Call Me A Cheerleader Then

Its Day 2 after the Digitalsmiths announcement yesterday regarding their acquisition by Tivo and I am excited.  I am not sure how anyone in this region could not be.

Ben Weinberger and team have a great back story that serves as a great case study for any area.  Its your classic feel good story; do startup, raise a little money, get some customers, build out some technology, get some more money, get some more customers, add some smart people, sell the company to a big name.  Just not sure who i going to play Ben in the movie.

Except  the time they had 1 or 2 payrolls left in the bank.  I love to throw cliches around and one of my favorites is, “you are not a real startup founder until you have to cover a payroll out of your pocket”.

Or that this journey took more than 15 years.  If you know Ben you would guess that he started this when he was 15 the way he looks so young.

Point is that this is a grind.  Probably even harder from here and operating in the media business.  But they made it happen and huge kudos and applause from my seat.

Oh, by the way, here is the recent scorecard:

  • 2010 Sep – SciQuest IPO ($622m Market Cap)
  • 2011 Oct – Sharefile acquired for $54M
  • 2012 Feb – iContact acquired for $169M
  • 2013 May – Channel Advisor IPO ($994M Market Cap)
  • 2014 Jan – Digitalsmiths acquired $135M

Not sure but this run looks pretty good.  Who is next?

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

2 comments On Call Me A Cheerleader Then

  • Chris my friend, you are spot on! Ben et al did an awesome job against the odds and there is a lot less glamour in startups than the average person probably believes. But there is incredible opportunity to make big differences!

    Check out this piece I wrote a couple years back which supports your points even more by invoking one of my favorite inspiration leaders, Shackleton … :)

    http://blog.cednc.org/2011/02/startup-mission-is-to-thrive-but.html

  • Very nice list of both M&A and IPO.

    How much of this exit money, which remained in the hands of the employees of these Exit companies was reinvested by these entrepreneurs in other startups in the Triangle ? I am not talking about how much of the exit money that went to investment bankers or lawyers or any other third party – only the amount of exit $$ that was returned to the entrepreneurs in the Triangle.

    I ask this because this is a very strong indicator of the health and vibrancy of a startup community. This form of re-investment also strengthens the expertise of those of both invest and mentor new startups.

    This would be good information to know

    Elliott

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