Tagged: business

Last Minute Offer!

Unbelievable. I woke up yesterday morning with the mother of all hangovers having decided to drown my sorrows late into the night.

Yesterday was to be the very last day. I was planning to call an end to everything at 6pm. But we had 1 last meeting planned with a company we had met a couple of weeks prior.

I told my colleague how hungover I was. I was dying. I told him in advance that ironically, I had pulled off some other notable deals in my life hungover. Perhaps it would happen again. Hah. I’m not saying thats a great strategy for raising funds by the way.. just happens to be true.

So we went into this meeting at 10.30am. The alcohol still running through my head… more than likely dripping out of my pores. I felt physical pain… But this was the last meeting I was to ever have on this crazy startup that never wants to die. So I gave it my all. A full on, impassioned, emotional spiel. My defenses were down, but I had nothing to lose. “This is what it is, are you interested?”

On the spot they made an offer to pay off our existing investors, and crucially to fund the company to the level I want for the next couple of years.

Unbelievable, considering.

The fact is that nobody gets rich here, this is not a Snapchat acquisition, but what this is is a deal, survival, security and a future. Personally and for the entity.

Obviously nothing has been signed yet, anything can fall through… but thats where we are.

The show goes on. Hopefully.

Will keep you posted.

John Startup

Day 28 of 30: Reflections

1.49pm. Met up with an old friend I used to live with. She lived through a lot of the trials and tribulations. I gave her the whole picture. Pretty much all you’ve read here… but LIVE! It’s more entertaining.

My ‘startup’ has actually been around a long time. 8 years to be honest. It was never created with business in mind, but it just kept on growing in a bizarre organic way with me nudging it uphill. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always felt there was a business here, but its been a very slow process. I have refused to take no for an answer and constantly refused to let it die. I have been stubborn as hell in getting it to this point.

So when I told my friend that I had this impending deadline to save the day, she began reminiscing on the amount of times I had said the same thing. She reminded me of all the times I said… “that’s it, I’m giving up”… but then plowed on regardless.

She also reminded me of all the funny times over the last 8 years, the women that have broken my heart, the despairing times, and all the achievements too. She asked me how I summated it…

There is a story here. A story onto itself. The problem is that not many other people in the world really grasp it in full apart from me. Some people have parts of the tale. Others have chunks of it. But nobody has the full view of it like I do. Our current investors certainly don’t understand the passion and energy behind it all. Nor should they. I don’t think.

I told her that when you get to this level, a level where I’m meeting the biggest people in the room… I only have time to give them a very high overview, and in truth that never does the story justice. The emotion and energy is removed from it somehow.

I told her that I did understand what had been achieved, but at this point, it is where it is, and this really could be the end of the line. 

I really want to be able to summate things properly, to have good perspective on it, and to pull the story together correctly when all is said and done. But right now… its tricky.

It’s not over yet. Tuesday is D-Day in terms of bridge round possibility which would represent yet another life line on this crazy adventure. 

Will the story go on? We will know very very soon.

John Startup

Day 15 of 45: Rejection

7.46am. Jet lagged. Have been on the road for a couple of days. Will fill in the blanks latter perhaps. Had planned on doing that now, but just got an email of rejection in my inbox from the guy and industry juggernaut I offered to sell the company to last week.

“we can’t complete a purchase of this type right now as we are etc etc etc”

All I can say is fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck…bummer…gut kicked… ugh… ahhh

Please forgive my language.

It’s a bit like a girl saying she’s just not that into you. It so hard to take.

This was clearly the best show in town, and could not avoid spending much of the last week thinking about the future possibilities. I was going to put a down payment on a small house. I was going to give some kick back to important people. Everybody was going to be happy. I was going to get a personal trainer.

Shaking my head.

So the questions are – Did we offer the company at a price that was too high? A couple of our investors had advised to ask for a highish price that my gut told me was too high. A couple of advisors told me to go low, and get out of jail. In the end I think we went mid – high. It could have been a factor. It’s hard to tell.

Did I jinx it somehow? I’m not one for superstitions, but did I tell too many friends? Did I write about it too much? I know this is nonsense… but you do think about that. Does putting out information on any level cause a train reaction of energy that comes full circle in the form of a big NO.

Nevertheless I wrote back to this guy with an email that stated how he needed to view it. Beating a dead horse? Perhaps. They say you can never make a girl fall in love with you. Is the same true in business?

