This Practical Founder Sold His Company Very Early

The first founder of 30 CEOs in my Practical Founders Peer Groups just sold his business successfully last week. It was an atypical deal for an atypical founder.

Bootstrapped and lightly funding founders often sell their businesses when they get life-changing offers they can’t refuse after their company grows above $5M ARR.

This sale was from a founder with a solid product but very early revenues, just getting to $100K ARR. (Yep, that’s a K not an M.)

Revenues were so early that this founder and I had many conversations earlier this year about, “Should I keep going with this company or find something else?”

He was very stressed but decided to hang in there and keep trying.

It’s often hard to know if you’re onto something when it’s all going much slower than you thought. And he only heard about success stories of rocket-ride growth.

  • He didn’t know that his progress was pretty good already. And slow starts are normal.
  • He is a technical founder who built the entire product, ran all the marketing efforts, and did all the sales and customer service.
  • He had a long and successful career running development teams at larger software companies. He wanted to try his hand at entrepreneurship.
  • He learned that “typical” isn’t very typical in the SaaS startup world.
  • He got an offer to buy his company from a bigger company with a large customer base (and large funding) that desperately needed the specific software he had built.
  • He got a strategic offer from a strategic buyer before revenues became material. They structured a deal for this founder to stay on and help grow this business, which works for him.

Now this founder has a huge customer base to sell into that he didn’t have before. And this buyer has a great product they bought early, with someone to lead it.

The founder just received his first million-dollar deposit in his bank account.

Being part of a peer group of similar SaaS CEOs helped this founder discuss the deal, the specific terms, and how he felt about it for many months.

He also got connected to a dozen practical founders in our network who had successfully sold their companies in similar ways. What had worked for them?

It was also very exciting for the other founders in his peer group to see it happen to a friend in real-time.

It wasn’t like the “template” deals of large software companies we hear about, but it worked great for him.

No two founders, startups, or journeys are the same.


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