How I Got Acquire’d: Build Small Startups to Fund Bigger Exits, Says Founder of Untapped and LetsPost

At just 20 years old, Muhammad Taimoor Hassan puts most serial entrepreneurs to shame. 

He’s built ten small businesses and sold four of them on Acquire. While comparatively small exits, they’ve helped Muhammad fund larger projects without outside capital, a strategy he believes every bootstrapper should adopt if they want to scale their efforts fast. 

Muhammad’s roadmap almost guarantees a life-changing acquisition in as little as two years, he argues. First, he’ll build 10 “low-tier” projects to fund 10 “high-tier” projects. As he graduates to bigger projects, he hopes at least one will result in a six or seven-figure exit.  

Untapped and LetsPost were two of Muhammad’s low-tier projects, now Acquire’d. While the proceeds narrowly missed five figures, the funds compounded with recurring revenue from his other businesses to seed larger ventures. He’s his own angel investor, you might say.

“I’ve created a simple roadmap for my next one and half years,” Muhammad said. “I’m building ten small projects that I’ll sell to finance ten larger projects that I’ll scale. Untapped and LetsPost were two small projects doing around $250 MRR that I sold within a week of listing.” 

If you’re reading this thinking smaller exits aren’t worth their time, think again. Instead of chasing unicorn ideas or bullish investors, Muhammad is learning how to build startups that sell quickly across multiple industries. The acquisition experience alone could be priceless in the future.

Yes, you could take an MBA or spend years building a product you think has mass market appeal. But would you learn as much in the classroom as you would building and selling twenty profitable yet smaller businesses? For Muhammad, that answer is a resounding no.

Everything has already been done, he argues. You just have to figure out how to do it better. Search every forum and review site. Follow every influencer.  Build your MVPs. When the feedback loop starts spinning, back the project that’s likeliest to result in a life-changing exit.  

Starting a Creative Agency at…Twelve?

Muhammad was born in Pakistan to a family of entrepreneurs. He watched his father transcend the daily grind that shackled so many working families and wanted to emulate him. At just 12 years old, Muhammad earned his first ten dollars designing a logo for an early-stage startup. 

That might not sound like much, but for a child in Pakistan, it was a fortune. Even at today’s prices, ten dollars (roughly 2,000 rupees) buys you a three-course meal for two at an upmarket restaurant in Lahore1. Muhammad had struck gold – and he was hooked.

“In my early teens, I started contracting for early-stage startups,” Muhammad said. “I’d design logos, do social media marketing, SEO, and other marketing tasks. Then in 2016, while still in high school, I ran ads on news websites, generating lots of revenue from Google ads.”

During his first semester at the FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Muhammad applied for the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a competition for student developers with cash prizes and mentorship opportunities. He won the nationals, beating thousands of other Pakistani students to become a world finalist.

Although he didn’t win the global competition, Muhammad credits the event for sharpening his skill set and approach. The Imagine Cup had taught him that nothing works without a plan, so if he were to succeed and make his parents proud, he needed a product roadmap. 

“I built all kinds of things: AI, marketplaces, Web3 projects, Notion templates, and lots more,” Muhammad said. “I’d go niche, learn everything I could, and then switch to a new niche. The more exposure I got, the more products I could make, so I evolved quickly as an entrepreneur.”

Where to Find the Best Business Ideas

Muhammad’s smaller projects are exercises in iteration. He builds software that has a qualitative advantage over existing businesses. Rather than sit on his hands waiting for the perfect startup idea, he scours the web to find popular apps that are missing something. 

“Nothing is unique,” Muhammad said. “But rather than clone what’s already out there, you have to offer something that current vendors don’t. You can’t do that unless you know what’s trending and what’s considered the best of the best in the market.

“I followed every SaaS, marketplace, and resources leader. I searched ProductHunt and IndieHackers. I even went onto Acquire to see what was selling and popular. Then I noted every hot trend and industry and tried to create something valuable to users.” 

