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.
The Lifeboat Exit
In 2017, John Whiting started Digital Kryptonite with the goal of providing business owners with more leads. Helping his clients mine LinkedIn, Whiting quickly grew his company from zero to seven figures within a year. The company saw massive growth month-over-month when suddenly Whiting received a message from his credit card processor that his account was being shut down.
Although 98% of Whiting’s customers were happy, 2% were not, which led to a greater dispute rate than Stripe allowed. This ultimately led to Whiting being placed on the Match List, which inhibited his ability to process payments. Suddenly, the seven-figure business Whiting had built was in jeopardy.
With little faith left, John received an email from a friend asking to buy his company. In his own words, it was a “lifeboat,” and Whiting jumped on with both feet.
Getting Out Quick And Clean
Nathaniel Broughton grew Spread Effect to a $4 million company in only four years — so why would he sell for a rock bottom multiple?
The Shotgun Breakup
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.
The Biggest Mistake Co-Founders Make, and 3 Other Lessons
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.
Scaling Your Business through Strategic Partnerships with Simon Penson
In 2009 Simon Penson founded Zazzle Media, one of the first content marketing agencies in the U.K. Although the company was successful, Penson had difficulties winning large customer contracts due to the size of his agency.
To enhance his credibility, in 2015 he decided to merge Zazzle Media with Stickyeyes, which, at the time, formed the largest content marketing agency in the U.K.
Penson’s decision proved to be savvy.
Libsyn’s Acquisition of AdvertiseCast: The Tell-All
In 2016 Trevr Smithlin and Dave Hanley founded AdvertiseCast, a marketplace connecting podcasters with advertisers. The company experienced tremendous growth, doubling revenue year-over-year until 2020. That’s when the uncertainty triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic caused Smithlin and Hanley to consider their strategic options.
In March 2021, Smithlin and Hanley signed an acquisition agreement from Libsyn for $30 million.
Why Candy Banners Sold for a Mint
In 2014 Tim Grassin founded Candy Banners, which designs ads that show up along the top, bottom, and sides of a website.
Grassin built a remote team in the Philippines to minimize his costs. Hiring inexpensive developers allowed Grassin to charge lower rates to agency owners, resulting in rapid growth.
The business had grown to over seven figures in revenue in 2020 when Grassin received an acquisition offer from one of his clients, Native Touch. The offer valued Candy Banners at around five times EBITDA, and the deal closed in 2021.
Why The Fine Print In Your Acquisition Offer Matters
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.
The 8-figure Expert
Imagine turning your expertise into an 8-figure exit. That’s exactly what Sue Bryce did. Bryce built a $1 million photography studio in an industry where owners are often limited to low six-figure businesses that are dependent on them.
Why “Off-Boarding” Is an Essential Ingredient in Building to Sell
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.
Raising Money? Avoid This Sleazy Investor’s Trap
Barry Hinckley founded Bullhorn with his two partners. They raised three rounds of financing and went on to sell for $135MM in 2012. Hinckley and his team raised money from family, friends, and venture capitalists and have the scars to prove it.