Startup Acquisition Stories w/ Kieran Parker – Founder of Heeed

Kieran found the right buyer for his company Simple Kits through Acquire. Hear him share his experience of selling a company on Acquire.

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Transcription

Andrew Gazdecki:

All right. I am super excited to have Kieran, the Founder of Simplekits here with me today who recently got Acquire’d. Kieran, thanks for joining the podcast with me.

Kieran Parker:

Yeah, yeah. It’s good to be here.

Andrew Gazdecki:

So, before we dive into stuff for those that are listening, do you want to maybe give an overview of what Simplekits does?

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. So, Simplekits is essentially a design system, UI kit. They’re quite popular at the moment. So, the unique selling point of Simplekits was essentially to just be as simple as possible. We can dive a little bit more into the issues with design systems as we go on. But essentially, I like to think about it as the lego blocks of UI kits for design systems.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Very nice. And so, you listed on Acquire, and I assume you had quite a few buyers reach out. Is that correct?

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. I think I was getting… I actually listed it twice. I think I listed it, took it off because I was a bit disheartened and I listed it again. I had a lot of people interested. I think there was some confusion. Maybe it was on my behalf as to what it was. A lot of people were asking me and when I was like, “Oh, it’s a design system file that you sell to typically designers or indie makers. They would maybe lose interest most of the time. So yeah, I got a lot of people messaging me asking me loads of questions and it turns out, I think I had it listed for four months or something and was just passively getting messages.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. And how did you end up finding the buyer that eventually Acquired the business?

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. So, he actually messaged me on Acquire, and I didn’t notice that I had a message from him. So he emailed me because he was quite eager to learn more about it. So he dropped me an email saying, “Hey, I messaged you on Acquire. Haven’t heard anything back, so I wanted to get in touch by email. Interested, tell me more, sort of thing.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. And so, at that point, I assume you start negotiating how this acquisition is going to work out. What’s some of the learnings that you gained going through this acquisition process on Acquire?

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. I think the main thing for me was transparency both from my end and the other person’s end. You want that sort of gut feeling, right? That they’re not trying to hide anything. They’re not going to… Especially as a seller, my concern was, they get all the products, all the information, the documents, the logins and all that, and then just disappear or don’t send the money or whatever it is. This guy was really upfront with me. The exchange was actually very quick. He just asked me, “What’s the revenue? Have you got proof of it, proof of sales? What does it include? What are you selling? Does it include socials?” And we actually went from introduction to sale, I think within 48 hours.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Oh, wow.

Kieran Parker:

Which was nice and quick. Yeah.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. Did you guys use like an Escrow service or anything like that?

Kieran Parker:

No. He paid me through TransferWise. So, he actually was probably one of the most trusting buyers. He actually, it was just before, I think it was New Year’s Eve or the day April New Year’s Eve, that we started talking and he said, “Well, look, I’m going away for New Year’s. I’m going to send you the money now. And you just send me it when you wake up,” because this was like 1:00 in the morning for me. And it was midday for him wherever he was located. So sent me the money actually and said, “Just send me all the details and I’ll get sorted when I get back.”

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice.

Kieran Parker:

So that was pretty nice, really.

Andrew Gazdecki:

So one thing I got to recommend is for most deals, we highly recommend an Escrow service because it protects you and the buyer, specifically the buyer. So, using an escrow service, you would basically put the money in a third party’s hands, and then you would transfer the assets and then you’d get. But I’m glad it all worked out. But I just wanted to add that tidbit for others, this thing, is always use an Escrow system because you never know what could happen. I mean the buyer, if you weren’t such a good person, you could have just walked with the money.

Kieran Parker:

Oh, yeah. I mean he could have been burnt. I mean, I’m not against it. I’m sure there’s ways he could have maybe gotten his money back or whatever. But I think what made me not worry too much is it wasn’t a huge amount of money, right? Money is money. So to hire you get, the more risk you have, right?

Andrew Gazdecki:

Yeah.

Kieran Parker:

So, I don’t know. Maybe I am too trusting. Maybe, yeah. Using an Escrow might be a good idea for next time.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Yeah. Well, I’m glad you found a buyer that you trusted enough to do an acquisition like that. I guess, for other founders that might be looking to sell their company on Acquire, what are three pieces of advice you would give them?

Kieran Parker:

That’s a good question. I think the main ones, one that you’ve just said, which would be transparency. Just there’s no point hiding any information. It’s just going to waste you and there’s yours and theirs time. There’s no point pretending that you’ve made more or sold more or done more with something. I mean, if they’re going to buy it, they’re going to get all the information anyway, right? I think that would be my top one. I think the second one as well would be, for me, it was important to sell it to someone as my passion project for about a year or so.

So for me it was important to sell it to someone who understood what it was and where they wanted to take it because this one was actually tied quite tightly to me and my social. So I don’t want them to start spamming all my previous buyers or spamming the social and I start getting a bad name sort of thing. So, you can’t really protect against that too much, but he showed good intent, I guess. And third, I mean, I think it’s just a case of just knowing your value, right? Valuing your product nicely, coming to a price that you both agree on, are both are happy on, comes a lot quicker when you know what it’s worth.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. And then I guess, so you’ve been successfully Acquired. I have to assume you’re working on something new. Have you started a new project? It’s just something that every interview it’s like, you think you get Acquired and you go and take a break, but it’s usually the opposite. You go right into another project. What are you working on now?

