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Exit or Stay?

Next Wednesday night we’re having a discussion about exit or stay. I’m hosting it and the fire-side, audience included chat is with Mike Cannon-Brookes and Stu Fox. Mike tweeted some pre-reading which is really worth it. http://recode.net/2014/01/13/great-companies-dont-have-an-exit-strategy/ The point of the article is that if you really love your customers and really want to build a big company that changes the world then you don’t ever want to leave it. It’s like having a pre-nup for a marriage, you’re setting up to leave. So Stu Fox is taking the role of the ‘vulture’ capitalist, saying “Sell, sell, sell!!!”. OK, no, he’s not doing that at all. The reason I asked Stu to join us in this chat is because he made some great points about how exits can be good for the entrepreneur and also good for the ecosystem.¬†From my chat with Stu, here are my thoughts on why an exit can be the right thing to do; Change. Your circumstances may change, the customers may change, the market may change. Any of these may mean that the original vision and the passion to build towards it is no longer strong enough to sustain you. In this situation it may be best to sell the business and find a new […]

No Exit Strategy

There was a dinner last night of a bunch of great tech entrepreneurs last night and as hoped the conversations got quite fiery with a big topic being how do Australians approach exit strategy. I’ll get to that in a second, but I wanted to first share an amazing moment that happened at 11.30pm. There was only six of us left at that point – Matt Dickinson, David Kowalski, Oliver Palmer, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Dean McEvoy and me. Oliver said, as a closer to the event “Well, let me know if I can help you guys with anything in Singapore. Immediately Matt, Dean and Mike said “What about Tutor On Demand?” which is a company that went through Startmate which a few of us indirectly have tiny fractions of equity. Their first thought was how they could help someone else. That really typified the attitude that makes this industry great to be a part of. So, back to exit strategies. We were all throwing our 2 cents in about how we can help grow the ecosystem and the conversation went a bit like this. A: “ESOP and lack of Series A is really hurting us.” B: “Yeah, I don’t like that excuse. We’d have more capital if we had more founders […]