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How I strategically sold our SaaS company for a 7 figure deal
Episode 1810th November 2022 • B2B SaaS Podcast • Upendra Varma
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I talked to Adam White, founder of a SaaS company called SquidVision. Adam has previously sold his SaaS company SEOJet for a seven-figure deal to one of his strategic partners.

In this episode, we talk about,

  • what SquidVision is all about
  • How he plans to launch Squidvision & get the first odd customers using a lead list, he built from previous experiences
  • How he grew SEOJet to 200 customers & around 20K MRR in subscription revenue
  • How he worked with three partners to provide link-building services which had around 600K in revenue
  • How he ended up selling his company to one of the partners for a lower seven-figure deal
  • His vision for his new company & how he intends to reach there

You can also watch the video here on youtube.

Transcripts

Adam White:

I just, I always knew that I was a solopreneur on that one.

Adam White:

I didn't have any, found any employees.

Adam White:

I didn't have any co-founders and I was like, I wanna be, I wanna build a, a

Adam White:

SaaS business that I do by myself and sell it for over a million dollars.

Adam White:

That was always the goal.

Adam White:

And so to me it was like for, in terms of valuation, I was like, Would I be

Adam White:

happy taking a million dollars for this?

Adam White:

Yeah, I probably at this point I would.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

And so that was, that was literally how I did it, like for them.

Adam White:

But, but it doesn't matter how you value it, because frankly, it's what

Adam White:

somebody's willing to pay for it.

Adam White:

That's the only thing that matters.

Adam White:

There, there was about, I think there was about $20,000 of MRR

Adam White:

in terms of subs, software, subs.

Adam White:

And then, like I was saying, like several hundred thousand dollars worth of back

Adam White:

links on the per year, on the back end.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

So, so however they got to that number based on those things, they were able to

Adam White:

see that it was, it was worth it to them.

Adam White:

And you know, We got over the seventh figure mark, you know, and it turned

Adam White:

out to be a great deal for me.

Upendra Varma:

You're listening to the B2B SaaS podcast with your host Upendra Varma.

Upendra Varma:

Every week I talk to the world's best B2B SaaS founders and ask them

Upendra Varma:

everything about their business.

Upendra Varma:

There's a lot to learn from every founder, whether they're just starting out or

Upendra Varma:

already doing tens of millions in ar.

Upendra Varma:

It could be their zero to one journey, their top of an elite generation,

Upendra Varma:

their lead conversion strategy, their churn and account expansion

Upendra Varma:

process, their product journey, or even how they sold their company.

Upendra Varma:

Everyone has interesting story and insights they've gained over time.

Upendra Varma:

I'm here to decode them by asking the right questions, no superficial and

Upendra Varma:

lengthy conversations in just 15 to 20 minutes, I'll deep dive into one

Upendra Varma:

of the above themes backed by real metrics so that all of these insights

Upendra Varma:

are data backed and actionable.

Upendra Varma:

Let's listen to today's episode.

Upendra Varma:

Hello everyone.

Upendra Varma:

have Adam White with us.

Upendra Varma:

Adam here runs a company called Squid Vision.

Upendra Varma:

Hey Adam, Welcome to the show.

Upendra Varma:

What's going on?

Upendra Varma:

I'm doing good.

Upendra Varma:

So Adam, let's try to understand what your company does?

Upendra Varma:

What Squid Vision does, and why do customers

Adam White:

pay you money?

Adam White:

Yeah, so Squid Vision, actually we're in, we're in be closed beta right now.

Adam White:

We're launching and literally getting ready to launch it

Adam White:

in the next week or two.

Adam White:

But, but it's it's essentially like Hot Jar, but with revenue tracking.

Adam White:

So if you get an see an overlay of your website, any page on your website, you

Adam White:

can see exactly how much revenue every single button or link has actually

Adam White:

generated on that page to see where, what, you know, where the, what is

Adam White:

actually happening, where the, where the revenue is passing through, what,

Adam White:

which calls to action are working.

Adam White:

You know, it's really good for conversion rate optimization and, and landing page

Adam White:

optimization and, and just understanding and, and also content marketing

Adam White:

to see which, which blog posts are generating revenue and all that stuff.