While researching, Muhammad realized other entrepreneurs might be interested in his findings. He’d filled notepads with links, apps, leaders, and influencers, a hand-curated selection of the best entrepreneurial resources on the web. If he organized the data, someone might pay for it. 

“I built Untapped and LetsPost when I realized all the materials I’d gathered had value,” Muhammad said. “I simply organized it into a database and added functionality. Then people could sign up to access this constantly expanding resource for a monthly fee.”

People did sign up, but not in massive numbers. Muhammad couldn’t dedicate all of his time and resources to growing these startups without contradicting the goals of his product roadmap. Instead, he decided to sell them. But where?

While researching leading entrepreneurs and influencers, Muhammad found and followed Andrew Gazdecki’s Twitter account, and later, discovered Acquire. “It was like no other startup marketplace that I’d seen before,” Muhammad said.

Finding a Home for Them Once Built

Muhammad wanted to level up his experience with every startup he built. That meant finding a home for small projects where he could use the acquisition proceeds to fund bigger swings. But none of the startup acquisition marketplaces he’d used before left him satisfied. 

“Those Flippa-type sites look outdated,” Muhammad said. “They’re full of people selling very low-tier projects like logos, domains, and things like that. It’s a bit spammy. But I thought Acquire had a very clean UI, easy onboarding, and a very helpful founder.”

Muhammad delved deeper. He read tweets from other founders and reviews of the listing experience. Everything pointed to Acquire being the best marketplace for selling Untapped and LetsPost. And he was right: Within just five days of listing his businesses, he sold them.

“I got fifteen requests in twenty-four hours of listing,” Muhammad said. “After five days, I met a buyer in the UK who was in a relevant industry and wanted the resources. We got on the phone and within an hour of our discussion, she Acquired the businesses at the price I wanted.”

Muhammad had spent hours vetting his potential buyers’ LinkedIn profiles to ensure whoever bought the businesses wouldn’t scrap them the moment they changed hands. 

“I got requests from people in ecommerce, design, and others,” Muhammad said. “But I needed to ensure the buyer knew what to do with what I’d built. Otherwise, it would fail and it wouldn’t be a good end to my project or a happy acquisition for the buyer.”

The woman who Acquired Untapped and LetsPost was a young entrepreneur like Muhammad. They bonded over their startup experiences, and Muhammad shared every scaling idea he’d ever had for his projects. That was enough for the buyer to agree to his asking price. 

“Whenever I create a side project, I build it a three-year roadmap,” Muhammad said. “I explained to the buyer what marketing tactics she could use, what additional functionality she could build, what other technologies to embed, and how much she could charge.”

Muhammad has always been frugal with his plans, preferring to think his way out of problems rather than throw money at them. Demonstrating how he’d bootstrap further growth helped seal the deal and the acquisitions closed. 

The Challenge of International Acquisitions in Pakistan

While Muhammad stresses that the acquisition process was smooth, transferring the funds was less so. PayPal and other escrow services don’t operate in Pakistan. Because the buyer was paying in USD, Muhammad had to open an account in the US. 

“I’d already registered another company in the US,” Muhammad said, “so I managed to open a bank account with Mercury. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to receive an international transfer. We don’t have international banks here, which makes selling abroad difficult.”

With the funds in his account, Muhammad is now looking to the future. He’s building an edtech startup in Pakistan and has even started a cosmetic line. 

Muhammad urges other entrepreneurs to “create a roadmap and stick to it.” You’ll always find reasons to give up, but persistence in the face of uncertainty is what separates the winners and the losers. 

“Everything is difficult,” Muhammad said. “Just choose your difficulty and finish what you start. Societal and personality pressures or internal fantasies can all get in the way of your work, tempting you to stop. But if you finish, even if it’s not successful, you’ll have learned so much that you can apply to your next venture. ” 

Muhammad’s advice is a klaxon to any armchair entrepreneurs whose greatest achievements happen in their heads. If you want success, Muhammad argues, don’t expect fortune to give it to you. Formulate a plan and execute it.

Sources

1https://wise.com/us/blog/cost-of-living-in-pakistan


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