15 Years to a SaaS Exit (Plus Why Forecasting is Crucial)


Matt wincing. Thanks so much for joining on the show again. Hey thanks for having me on again absolutely man so I talked in the intro about you. Growing risk pulse finding CEO. And selling it and I always ask people who've had these life changing exits. What was it like when you looked at your bank balance? You hit refresh and you see all those Zeros for the first time in your life. Yeah I think I think for me. It was a huge relief. Just because just the sheer number of years that I put into it. It was not a hey. Let's let's bet the summer on this. You know it was. It wasn't quite bet the farm. I didn't go that far like if it hadn't happened. Things would have been okay but you know I was very invested in. It adds it was. It was a huge relief to see that. Definitely as you said life life changing and you know obviously life improving but really just that peace of mind. You know that you don't have for sometimes very long startups indeed. It was a really long journey for you. Right it was was it fifteen years. Yeah I had the idea in two thousand and four side Yeah I. I went from idea. No four drawing little notes on posted on my lunch hour while on break is a software developer thinking. Hey you know steps one through four of starting startup. Let's do this fifteen years later. Congratulations man did you. I know all the listeners are thinking. Did you buy anything? Did you buy a Porsche to buy a house? I yes I did. I did a couple things. We've been postponing a great ski vacation. For a long time it happened in December. And guess what if it was time so it took the kids? Something I've been wanting to do for years was take the kids out of vacation. So we we last minute booked all. That didn't worry as much as you normally would about the last minute rates and went up to Whistler Canada and had had a great time with family invited family to come join us so that was great and I did have a you know inherited a car for my parents few years ago just because they didn't need it anymore and I was like okay. You know an extra commuter cars always helpful especially when it's paid off and was able to get rid of that and get a new vehicle show great very nice. You know. It's funny because when I was there's a podcast called the tropical NBA and Danny and talk about Entrepreneur Mobiles. And it's basically that she pieces that you drive while you're trying to build your company because they're not actually making much money so I drove a salvage title. Two thousand six Buick rendezvous at one point had a bunch of duct tape on the mirror got hit and I so I drove that up until a year after I sold trip. I like that car totally and and then the next car. It's a nice car. It's a Volvo. It's the nicest car I've ever owned. In fact it's I still bought it us though I could not. I couldn't bring myself to buy a new car but yeah that's funny I we. We had the two thousand five Toyota Sienna minivan which we put two hundred and fifteen thousand miles on as as a family and we replaced that with a you know a modest functional SUV. But then I had inherited a car for my parents that was An oath four and it worked. It was fine. It was it was exactly what you described. It was paid off and worked and got me from place to place but I tried it and I did get an off lease vehicles because again I wanNA to pay the depreciation but it's a lot more fun to drive once a scrappy founder always scrappy founder. That's Yup it's hard to change it so I wanna I wanNA ask you about a couple of things. One thing that you did. That was super interesting. Risk Pulse is build the SAS apt multiple seven figures. And then you replace yourself with a CEO and you moved on to start summit. Which will you know? We'll talk about towards the end of the interview that it's very. I say it's unusual. Most people don't go through that experience most people aren't able to find a CEO. It's not even on the radar of a lot of people. What was that process like? And why like why did you? Why did you take that step? Yeah it was. It was a process and I think it was the deciding that he was going to be. Ceo was definitely last step in a mental journey. That started with you know. We need a experienced enterprise sales executive to join the team and I had a recommendation from a board member which is a great example of how board members can be value. Add is helping you find top talents. And in this case he knew him professionally. They'd worked together before and you know with somebody that had significant experience building companies from the few million in revenue to the next phase so kind of the ten employees two hundred employees face which is a great fit for where we were and so. I I initially hired him to be chief strategy officer which is a fancy way of saying not quite sure what your title is going to be but I know that you have a lot of experience and we want to just get you involved in the first things. He did was really focused on sales and overhaul in the sales process is an enterprise. Sales processing had more even though I had more experience in the business of course. Because I've been doing it for years. He brought in that outside experience and revamped. Our sales process professionalized. It and that was kind of the word. It was really going through in professionalising each function in the in the company and after sales it was marketing and customer. Success and Finn OPS and kind of all down the list and then lastly would just kind of got to the point where you know. It wasn't that I didn't want to manage him. It was more you know what's in it for me. Like why? Why do I want to hold onto? Because it was clear that point that he could be. Ceo and that. I didn't need to be so it was kind of an either or and without any forcing from the board. I mean this was completely my idea. I said I'd never intended to run this company forever. That's not my that was not my identity and I think that's that was like the key decoupling that was already true in my mind and heart was like who. I am is not the CEO. Repulse it's the founder of response. Maybe a little bit more but you know the CEO to me was always a always a title. That could be changed at some point tonight. I always intended to change it at some point so it just became a natural transition to say. He's that person now announced to the board. The board was I mean if anything they were a little surprised at my willingness like it was almost like what you said if this doesn't usually happen and it isn't usually peaceful when it does happen but yeah I think that's a that that should be the goal of maybe more of us like a peaceful transition of of leadership and power. I mean that's that's kind of. It's kind of a an important tentative of well-functioned organization so I was happy to do it. And it just immediately freed me up to focus on just the things that I was world-class ads and still wanting to focus on and then ultimately wind myself out of the

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