras had been growing their insurance consultancy for twenty years when they received an unsolicited acquisition offer for 12.5 times EBITDA.
It was a tempting offer from an industry stalwart, but Arleen & Ted wondered if they might be leaving money on the table.
Back in 1998, siblings Pete and Alexa Ingram-Cauchi started iD Tech to offer summer camps for kids who wanted to learn about computers.
The business grew each year and by 2019, was generating $70 million in annual sales hosting camps from Stanford to MIT and beyond.
Jay Gould co-founded Yashi, a platform that helped advertisers buy ads on video content. Yashi grew to more than $25 million in revenue and more than $5 million in EBITDA when Gould received an offer of $33 million from Nexstar Broadcasting. The offer represented around 6 x EBITDA and Gould was conflicted. He knew he could probably get more, but he had also seen how quickly a successful company can go to zero.
Andy Cabasso co-founded JurisPage, a marketing agency specializing in helping law firms in 2013.
Three years later, JurisPage had service contracts with more than 200 law firms when they got a call from Uptime Legal, an Inc. 5000 business specializing in technology and practice management software for law firms.
Mehul Sheth started VMS Aircraft in 1995 with a plan to sell spare parts to airlines. Sheth had just $25,000 to invest in inventory, so VMS got off to a modest start. However, by 2016 Sheth had crested $8 million in revenue. VMS counted some of the largest airlines in the world as customers.
Paul J. Farrell built Nehemiah Security, a software company that helped organizations understand and calculate the risks associated with a cyber-attack.
In just two years, the business grew to around $1.2 in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) despite sales cycles of up to nine months.
Back in 2006, Michael Kaplan and his partners bought into a Zerorez Carpet and Living Surfaces Care franchise. The business was generating $300,000 in revenue and losing $40,000 a year.
By 2019, the company was generating $17 million in revenue when Kaplan and his partner had an irreconcilable dust-up which led to Kaplan triggering their shotgun partnership agreement.
In 2017, Justin Adams co-founded Digitize.AI to help hospitals get paid. They used artificial intelligence to get medical treatments pre-approved by insurance companies ensuring their patients could pay their medical bills.
The business was hungry for cash, and Adams and his wife put everything their young family had into the idea. At one point, Adams was so short of money that when their clothes dryer broke, the Adams family started hanging their laundry because they couldn’t afford the repair.
Cheryl Contee co-founded Attentive.ly along with Rosalyn Lemieux. Together, the partners offered a Software as a Service (SaaS) app that helped non-for-profit organizations perform “social listening”. Their offering was used by organizations to identify and drive engagement among their influencers.
By now, you're accustomed to hearing John Warrillow ask the tough questions.
Every month, we turn the tables and grill John on his favorite anecdotes and transferrable lessons from the latest batch of guests on Built to Sell Radio. In this episode, Dr. Jeremy Weisz gets John to reflect on what stood out, any missed opportunities, and how each story imparts the Built to Sell Methodology.
Michèle Hecken built Alpha Translations up to $4.4 Million (USD) in revenue and almost a million dollars in EBITDA before she sold it in 2019 for $6 million cash (6.7 x normalized EBITDA).
It was a fantastic exit for Hecken who got her start in University translating legal contracts from German to English.
In 1994, Robert Hartline started selling phones in the back of his car. By 2019, he had built Absolute Wireless into a chain of 56 wireless stores and 350 employees.
Hartline was able to systematize his business while he grew by creating employee onboarding videos and delegating key processes.
Like many young couples, Ben & Ariel Zvaifler got a puppy and found themselves trying to figure out how to train it. They wondered what toys were safe and what kind of food to give to their brand-new puppy.
The couple figured they weren't alone and decided to launch PupBox, a subscription box for new puppy owners that offered owners training guides, treats, and toys for puppies appropriate for their age and stage of development.
Nick Huber was a track star at Cornell when he fielded a call from a parent that would change his life. A fellow student needed to store their stuff over the summer, and Huber was offered money to pick up his classmate’s stuff and keep it until the fall. Huber realized that other students who lived out-of-state might need a similar service, and Storage Squad was born.
On this month's episode of Built to Sell Intel, John will be sharing key insights from the latest group of entrepreneurs interviewed on Built to Sell Radio.
John recaps his favorite anecdotes in this monthly live broadcast, highlighting helpful strategies and transferable lessons.
Cary Moretti is the founder of NewSportMedia, an IT consulting company that does work with sports leagues. Along the way, Moretti created a software application called LeagueStat. The app helped hockey leagues like the AHL and CHL provide fans, journalists, parents, and scouts with real-time statistics on their favorite teams.
Dr. Kristin Kahle helps businesses pick a benefits program for their employees.
She started three insurance agencies and the first two were service businesses that sold for a modest 1.5-2 times EBITDA.
With her third business, Kahle wanted to attract a higher multiple, so she decided to transform it into a technology company.
In 2011, Jodie Cook started an eponymously named social media agency, JC Social Media. Over the next nine years, Cook built the business up to 16 employees. Then, she decided to sell at the end of 2020 and thought her company could be worth in the 5-7 times EBITDA range.
Along with three friends, Sebastian Johnston co-founded TheAmazeApp in 2014. The idea was based on a simple idea. Social media influencers could upload a picture of what they were wearing and tag the clothing on TheAmazeApp’s database of e-commerce retailers. Then, when one of their followers purchased the item, TheAmazeApp would receive a commission they shared with the influencer.
Eytan Wiener started Quantum Networks as a simple Amazon Reseller of technology gadgets. The business model was basic. Resell a semi-known brand’s product on Amazon, or source a device people wanted in China and resell it on Amazon at a slim margin.
This past month, we've interviewed four riveting guests on Built to Sell Radio.
John shares the transferable lessons on Built to Sell Intel, a monthly live webinar hosted for our listeners.
In this 1-hour, jam-packed session, we’ll be discussing:
Carrie and Dave Kerpen started Likeable Media, a social media agency, in 2006.
The business grew to more than 50 employees when the couple met for their annual partner's retreat. The Kerpens realized their business had blossomed into a big success which they estimated was close to 90% of their net worth.
Shawn Finder built email marketing platform Autoklose to $1 million in revenue when a chance encounter at a conference led to an acquisition conversation with VanillaSoft. Finder thought his company was worth much more initially than VanillaSoft did – their valuations were quite far apart and both sides had to negotiate to ultimately meet in the middle.
Mike Agugliaro is an electrician by trade and over 12 years built Gold Medal Service to around $700,000 in revenue with his partner Rob Zadotti.
The days were long, which was one reason Zadotti decided to quit.
Agugliaro took a few days to consider how things had gotten so bad. He realized they had been making a lot of mistakes and knew they could do better. Agugliaro convinced his partner that if he would stay, they could build a better company together.
Zadotti agreed, and that kicked off a journey that would see Agugliaro and Zadotti build Gold Medal Service into a $32 million company with double digital profit margins.