Adam White:

So it's really cool.

Adam White:

All right.

Upendra Varma:

So you mentioned you're in closed beta, so does

Upendra Varma:

that mean you have any active users on your platform as affiliate?

Adam White:

We do.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Adam White:

There's just a few that we'd allowed to test it for us as we

Adam White:

work out the, the, the final bugs.

Adam White:

But yeah, we'll be going live probably in the next seven.

Adam White:

All right.

Upendra Varma:

So yeah, so what are your plans?

Upendra Varma:

What happens once you go live?

Upendra Varma:

So how are you gonna get those first 10 odd customers and

Upendra Varma:

what's gonna happen after that?

Upendra Varma:

So what, what marketing channels are you really experimenting with so far?

Adam White:

Yeah, so I, I've had a lot of success in the past doing seo.

Adam White:

So we'll do a lot of content marketing also with, with my

Adam White:

last company that I sold last.

Adam White:

I was really able to make some serious traction with Facebook

Adam White:

ads and so we'll probably those will be the two main channels that

Adam White:

we hit right from the beginning.

Adam White:

I'm also the a co-founder of just to reach out.io, which is like, it's like outreach

Adam White:

tools to help to get you more back links and also PR press mentions and stuff.

Adam White:

Anyways, that we have a large list of customers there that we can

Adam White:

kind of pitch this to as well.

Adam White:

So, so it's not, you know, we'll, we'll have some, we'll have an audience

Adam White:

already that we can kind of go to and say, Hey, check out this new thing,

Adam White:

you know, and, and probably get a handful of people there as well.

Adam White:

Can I

Upendra Varma:

ask where you build this audience list from?

Adam White:

So with, just reach out, it was, We have

Adam White:

really good rankings on Google.

Adam White:

We do Google

Upendra Varma:

ads.

Upendra Varma:

Okay, so you are gonna use your audience of a different product and then you're

Upendra Varma:

trying to go to them and pitch it,

Adam White:

is it?

Adam White:

Yeah, exactly.

Adam White:

We'll, just because, Because what this is, this is a feature.

Adam White:

What Squid vision is the feature that doesn't really exist anywhere else.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

Like I, I saw this, the head of analytics for a big Fortune 500 company showed

Adam White:

me, it's like, Hey, check out this cool tool that these guys have on their.

Adam White:

You know their website and he showed me and it, and it was like, it

Adam White:

blew my mind how awesome it was.

Adam White:

I'm like, Dude, small businesses will never get this.

Adam White:

We'll never be able to, to look at our, an overlay of our website and

Adam White:

see how much money every button and link has, has made has made that day.

Adam White:

. Right?

Adam White:

He just doesn't exist.

Adam White:

And so I'm like, I'm gonna build this for, for small businesses

Adam White:

because this is awesome.

Upendra Varma:

So, so, so just from, from a product perspective, right?

Upendra Varma:

How exactly are you doing this?

Upendra Varma:

So I can understand how you would typically get analytics from like where

Upendra Varma:

a visitor would spend time on your page.

Upendra Varma:

That part is pretty easy, but how do you tie it up with the actual

Upendra Varma:

revenue that's being generated or those actual revenue metrics?

Upendra Varma:

What exactly are you doing?

Upendra Varma:

Take.

Adam White:

Yeah, so, so it's, we're just, we're, we're piecing it

Adam White:

together using different tools, right?

Adam White:

So we, we, obviously you have tools out there that track clicks already.

Adam White:

It clicks in, in, on locations of, of your page, so you can see

Adam White:

exactly where everyone's doing that.

Adam White:

So we're, we're using that technology and then, and then we're also just.

Adam White:

In tracking the user sessions and, and getting the revenue through.

Adam White:

Like right now we connect to Strip and Shopify, the two that we actually

Adam White:

have integrations with, and we're build, we'll build out more as we

Adam White:

go, but we'll start with those two.

Adam White:

So we get the revenue data from those and tie it all together.

Adam White:

It's, I mean, it's, it's, it's been some work and it's pretty complicated, but

Adam White:

at the same time, like we just have.

