Hi, I’m Andrew Gazdecki.
I’m an entrepreneur, mentor, and the founder of Acquire.
Owning a profitable business is every entrepreneur’s dream. Once you smash that goal, it’s tempting to believe there’s no limit to your success. Statistically, however, only 1% of startups become unicorns, and selling is often the best move for your career.
In 2017, I sold my biggest company to a private equity firm. It was a long, complex, and expensive process that took me away from what I loved most – running my business. But would I do it again? Absolutely.
Successful entrepreneurship is recognizing your limits and selling while the going is good. I sold Bizness Apps because I’d taken it as far as I could. If I’d waited, I might never have found a buyer at all, leaving me stuck in an entrepreneurial dead end.
I was fortunate enough to run a multi-million-dollar business with the clout to attract the right conversations. But the same isn’t true for everyone. A five-figure SaaS business deserves the same chance, but rarely commands enough attention.
So I decided to help other founders – no matter how small their business – build the right relationships to take their entrepreneurial career to the next level.
The result is Acquire.
Being an entrepreneur is hard
Being an entrepreneur is tough, full of ups and downs. The highs make you feel unstoppable and the lows leave you winded and despondent. It’s this rollercoaster of emotions that blinds us to new opportunities, and often, our failures.
The odds are stacked against you from the start. For every 100 startups, only 10 succeed. Worse, only one ever reaches that billion-dollar valuation – the fabled “unicorn” status so many entrepreneurs crave.
Would you invest in anything with a 99% chance of failure? I didn’t think so. And yet, many founders are anxiously awaiting that breakout moment, ignoring the existing qualities of their business and the advantages of a life-changing sale.
Not every company needs to become a unicorn
Few founders become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Brian Chesky. Not everyone has the luck, genius, or inspiration that leads to a global phenomenon – nor do they need it. For many people, it’s enough to just be your own boss and earn a decent living.
Money doesn’t influence our happiness as much as we might think. According to a study by economist-psychologist duo Deaton and Kahneman, our everyday contentedness plateaus after earning $75,000 per year. Therefore, selling your business for $1M or even a few hundred thousand can set you up for years, leaving you to pursue other challenges.
A wise investor plays the long game, building upon smaller wins to multiply their chances of success. A wise entrepreneur should do the same. Why risk everything on the minuscule chance you’ll become a billion-dollar business when you’re already at a million? Sell and start something new – do what you do best: entrepreneurship.
Celebrating small but life-changing acquisitions
Humans are drawn to extremes. We love hearing about billion-dollar successes, and perhaps guiltily, those unfortunate businesses that never take off. Those in the middle are usually left out.
My company Bizness Apps was somewhere in the middle. We had over a hundred employees, tens of millions in revenue, and thousands of happy customers all across the globe. But we never raised millions of dollars nor did I sell the company for hundreds of millions.
There are a lot of companies you just never hear about. Those built by smart entrepreneurs who serve happy customers. They’re either growing, profitable, or both. And they own a slice of a niche that keeps them afloat.
When Bizness Apps was Acquired in 2018 by a PE firm, it was a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, I’d successfully bootstrapped my company to a life-changing acquisition. On the other, I’d sold something that took years of blood, sweat, and tears to build. Do I have any regrets? Far from it.
Since the acquisition of Bizness Apps, I’ve been able to take some time off and enjoy life. I’ve been able to travel and help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I also founded a blockchain trading company called Altcoin.io which was Acquired by global investment firm BnkToTheFuture.
Always at the back of my mind, however, was how I could help other founders make the same successful exits as my own. This led me to create Acquire, an online marketplace where startups and buyers can meet.
Our goal is to get you talking with interested buyers
Once the money runs out, growth plateaus, or you meet some other obstacle, whom do you turn to next? Your entrepreneurial freedom is on the line whenever you seek outside help. Once you take money, you’re answerable to investors and board-members who care more about their returns than the hard work you’ve put in over the years.
Your love for your business and your desire to succeed will often conflict. Once you’ve poured your heart into something, it becomes a part of you. Eventually, the idea of selling becomes more like selling out instead of doing what’s right for your future.
But becoming too attached to your business hinders your career. Nothing burns through capital like overoptimism, and it blinds you to the benefits of a sale. Being Acquired is a sign of success, after all, and a vital stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Acquire helps startups find potential Acquirers. Simple as that. We’ll connect you with the right people to start those conversations at your own pace, without costly middlemen taking a bite out of your pie.
Acquisition made easy
Founders sell for many reasons:
- To become part of something bigger.
- To move on to something new.
- The business is running low on money.
- Growth has plateaued.
- They need outside expertise.
- It’s a side project consuming too much time, money, and effort.
But selling your business is usually a long and frustrating experience, full of stops and starts, hard-nosed negotiation, and emotional flare-ups. It’s like going on a string of bad dates until you finally find a match, and even then, there’s no guarantee the relationship will go the distance.
Hiring an investment bank is expensive, due diligence takes months, and even if you do everything right, you still might not get Acquired. I don’t think this is fair, and worse, it might be hindering a whole generation of entrepreneurs from moving forward in their careers.
Acquire removes the complication and frustration of the acquisition process by connecting startups and Acquirers in a single marketplace. With both parties fully vetted, the challenge won’t be in having the right conversations, but choosing which ones to pursue.
Why list your company on Acquire?
Imagine starting over knowing what you know now. Founders make thousands of mistakes in their career, but few have the opportunity to put what they’ve learned into practice. They’re beholden to investors, employees, partners, board members, and their own families, so selling feels like a betrayal, a failure, when in fact, it’s leveling up.
If entrepreneurship was a game, selling your first business is completing level one. You’re now tougher, smarter, and more experienced. You then apply what you’ve learned to your next business (level two) and repeat the process, getting better and better each time, until you’ve built a business empire Warren Buffet would be proud of.
After all, hedging against risk is fundamental. You can’t predict the future, so you need to diversify. Rather than putting all your time, money, and energy into one company, you should spread risk across several, increasing your chances of success.
Start by acquiring small but healthy businesses. A micro-SaaS startup, for example, with low overheads and profitable margins. The advantage of buying smaller companies is you can buy more of them. Then use your expertise to help them grow and multiply the return on your investment.
Acquire lists startups with $5,000,000 ARR or less. Usually SaaS businesses with great products that need a little help to bloom. You can review these businesses and talk to their founders to establish the right fit. This makes the acquisition process fast and easy for both of you.
Acquire serves the evolving nature of modern entrepreneurship. We should celebrate the rise of startups, but recognize that many don’t reach their potential. There are limits to what one person or even one team can do – and that’s where Acquire can help.