On Wednesday, 4/18, a few local tech entrepreneurs spoke at the 6Degrees Breakfast Speakers series on digital startups and innovation here in San Diego. Pleased to be with great entrepreneurs including the guys from Classy.org and Mia Tidwell, San Diego Dating Coach and Matchmaker.
Moderator: One final question, not that it’s in the near future, I would assume, because, just the passion that you all have put forward here, and I don’t want necessarily hardcore specifics on this. What’s your exit plan? Where does this go, and when do we move on to something else or deal with a change of life or whatever, alright we’ll start with you.
Scot Chisholm: I mean we definitely have though about that certainly in the context of investor discussions.
But more honestly we don’t put a whole lot of time thinking about what is our exit strategy. We focus much more on how we build a scalable and value adding company to our customers and trust that there will be an exit eventually, whether that’s being purchased by someone that may find use of our technology, or customer base source, or its IPO, or whatever it is.
We trust ourselves with that opportunity and the option’s on the table eventually. Right now what’s much more important for us is just keep our heads down and focus on our customer base and making sure that they’re getting value on their product.
Mitch Thrower: Having gone through different liquidity scenarios, Active went public of course this year.
And going through building a new company, I will definitely say that a private liquidity event would seem a little bit more appealing. But the structure that you should think about as an entrepreneur or a business owner is to think build the best business for creating the most revenue with the greatest margin that you can and liquidity events will come.
We actually had an offer for…And, it’s not, a liquidity event isn’t always selling 100% of your venture. A liquidity event could be defined as like change of control of more than 50%. Because technically you’re no longer driving. And so, you know, be aware of those dynamics too because that is also a sort of liquidity event.
Steven Cox: I think there are two or three reasons why you would consider selling early. Number one is there’s an 800 pound gorilla about to eat your lunch. That’s a good time to sell. Number two, you’re burned out and you don’t want to do it any longer, or number three, you can’t get the value proposition right for the customer and at that point you need to decide kill it or or do something else or keep going on.
But so those are kind of the avenues that we.. [break] because we are having a tank load of fun building a business. And we have two big goals. One is we want to a billion dollar business and number 2, we want to be one of America’s top 100 companies to work for. That’s our big big goals and with that you know we’re more interested in an acquiring instead of being acquired.
Jimmy Hendricks: Yeah, I guess we’re all in different stages of picking up an exit. Like I said Steven there’s two ways to exit, exit for money or exit for a job. So that, you know, so, we focus on building business that’s sustainable. It’s all you think about, is thinking about value-representation.
If you can build a model that works, some of them find value in that. Or we can atleast sustains ourselves and hire employees we love and make a good living or if we don’t figure that out we’re forced to get a job. You know one’s positive, one’s negative but if we focus one what we should be focused on, which is building a business, it will work out.
Lars Helgeson: Yeah, I have to say that we really aren’t interested in that exit. I look back at that table back there at the people that work in our company and I see some of the most incredible people I’ve met in my life. And I feel very fortunate to have met them and have them be part of our team. And to me, the idea of leaving the vision that we’ve collectively created… It would be, I don’t know, kind a sad, you know because you put so much of your life and energy in and exiting is usually if you’re failing and you feel like well it’s not going to work and you have to get a job that’s kind of out of necessity but if you exit for money I guess everyone’s different.
Yeah, I mean, some people are very motivated by that, you know, maybe the idea of making a lot of money and starting something new is an attractive thing. To me, I guess our vision has been to create really valuable software that can help any size business be successful. And if we can do that for the rest of my lifetime, I’m fulfilled.I guess it just depends on, depends on what your personal goals are.
For us, I feel like you know, we are creating value. I’ve surrounded…you know, our team is made up of some really amazing people and I would not want to lose that.
Moderator: Well said. What a fantastic panel, aren’t these guys incredible?