Ok, off to another meeting. Blanks to be filled in later.

John Startup

 

Day 13 of 45: Smug and Soulless VCs

10.04am. I can’t believe I have made an offer to sell the company. I have worked on this for 8 years! Selling it is a big deal. I’m not sure it’s even a good idea. Perhaps I’d rather go broke and it should wind down than sell it on.

On the other hand, maybe this is just a natural development. Like a child growing up and leaving home. 

We finally came to a valuation price that is a bit high, but fuck it. Let’s see what they say. If they said yes… it would be incredible (realizing I’m contradicting myself already). But they could easily say no. They might not even be interested. Time will tell, and we’ll know very soon.

– 

On Friday we had another presentation with a huge global fund. I was told by my side kick that it was my best presentation to date. I was very aggressive. I spoke the company up on every level. I had an answer for everything.

But these guys were smug. It annoyed me. 

Firstly, they came along late. I hate that. No excuse not to be punctual. It’s just rude.

Secondly the whole time I was making my wizzy Prezi presentation, the main guy we were speaking to, spent most of his time with his head down tapping on his IPad. 

We had a pretty good idea these guys were not interested before we went in and hence why I was aggressive in my presentation style.  I wanted to grab their attention. But even still, they could have been polite, showed interest for 20 minutes, and made a suggestion or two to us. 

One thing I’ve learned in recent years, is that whenever anyone shows you something, or comes looking for advice – be nice to them, give them your thoughts. Give suggestions. Perhaps even suggest another person for them to meet. It’s good karma.

But these people were utterly soulless and smug. I feel sorry for them. Who needs money which such attitudes?

Big week on the cards.

John Startup

Day 10 of 45: The Big Meeting

11.42pm. Today was the day of my big meeting with an industry legend from one of the most well recognized companies in the world. In my field this is a man to meet. This is a man I would welcome as an investor. 

Ok, let me back track a bit and put this into honest context. The company in question has been a juggernaut over the last 30/40 years. In more recent times it has lost quite a bit of its relevance and luster as it has pursued more lucrative paths. Despite that, it is probably more successful now that it ever was before. It’s a bit paradoxical.

There might have been plenty of times in the past few years when the idea of selling out to this company would have been seen as very uncool; a bit like selling your soul to the devil. This un-named company has gone from being important, to being the epitome of commercialistic greed.

But as my time is running out, and I look around, there are not many other companies that represent such a good fit. I think we could give them a good amount of credibility. And through them, our profile and opportunities would be lifted immeasurably. Most pressing, we need their capital to survive. 

Prior to the meeting today, I had a call with some other advisors on how best to conduct it. There is talk that we could be a good low cost acquisition for this goliath. I would not be against that right now, but what was I supposed to say? “Here’s my company. It’s cool. Do you want to buy it?”. That’s not standard operating procedure. You can’t look needy. You can’t look desperate. You need to be like Frost, coaxing an apology out of Nixon. (I don’t know where these analogies come from). But we have the pressure of a ticking watch here…. we are getting desperate!

Anyway, meeting time came about. We checked in at the front desk. We showed our IDs, got a sticker and up we went to the 35th floor. The space was open, and shiny, and bright, and colorful.

We were asked to wait in reception. As my colleague sat down, I walked back and forth surveying the pictures on the wall. I tried to take them in, but lets face it… I was nervy.

Finally we were invited into the main mans office. What a view!

The meeting went well. He asked lots of questions. We got on fine. I always try be relaxed and humorous… striking a good balance is important, but tough. Sometimes I try to go for the jugular too much. Throwing out different selling points when I feel one is not enough.

He seemed genuinely interested. But he had a demeanor that is hard to read. That probably explains why he’s in his job.

The meeting ended with him stating, “Write me a one pager on what your looking for, and how we could work together.”

And so that was that. 

The moment we left, myself and my colleague started dissecting. I felt it went ok. 3 out of 5. My colleague said I should write back to him and offer him the company for a million bucks. I said we’d need 4 million. He said not a chance. We’re not worth it.

When we got back to the office, I called our current investor to tell him how the meeting went and for advice. “I need to know when asked what the valuation on the company is… what’s the exact amount I am asking for?”

“5 to 10 million I think” he responded.

Bloody hell. 30 days to go. It will be some month if that happens.

I need sleep.

John Startup