David Yaffe was working at Google when he spotted an opportunity to connect advertisers with smaller publishers competing for online advertising dollars. He and two friends started Arbor, raised more than $2 million in seed capital and built a prototype. Two years later, Arbor had grown to 25 employees when LiveRamp acquired them for more than $100 million.
The format for Built to Sell Radio typically features our host, John Warrillow, interviewing an owner who has recently sold their business. This week, we’re going to try something different. Today’s episode features John’s analysis of four of the exits we’ve featured on the show. John will break down his key takeaways and transferable lessons.
When Matt Schmeltz and his partners acquired CloudCraze, it was a simple software application helping businesses that use Salesforce.com manage their customer relationships. CloudCraze generated $2 million in annual recurring revenue, but Schmeltz & Co. figured it could do much more.
In 1995, with just $5,000 in start-up capital, Ashok Vasudevan launched Tasty Bite offering ready-to-eat Indian entrees to American consumers.
Twenty-five years later, Tasty Bite is America's largest brand of prepared Indian food sold everywhere, from Walmart to Whole Foods. In 2017, Vasudevan announced he had sold the company to Mars, which has a portfolio of beloved brands including everything from Uncle Ben's to Skittles.
Peter Demangos has started two businesses in the Human Resources sector. One was a bootstrapped insurance brokerage where they sold employee benefits programs to large clients. The other was an HR software company called Collage, where Demangos and his co-founders raised $3.5 million of investment capital and sold three years later for $15 million.
Debbie King was running on a treadmill so familiar to service company owners. Her company, Association Analytics, helped associations make sense of their member data, and she was wasting time on proposals that often did not get accepted. Then, when King did win a project, she was creating a custom solution for every job that required her to hire senior-level staff and personally get involved in client work. The model put a cap on her business, and when she reached 20 employees, she decided it was time to get out.
Lee Gregory built Sir Lines-A-Lot, a company that paints lines on highways, to 40 employees. It was blue-collar work, so when Gregory learned his company could be worth north of eight figures, he decided it was time to sell. During this interview, Gregory
Josh Davis started Spirit of Women, a marketing agency selling content about women's health to hospitals. Davis built the company up to almost $10 million in annual revenue when he kicked off a process to sell it, which he hoped would garner an offer of a
David Lekach started Dream Water; a natural sleep aid bottled in a 5 oz shot similar to the famous 5-Hour Energy Drink.
Lekach built Dream Water up to almost $10 million in annual revenue before selling it to Harvest One, a cannabis company, for $34.5 million in cash and Harvest One stock.
This week's episode of Built to Sell Radio features David Amigo. He co-founded Carolina Country Homes, a modular home dealer. Amigo grew his company to $10 million in annual revenue but never loved the modular home business where red tape and financing challenges are commonplace.
Before the pandemic, fancy salad bars were popping up in major cities across the US, making the category one of the fastest-growing sectors of the restaurant industry. Despite their popularity in major cities, when Ana Chaud moved to Portland, Oregon, she was surprised to see a shortage of good salad options.
When we discover a vaccine or reliable treatment regime for COVID-19, there will inevitably be an unscrupulous gang of counterfeiters trying to make a quick buck by selling fake remedies.
Systech International could provide a defense against these crooked operators. Systech has developed technology that allows drug makers to create a unique bar code for each of their products, which stops counterfeiters from ripping them off. The technology is used by drug manufacturers and just about any company that needs to ensure its packaged products are safe and authentic.
Michael Spinosa and Scott Greenwell started a digital marketing agency called Unleashed Technologies at the start of the 2007 financial crisis. Spinosa believes the recession helped Unleashed get started because their flexibility and lower fees enabled them to pick up business from larger rivals who were losing customers amid cost-cutting. By 2019, Unleashed had grown to over $6 million in revenue when they were approached by LINC Partners, a private equity-backed group looking to do a role up of digital marketing agencies.
Anson Sowby started Battery, a creative advertising agency in 2013. Battery quickly won assignments from companies like Netflix and LEGO featuring A-list celebrities such as LeBron James, fuelling their growth to 50 employees by 2019. That's when Paris-based Havas decided to make an offer to buy Battery.
In 2012, Gabriela Isturiz co-founded Bellefield Systems, a company offering a timekeeping application for lawyers. Over the next seven years, Bellefield grew to 45 employees when Isturiz decided to hire an advisor to find a strategic investor. Given Bellefield's growth and success, Isturiz was hoping the process would garner a valuation of 5-7 times Bellefield's Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).
Ganesh Ramakrishna and Mike Watson built Opex Analytics to 140 employees before they sold it to PE-backed LLamasoft in the fall of last year.
Adam Ochstein started an HR software company called StratEx in the depths of the 2008 recession. CEOs were asking HR managers to do more with less and Ochstein's software promised to help HR managers do just that. Despite the challenging economic environment, StratEx was an early success and was particularly popular with restaurants. Ochstein decided to focus on the hospitality sector and forged a partnership with Toast, one of the fastest-growing Point of Sale (POS) providers serving restaurants. The collaboration was a success, and StratEx ballooned to 160 employees.
Nashville-based Bryan Clayton was running Peachtree, a landscaping business, when the financial crisis of 2008 hit hard. Customers stopped spending money overnight. Clayton gathered his employees together and told them the world had changed and asked each to re-commit to the company. Clayton told them that the road ahead would be challenging, but he would do everything in his power not to cut staff.
If you're working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you've probably received a few packages from Amazon. As more people order essentials to deal with "shelter at home" restrictions, Amazon has seen a sudden spike in activity, which is causing them to hire more than 100,000 fulfillment center workers.
It's ironic that Joshua Dick lives in Italy, one of the country's worst hit by COVID-19 deaths. He moved to Italy with his family as a reward for selling his business, Urnex Brands. Urnex was in the unglamorous business of selling cleaning supplies for coffee makers. As is often the case, the least attractive companies are often some of the most profitable, and when Urnex ticked passed $5 million in EBITDA, Dick decided to sell.
Staffing-industry veteran Will Gilbert co-founded Socium – a U.K.-based company supplying workers to companies that needed them – in early 2019. Within six months, Socium was generating more than 7 million U.K. Pounds in revenue.
Aater Suleman co-founded an IT services company called Flux7 in 2013, built it to 70 employees and sold it in 2019 to NTT DATA, the Fortune 500 IT giant.
The action sports business is fuelled by big brands which is why, when SPY Optics built a style popular with irreverent teens, eyewear bemouth Bollé decided they had to own them.
When Scott Moore's job as a VP at Winn-Dixie was eliminated in 2012, he decided to start a restaurant with his friend Gus Evans in Jacksonville, Florida. They called it The Maple Street Biscuit Company and offered what they refer to as "comfort food with a modern twist."
Back in 2004, John Moore started 3D4Medical.com, a company that created three-dimensional models of the human body, photographed them and licensed the images to textbook publishers. When the Great Recession hit, Moore’s business took a turn, and he realized he needed to re-invent the company.