Adam White:

You know, heads down going, Let's just solve this problem and,

Adam White:

and people are gonna love it.

Adam White:

So,

Upendra Varma:

yeah.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

So I could really see the value in solving such a problem, but I can also

Upendra Varma:

understand it's gonna be pretty tricky for you because it's not easy, right?

Upendra Varma:

Attributing a new lead, for example, to a particular page thing that, Hey,

Upendra Varma:

you spent time on this particular article, that's why I ended up

Upendra Varma:

converting, and that there's your new revenue from this channel.

Upendra Varma:

So how do you even do that?

Upendra Varma:

It's, it's really, really hard and you need to integrate with all of.

Upendra Varma:

I guess payment systems, all of those things.

Upendra Varma:

So, so what I want to ask is, can you just pick one example or one use case

Upendra Varma:

where you're doing this, you know, really well, maybe for a Shopify app

Upendra Varma:

or, or for, for some customer of yours.

Upendra Varma:

Explain me how this is actually working and how exactly are you doing this?

Adam White:

Yeah, so, so I'll just use, I'll just, we, we, we use it to

Adam White:

track on, as one of our testers is just reach out or my other SaaS company.

Adam White:

And so what we do is we, I I, you know, I add in all of the, the blog posts that

Adam White:

are our highest traffic blog posts, right?

Adam White:

I add those in and create, you know, heat maps for them.

Adam White:

We call 'em revenue heat maps.

Adam White:

So then, then what I can do is I can go into the software and

Adam White:

just look, literally, just look at the, at the page and go, Okay,

Adam White:

what is this traffic converting?

Adam White:

Customers to, to sign up, right?

Adam White:

Is anybody turning into a sign up from this page?

Adam White:

And which buttons, which calls to action are actually doing it?

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

Where, where on the page are they clicking and where is that revenue being generated?

Adam White:

And so, so it'll show me, Hey, they clicked right here.

Adam White:

They turn into a trial.

Adam White:

And then whenever that trial runs out, the revenue will start showing up on that

Adam White:

button, and I'll see on that button, Hey, this one's generated this much revenue.

Adam White:

And as time goes on and more revenue hits, it'll just add up on that button.

Adam White:

You'll see that that worked, that that call to action worked

Adam White:

or it didn't work, right?

Adam White:

So, So then you can go, All right, well, this call to action at the top,

Adam White:

for some reason, nobody's clicking on, or it's not generating any signup.

Adam White:

Lots of people are clicking, but they're not signing up.

Adam White:

Let's.

Adam White:

You know what I mean?

Adam White:

So it's, it's that kind of stuff.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

That, that makes a lot of sense.

Upendra Varma:

All right, so, so let's talk about your future growth prospects here.

Upendra Varma:

So you've mentioned you, you're pretty good at seo, but since

Upendra Varma:

you're just launching, I'm assuming you're just starting, right?

Upendra Varma:

You, you just started writing out content or stuff like that, and it's

Upendra Varma:

gonna take you time, maybe months or quarters before it can sort of

Upendra Varma:

generate you any meaningful revenue.

Upendra Varma:

So what's that zero to one journey is gonna be like, So are you

Upendra Varma:

betting on Facebook ads or are you betting on this email list?

Upendra Varma:

So how, how is that zero to one gonna take?

Adam White:

Yeah, I think, I think that initially for the first probably 20 to 30

Adam White:

customers, I'll just do some, some manual.

Adam White:

I'll reach out to customers like one by one by hand.

Adam White:

Like just go pick, pick a user and go, Hey, Hey, it's me.

Adam White:

I wanted to show you this one thing.

Adam White:

Let's jump on a call real quick.

Adam White:

Like for my, from my previous business SEO jet that I sold last

Adam White:

year, I have, I had, I built some good relationships with guys I know

Adam White:

will get value out of Switch Vision.

Adam White:

And so I can just reach out to them day, Okay.

Adam White:

I wanna show you this thing we just built and we'll jump on a call and

Adam White:

I'll show 'em and, and I am sure I'll be able to get a good handful

Adam White:

of people to sign up that way.

Adam White:

But then we're gonna hit the Facebook ads really hard right from the get go

Adam White:

because you know, frankly, you just don't need to have a huge, you know,

Adam White:

you, you could just do that right, right from the beginning and be success.

