The market for digital assistants is booming. Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa and Google has Google Assistant. Now, thanks to Charles Jolley, Facebook has Ozlo, a digital assistant designed to outsmart Siri and Alexa at their own game.
David Fairley estimates he has sold more than 20 online properties but admits it was the sale of Hammocks.com—one of his first exits—that taught him the most.
Drew Goodmanson started Monk Development as a custom website development shop and evolved it into a product enabling churches to establish an online presence. With more than 300,000 churches in the United States, Goodmanson’s company took off and he grew it to more than $3 million in recurring revenue per year, leveraging the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model
Cindy Whitehead started Sprout Pharmaceuticals and created the drug ADDYI, which has become known as the “female Viagra”.
Anthony Lacavera has started 12 businesses, six of which he has exited. His exits have ranged in value from the $6 million he got for one of his recent start-ups to the $1.3 billion that Wind Mobile sold for.
Back in 2013, Dave Ripley became fascinated with Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency market was gaining notoriety and Ripley and a friend decided to start Glidera, a company focused on creating tools to help developers integrate cryptocurrency.
Chris Muench started C-Labs in 2008 to go after the burgeoning opportunities presented by the Internet-of-Things (IOT). He began by writing custom software applications that allowed one machine to talk to another. In 2014, he got the industrial giant TRUMPF International (no, not Trump) to acquire 30% of C-Labs, which gave him the cash to transform his service offering into a product.
Jim McManaman started his accounting firm in a small town of 3,000, so when he decided to sell, he had to figure out how to do it without tipping off his employees. McManaman is well known in town, so he relied on secret, out-of-town meetings with buyers and Sunday sessions in his board room to keep things quiet.
Etienne Borgeat co-founded PCO innovation, an IT consulting firm, in 2000. By 2016, the firm had 600 full-time employees and offices around the world, which is when Accenture knocked on their door.
Tom Franceski and his two partners built DocStar up to 45 employees when they decided to shop the business to some private equity (PE) investors. The PE guys offered four to six times Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA), which Franceski deemed low for a fast-growing software company.
Susan Hrib started an oil and gas industry consulting firm called Signum back in 1994. Recently Hrib received a call from an industry contact who said they would be interested in buying Signum. After more than 20 years in the same company, Hrib decided she was ready to move on.
In 2014, Hank Goddard got an offer of one times revenue to buy his software company, Mainspring Healthcare Solutions.
Goddard said, “No, thank you”.
A year later, the acquirer came back and doubled their offer to two times revenue. Again, Goddard declined.
Sohail Khan built J.V. Global Consulting into a $3 million consulting business, offering training boot camps and consulting on how to set up joint venture partnerships. Khan was approached by one of his clients wanting to buy his business. Khan rejected their initial offer, but when they came back with a deal worth in excess of eight figures, Khan couldn’t refuse.
Jay Steinfeld started selling blinds online in 1993. The e-commerce pioneer went on to build Blinds.com into a $100 million category killer before Home Depot decided enough was enough and made Steinfeld an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Dan Martell started Spheric Technologies to help Fortune 500 companies build website portals, an emerging business back in 2004. Within four years, Martell had scaled the business to 30 employees when he received an acquisition offer that would change his life.
Terry Lammers took over the family oil wholesaling business in 1991. By 2010, Tri-County Petroleum was selling $42 million worth of gas and oil, when Lammers decided it was time to cash in.
Brian Ferrilla started Resort Advantage in 2006 to help casinos adhere to new anti-money laundering laws. Criminals were laundering money through casinos and Ferrilla’s software helped casinos help spot the bad guys.
In 2012, Randy Ambrosie was hired to run 3Macs, a Montreal-based wealth management firm with $4 billion in assets under management at the time.
If you own Chicago Bulls sunglasses—or sunglasses from just about any other NBA team—you owe your eyewear to Jason Bolt.
In 2011 Josh Holtzman, the founder and CEO of American Data Company, gathered his employees into a conference room to announce “Fifteen Cubed”, a company-wide initiative to grow to $15 million in revenue by the year 2015.
Entrepreneurs can be categorized into two groups. On one hand, you have the doers. These are the people who organically grow a business over time. They plod along for years, or even decades in the same business. They look for small, incremental improvements every day. Their natural tendency is to say no to new ideas and they have to be thoroughly convinced before they change strategy.
A few weeks ago, Shaun Oshamn sold iSupportU, a Colorado-based IT support business. Oshamn started the business at the age of 32 and knew he wanted to sell before his 40th birthday. As that milestone approached, Oshamn started getting his business ready to sell.
Jill Nelson built Ruby Receptionists, a call answering service, into an $11MM business when she met with an investment banker who told her the technology she had built to answer calls could be worth a mint.
Joey Redner started Cigar City Brewing in Tampa Bay in 2009 with a vision of being the first quality craft beer in Tampa at a time when craft beer was gaining popularity across the country.
Ari Ackerman started Bunk1 in 1999 to give parents a way to keep in touch with their kids while they were at summer camp. Over 17 years, Ackerman grew his technology business into one of the biggest brands in the summer camp industry, which is about the time they were approached by TogetherWork, a company backed by a billion-dollar private equity giant.