Practical Founders Podcast

#80: Second-Time Founder Wins Bigger with Bootstrapped SaaS Company – Antony Ceravolo

Antony Ceravolo is a successful two-time startup founder from Adelaide, South Australia. He started his career in investment banking but left in 2002 to start a DVD rental business in London that raised funding from big VCs and Amazon. It grew into, which was later acquired by Amazon in 2011 to become part of their movie streaming service. 

He moved back to Adelaide and started Sine in 2013 to help schools, businesses, and large office buildings manage guest sign-ins more securely using iPads at their front desks. They also started tracking visiting contractors and vendors with their mobile app, allowing automatic check-ins and tracking for operations managers.  

Sine grew quickly with global customers and large deals, eventually growing to 100 employees, mostly in Adelaide, with no VC funding or institutional investors. Sine was acquired by Honeywell in 2020 and became a critical product in their property management technology suite. 

Antony speaks openly about the benefits and challenges of working with institutional investors and why he avoided raising VC funding with Sine. 

2nd-Time SaaS Founder Topics Discussed on this Podcast

  • Why he left Adelaide, South Australia, to become an investment banker in London
  • How he started a DVD rental business in London and why he raised VC funding
  • Why he moved back to Adelaide and started a SaaS business from there
  • Why he didn’t raise any VC funding with Sine, his second software business
  • How they grew fast without expensive marketing and with a smaller efficient engineering team
  • Why he decided to sell the company to Honeywell–and why they wanted to buy it

Quote from Antony Ceravolo, Founder of Sine

“It was important to me in my second company not to have to deal with all the time and energy focused on board meetings with outside investors. It allowed me to spend 110% of my energy and time with my customers and with my team instead of spending a week or two weeks every month preparing a board pack.

“Even though I used to be an investment banker and my first company was VC-backed, I had done that before and I was over having investors. I was done with that world. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to have theatrically based board meetings via Zoom or in person.

“It was one of the secrets to the Sine growth story. I was a much happier person spending time with my customers, going and meeting them if I had to, because I wasn’t labored with investors’ issues and board reporting packs.”



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on February 2, 2024 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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