Upendra Varma:

Adam, so let's talk about SEO jet for a while.

Upendra Varma:

So just to g give everybody some context here.

Upendra Varma:

So Adam has sold this company, it's called SEO Jet.

Upendra Varma:

So Adam, just, can you just give us a sense of where the company was

Upendra Varma:

when you actually sold it in terms of revenue, in terms of customers?

Adam White:

Yeah, So, so we, the, this, the, the website, just so you know it.

Adam White:

It solves the problem of doing link building the right way.

Adam White:

Like people don't, especially with anchor text, like people didn't know,

Adam White:

like, what anchor tech should I be using in my back links so that I stay

Adam White:

safe from Google penalties and it looks natural to Google and I rank better.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

So that was what the software did, is it solved that problem kind of gave you a

Adam White:

roadmap of exactly which links to build.

Adam White:

To rank number one, right.

Adam White:

Anyways, I, I don't remember exactly how many customers we had.

Adam White:

I think it was in the 200 range SEO agencies and, and

Adam White:

SEO consultants using it.

Adam White:

When, when I sold it there, the the revenue, we had two

Adam White:

ways of getting revenue, right?

Adam White:

We had the, the, the subscription for the software, but then on the back end

Adam White:

we also had our, had a link building, like people could buy guest posts

Adam White:

on the back end of the software that we just, I just marked that up and.

Adam White:

Had three different companies fulfill that for us.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

So, so between the two of those, the revenue was pretty high.

Adam White:

But, but what I did was I went to one of those three companies that

Adam White:

was fulfilling the link building and said, Hey, I'm gonna sell this.

Adam White:

Are you interested?

Adam White:

Cause I knew it would be worth more to them than anyone else, cuz

Adam White:

they could cut out the other two guys, take all the link orders and

Adam White:

dramatically increased our revenue.

Adam White:

So that's what we did.

Adam White:

And it, it, it worked out.

Adam White:

Okay,

Upendra Varma:

so, so, okay.

Upendra Varma:

So let's, let's try to deep dive into this a bit.

Upendra Varma:

So you've had a subs, a substitution business going on, and then you had

Upendra Varma:

this couple, you had tie with a bunch of agencies who, who were basically solving

Upendra Varma:

your customers needs of sort of doing those back, building those back links

Upendra Varma:

manually and all of those things, and you ended up selling it to one of those.

Upendra Varma:

Is that it?

Upendra Varma:

Mm-hmm.

Upendra Varma:

. Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

And so, so, so what was your thought process then?

Upendra Varma:

Was, was this company always been built to sell?

Upendra Varma:

Or, or, or it just happened and it made sense for you on that day.

Upendra Varma:

So what was the journey when, when you were sort of, what was

Upendra Varma:

your thought processes when you were sort of selling the company?

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Adam White:

You know, I've, for me, I, I've, I've actually

Adam White:

sold 17 internet businesses in the last 15 years, so I don't.

Adam White:

Yes.

Adam White:

17.

Adam White:

So I don't like, I don't hold onto them very long.

Adam White:

I don't, I, I like to sell.

Adam White:

I'm always like, at some point I'm gonna sell this.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

That's always, that's always how I approach every business.

Adam White:

Now, it just depends on how long I hold it, you know?

Adam White:

It, sometimes it's different.

Adam White:

But with that one, I had it for four years and that was the longest

Adam White:

I've ever had any internet business.

Adam White:

I got to a point where I was like, Oh, I'm kind of getting tired of running this.

Adam White:

You know, I wanna move on to something else, time to sell.

Adam White:

But it was right when the business was kind of stagnating.

Adam White:

There was no, there wasn't good growth.

Adam White:

It, I was like, If I sell it right now, that'd be really stupid because it's,

Adam White:

it's gonna be worth the least amount that it will ever be if I sell it right now,

Adam White:

all I have to do is just like, hit it really hard and, and grow it a little bit

Adam White:

and I'll, I can get way more out of it.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

So I, at that time that I wanted to sell it when it wasn't doing great.

