In my last post I told you about the origins of TwitJump. I also started to get into some of the exciting things that happened shortly after launch.
That was only the beginning!
I previously mentioned that as things started to progress, I doubled down. This meant more money invested, more developer hours used, more customers signing up and thankfully, more revenue and profit. The model was working, the ideas and comments kept coming in, and the customer count increased more and more each day. We now had thousands of business customers from all over the world. We continued to do no advertising of any kind – but customer count grew rapidly nonetheless. The trends were certainly encouraging. The combination of a customer built product with low operating costs and high growth made for a business that was becoming more and more attractive to industry insiders who were watching what I was doing.
I was anxious to take TwitJump to the next level. While I had some good ideas for it, I decided from day one that I wasn’t going to be the one to really try to push things into a big business. While I love Twitter and find great utility in it, I didn’t want to work on TwitJump full-time. I often joked it was an expensive and profitable hobby that was quickly becoming a serious business. I started meeting with a lot of talented people about buying and/or running TwitJump. The list of people I was talking to was very flattering – TJ had some good momentum and it was being noticed. Things were progressing nicely and then the “TechCrunch Effect” happened.
I’ll never forget being in a meeting and getting an email from a friend saying “hey, nice article on TechCrunch, that’s awesome!”. I had no idea what he was talking about as I knew no one at TechCrunch and I had not been contacted by them. I should note also that earlier that same day I received a term sheet out of the blue to acquire TwitJump. I thought it was a bit odd to suddenly receive the term sheet, but after reading the article, it became clear to me why. TwitJump was now a publicly known ‘hot commodity’. Here is a link to the article (we are listed in #4):
Within a few days I received emails and phone calls from some big companies outside of Utah. I also sped up talks with the current ones I was already negotiating with. Things were a bit crazy, but really fun. I felt (and feel) very fortunate to have had such quality companies and people expressing real interest in acquiring TwitJump. Some of the offers included more cash than others. Some included more stock. Some included me moving. Some included me continuing to help with TwitJump, some did not. As it came time to act on this great momentum that TwitJump was receiving, I had immense clarity on what was the right fit for TwitJump and for me. Since TwitJump had no employees, no investors and no office, it really was all about what was best for TwitJump and Alex.
I’ve never had such autonomy when selling a business before, so it was a different angle to view selling from.
As the title of my blog states, I am an entrepreneur. I love other entrepreneurs. I like to be around them. I like to talk to them. I like to work with them. I like to help them. It’s in my DNA. It’s a core part of my personality and a true passion, plain and simple. So when Lendio (formerly FundingUniverse) put together an offer that included me becoming a founding partner in the Company and a member of the Board of Directors, it was the absolute perfect fit. It didn’t hurt that Lendio was doubling revenues and profits every quarter and that I believed we’d launch a new product that would catapult us into a national business. Having the opportunity to take a key leadership role as we built the Lendio SaaS platform was much more exciting to me than any other offer. I also got to stay in Utah, which I learned was something I would not budge on.
The timing and fit were ideal, so to the surprise of many I chose Lendio over the other more ‘well known’ suitors. One important note – I’m not a philanthropist, the Lendio offer was competitive economically and otherwise. We had a MONSTER year in 2009. 2010 promptly blew away 2009 and 2011 is killing it again; all of which helps me confirm further that I made the right personal and financial decision. Here is the press release about the deal, as well as a nice follow-up article from TechCrunch:
So TwitJump went from an idea to sold in about 6 months. I certainly have had businesses fail in that period of time, but never succeed in that short amount of time. I learned a lot from this experience, and I hope that the account above has been useful to some of you. I welcome your comments or questions.