Kieran Parker:

Oh, so many things. So, I think my biggest one is keeping it in a design system sort of area is a tool called Heed. And the idea is, you post typically landing page, but any website page will do. And it’s a community driven feedback tool, right? So, there’s incentives for others to lead feedback on your designs. And those incentives hopefully help them get jobs or get contracts, whatever it is, but also helping the individuals improve their designs. That was something I found quite popular on Indie Hackers and my initial MVP proved quite… Done quite well. So I’ve actually partnered up. I’ve decided I need a developer to help me build this one. I’ve got another couple little things like law of 100, I’m working with [inaudible 00:08:21] sort of design development agency to build, which should be launching Monday.

Actually, it’s a free tool. It’s just a free habit tool for the web. And yeah, there’s so many. There’s another one I’m working with another developer friend of mine, which is, he had one. It was developer challenges, help you improve your front end development skills. And he’ll say, “It would be great if there was a design version of that.” And there are design challenges out there, but this has a unique spin. So, I’ve been designing that recently and sharing some designs on my social and he’s just started building it and he’s very quick. So hopefully, that’ll be live soon as well. They’re the three top ones. I mean, there’s always loads of little ones in the back of my mind as well that are half finished. That’s the sort of pain as a designer is, it’s quick to design, hard to build, right?

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. So I guess, I mean, this has been awesome. Congrats again, on the successful acquisition. I love hearing these stories of, you have a project that maybe you’re no longer interested in or you’ve started working on another project and you’re able to sell to someone who could breathe new life into it and potentially grow it beyond where you were interested in growing it yourself. So, huge congrats on that. I guess my final questions would be just kind of like rapid fire, for those looking to build a product to be successfully Acquired, do you have a sales or marketing or product book that you would recommend all entrepreneurs read?

Kieran Parker:

Oh, I think for me there’s one that I’ve read recently, which was the One Thing or something. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called. I’m pretty sure it’s called the One Thing as a sort of an individual who has all these product ideas. I typically feel very stretched, stretched thin. And I’m always asked myself if I should double down on one thing and make one thing great rather than a lot of little things. And this book basically talks to that, focusing on one thing at a time, one goal at a time, that sort of thing. That’s the one I’ve probably learned the most from recently.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Nice. And then, my next question would be for those looking to get Acquired. So now they have a product, they’ve built it. I totally agree with focusing on one thing rather than… I always say you want to be great open one thing rather than good at a bunch of other things. Is there any like resources or blogs or podcasts that you checked out to learn about like the acquisition process that you’d recommend?

Kieran Parker:

Not necessarily the acquisition process. I think listening to the micro require podcast and people on the other end, it’s interesting to see what they look for. So it’s good to learn from what they’re looking for, into how you can sell your product. It was also just a lot of research, research into products that are listed and ones that catch your attention. Other sites. I remember a long time ago, they used to be a site called Flipper or something, which was a bit weird, but it was just another resource for, I guess, selling websites or something. I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t amazing. I think to sum it up, the best advice would just be to look for inspiration in similar places, right?

Andrew Gazdecki:

I love that. Yeah. I mean, inspiration, I mean, can come from anywhere like Twitter, Indie Hackers, podcasts like this, which I greatly appreciate you joining. And then, my final question is just, who’s your favorite entrepreneur, if you have one? Or it could be a startup. Favorite entrepreneur or a startup.

Kieran Parker:

I don’t know. I think Pieter Levels, I think is how you say his second name. I think that’s a common one, a lot. He’s very well known for just getting stuff done quick and dirty. And up and coming one would be Jim Ratti on Twitter. He’s a designer who builds. So he is quite inspirational to me. He builds stuff really quickly. Very high quality. Yeah, probably those two. I don’t think there’s anyone else. Well, there are, but not come to mind.

Andrew Gazdecki:

No, those are great answers. I know both those names and yeah, both seller entrepreneurs. If anyone wants to reach out to you and just ask you questions about what you’re currently working on or your acquisition process, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. It’s probably just on Twitter, to be honest. My handle is KPRKR underscore.

Andrew Gazdecki:

I’ll put that on the show notes so you can just click.

Kieran Parker:

It’s not the easiest to say.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Yeah, mine’s AGazdecki, which is also not. Good luck trying to spell that.

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. Twitter is probably the best way. Second way would be my email, which is just through my website, which is on my Twitter as well.

Andrew Gazdecki:

Awesome. Well, Kieran, thanks so much for joining me in this podcast. Congrats again on getting Acquired. I’m I’m rooting for you, man. So-

Kieran Parker:

 Yeah. Thank you.

Andrew Gazdecki:

… hope to keep in touch, and thanks for your time.

Kieran Parker:

Yeah. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Andrew Gazdecki:

All right. Cheers.

Kieran Parker:

Cheers.