Adam White:

I think it someone, I think they offered me about a half a million

Adam White:

for it, and I was like, Nah, just, I don't, it's just not enough, right?

Adam White:

Cause I know I'm about to build something else and I, I

Adam White:

need, I need more of a buffer.

Adam White:

So that's when I, I reached out to a, a mentor, a guy who's who I knew had been

Adam White:

doing Facebook ads really successfully.

Adam White:

And up until that time, I'd only been doing seo.

Adam White:

I hadn't started Facebook ads.

Adam White:

. And I reached out to him and said, Hey, look man, I, I need help.

Adam White:

I know, you know, s Facebook ads really well.

Adam White:

Teach me how to do it.

Adam White:

And so I, I paid him, I paid him a good, a, a large chunk of money.

Adam White:

He teach me exactly how he was doing Facebook ads.

Adam White:

I implemented all the things that he taught me.

Adam White:

And like literally within six months, the business had doubled in size.

Adam White:

I had really good growth and it was much more appealing to, to a

Adam White:

buyer, and I was able to sell it.

Adam White:

Seven figures.

Adam White:

So it worked out really well.

Upendra Varma:

All right.

Upendra Varma:

So, so my question here is, so when, when you were sort of looking to sell,

Upendra Varma:

when you felt that the, that, that it's the right time to sort of sell, so how

Upendra Varma:

do you buy, find these potential buyers?

Upendra Varma:

I know in your case you had three of them right in front of you, but did you

Upendra Varma:

sort of do put in any manual efforts to reach out to more, more folks who

Upendra Varma:

might value your business better?

Upendra Varma:

Did you do anything else or was it just, you know, there was really no

Adam White:

other option?

Adam White:

Yeah, I.

Adam White:

I didn't, I had one guy actually reach out to me about buying it earlier,

Adam White:

and I just didn't want, you know, he wasn't a strategic partner, so I only

Adam White:

reached out to these guys first because I knew that, you know, because there was

Adam White:

probably five to $600,000 worth of revenue happening on those link sales a year.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

So it was significant amount and they were only getting a third of it.

Adam White:

You know what I mean?

Adam White:

So knowing that they would, didn't just have a huge jump in revenue because of

Adam White:

it, that, that it would be more valuable to them and they would offer me more.

Adam White:

So I really wanted one of them to buy it because I'd get, I'd get more out of it.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

And so I didn't, I never reached out to anybody else.

Adam White:

If I was gonna do it again, and I didn't have a strategic partner like

Adam White:

that, I would probably send a few cold emails to some BC firms or whatever.

Adam White:

And, and, and Or go to Micro Acquire, which is a good marketplace for, for sas.

Adam White:

Sales.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

So let's talk about valuation here.

Upendra Varma:

So it looks like you had two different set of businesses there.

Upendra Varma:

One subscription business that that's serving everyone where they're paying

Upendra Varma:

for your software and other those for those link building services.

Upendra Varma:

So it looks like your buyer was majorly interested in those link building

Upendra Varma:

services because there they could potentially triple their, you know,

Upendra Varma:

in incoming sort of leads, right?

Upendra Varma:

So, So how do you value a business like this?

Upendra Varma:

Right?

Upendra Varma:

So you've got both this, you know, product part as well, and then you

Upendra Varma:

also got the services layer as well, software as less services layer.

Upendra Varma:

So how do you value something like this?

Upendra Varma:

Like can you talk about the valuation when you were negotiating this?

Adam White:

Yeah.

Adam White:

I didn't like, I just, I always knew that I was a solopreneur on that one.

Adam White:

I didn't have any, found any employees.

Adam White:

I didn't have any co-founders and I was like, I wanna be, I wanna build a, a

Adam White:

SaaS business that I do by myself and sell it for over a million dollars.

Adam White:

That was always the.

Adam White:

goal And so to me it was like for, in terms of valuation I was like, Would I be

Adam White:

happy taking a million dollars for this?

Adam White:

Yeah, I probably at this point I would.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

And so that was, that was literally how I did it, like for them.

Adam White:

But, but it doesn't matter how you value it, because frankly, it's what

Adam White:

somebody's willing to pay for it.

Adam White:

That's the only thing that matters.

Adam White:

There, there was about, I think there was about $20,000 of MRR

Adam White:

in terms of subs, software, subs.

Adam White:

And then, like I was saying, like several hundred thousand dollars worth of back

Adam White:

links on the per year, on the back end.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

So, so however they got to that number based on those things, they were able to

Adam White:

see that it was, it was worth it to them.

Adam White:

And you know, We got over the seventh figure mark, you know, and it turned

Adam White:

out to be a great deal for me.

Upendra Varma:

So, but, so was there any formula that they used

Upendra Varma:

or is, was it just, you know, it made sense for you on that day?

Upendra Varma:

Okay, this looks like a nice number for me based on where I am.

Upendra Varma:

And was it No.

Adam White:

In fact, yeah, when we, we had some conversations where they were

Adam White:

trying to offer less and I'm like, and it was like literally I'm just on the

Adam White:

phone call with him going, Look guys.

Adam White:

I'm, I'm, I, this thing is growing so fast now that it doesn't make any sense for

Adam White:

you to sell it any less than this number.

Adam White:

So if you can get me to this number, I'll sell it to you.

Adam White:

If you can't, I'm just not gonna do it.

Adam White:

But, but

Upendra Varma:

how, how do you come up with that number?

Upendra Varma:

Right?

Upendra Varma:

And how do you convince that that's the right number?

Upendra Varma:

I, I, I guess that's the trickiest part,

Adam White:

right?

Adam White:

There wasn't a good method to it.

Adam White:

It was just literally like, I think I wanna get at least 1.2 million.

Adam White:

So, Let's try to, let's ask for more than that.

Adam White:

Mm-hmm.

Adam White:

, and then get, and then hopefully we'll end up there, Right?

Adam White:

Like, that was kind of where my thought process was.

Adam White:

And it, and, and we even did better than that.

Adam White:

But, but it was just like, okay if I have to build a new business, what

Adam White:

amount of money do, am I okay taking?

Adam White:

Like that's really the, that's the psychology for me is what amount of money

Adam White:

am I okay receiving, because I'm gonna have to build something else after this.

Adam White:

You know, just making a million dollars is not, is.

Adam White:

It's gonna last that long, right?

Adam White:

You know, I have a wife who has seven kids.

Adam White:

You know, that it's just like, it's not gonna last forever.

Adam White:

So I'd have to build something else.

Adam White:

So at what point do I, what, what's the number where I'm like, Okay,

Adam White:

this, this money will keep us comfortable while I build something

Adam White:

new and, and, and launch it.

Adam White:

And, and so I just came up with the number in my brain.

Adam White:

I said, This is what it is.

Adam White:

If I, if I got that amount, I'd be happy.

Adam White:

And then I had, because I had really, really strong growth for

Adam White:

like two or three months in a row.

Adam White:

They couldn't, like, that was the, the biggest selling factor, right?

Adam White:

They're like, we see if we wait three more months, we're gonna to pay

Adam White:

more money for this same business.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

Cuz it's growing so fast.

Adam White:

So they, they wanted to get the deal done right.

Upendra Varma:

So, so Adam, I, so I want you to sort of go back, right.

Upendra Varma:

Let's, a couple of years back, right?

Upendra Varma:

And when you were building this business, so you had subscription business

Upendra Varma:

as well, services later as well.

Upendra Varma:

So was, was, was selling part always in your mind?

Upendra Varma:

And if.

Upendra Varma:

Why, like, why was it always gonna be these three major agencies that you

Upendra Varma:

were dealing with or when exactly did you actually start planning this bar?

Upendra Varma:

. So, okay.

Upendra Varma:

This, this is a nice business going on, right?

Upendra Varma:

So, but I'm gonna sell it at this point.

Upendra Varma:

Right?

Upendra Varma:

So what, when exactly Did that happen?

Adam White:

Yeah, I did, I wasn't really thinking about selling it

Adam White:

in the beginning For the first couple years, I, I was enjoying it.

Adam White:

Because when I create a new business, and especially with software business, cuz

Adam White:

you can always be making improvements to the software, and that always excites me.

Adam White:

It's making the software better.

Adam White:

So, so that kept me engaged for a long time.

Adam White:

I say a long time, it was two years probably.

Adam White:

And, and that for me is long.

Adam White:

But it, it was probably about the point where, see what had happened was, I, I

Adam White:

had this software set up to where you couldn't just go sign up on the site,

Adam White:

you had to request an invite to use it.

Adam White:

Mm-hmm.

Adam White:

. And so an email would automatically get sent out to if you, to you 20 minutes

Adam White:

later, once you requested an invite.

Adam White:

Well, I found out that that email was going to everyone's spam folder.

Adam White:

No one was ever seeing that email.

Adam White:

So I, so for six months, 6,000 people requested an invite to sign up and

Adam White:

never got the email went to their spam.

Adam White:

I just thought nobody wants to use my software anymore.

Adam White:

Barely.

Adam White:

Cuz there was one other way to sign up through the blog, but, but

Adam White:

if you didn't like come to, but if you came to the homepage that

Adam White:

it would go to your spam folder.

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

Like that, that was the majority of people.

Adam White:

So I was like, well I guess no one likes my software.

Adam White:

Things are terrible.

Adam White:

I it's gonna, this business is gonna fail.

Adam White:

When I figured that out, then we, I was able to start to turn things around.

Adam White:

, but it was, it was kind of like that experience made me go, Oh, do

Adam White:

I really want to, like, I'm kind of losing steam on this business.

Adam White:

Maybe I should start to to sell it.

Adam White:

Mm-hmm.

Adam White:

. But it was like, I need to sell it six months to a year from now because

Adam White:

I, there's things I need to do to get this to a place to sell, right?

Adam White:

Mm-hmm.

Adam White:

. So I was building it from that point on to sell it.

Adam White:

So one of the major things I did was I switched the way the

Adam White:

subscriptions worked cuz I wanted more money on the subscription side.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Adam White:

Cause I knew it would be more valuable that way.

Adam White:

So I said, Okay, I'll give people bigger discounts on the links on the back.

Adam White:

If they pay more for subscription, right?

Adam White:

So if you pay this, you do the 3 99 plan a month, you get 25% off the links, right?

Adam White:

So if they're buying a lot of links anyways, they'd end

Adam White:

up saving money that way.

Adam White:

So that was, that was one of the major things I did to get, to make the

Adam White:

business more valuable at that point.

Upendra Varma:

And what about the team?

Upendra Varma:

So you mentioned you were a solopreneur, so who, who built the entire product?

Adam White:

Yeah, there was a, I had a developer, he was just part-time,

Adam White:

he had a full-time job and he would just work on this part-time at nights

Adam White:

and, and frankly, that made it go really slow and painfully slow and,

Adam White:

you know, and it was very frustrating.

Adam White:

But at the same time, you know, I just, that I was, I was bootstrapping it.

Adam White:

I didn't have money, so I just said, you know, when you're, when you don't

Adam White:

have the money to spend to make it go fast, you just have to go slow.

Adam White:

And that's what we.

Adam White:

. It probably cost me a quarter of a million dollars, how slow

Adam White:

everything went, but mm-hmm.

Adam White:

you know, that's just the way it works.

Adam White:

Was

Upendra Varma:

that just that one developer that you had in your

Upendra Varma:

team all, all through those five?

Adam White:

It was just him.

Adam White:

He was the only

Upendra Varma:

one.

Upendra Varma:

Okay.

Upendra Varma:

And so, so I guess that would've made your sale much easier because you

Upendra Varma:

really didn't have a team to sort of, you know, sell or whatever you call it,

Upendra Varma:

transition to a different sort of company.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Adam White:

It, it was very, very simple.

Adam White:

And he did, he did consult with them for a while.

Adam White:

I'm not sure if he still is doing that, but he, he did for, at least for the first

Adam White:

few months while we did the transition.

Adam White:

But yeah, other than I had one other girl that I contracted.

Adam White:

She was, you know, she wasn't an employee yet.

Adam White:

I think 20 bucks an hour to do this, do some manual labor stuff for me.

Adam White:

And, and yeah, I just, once I sold, I just kind of gave her a bonus check and

Adam White:

said, Thanks for your help, and moved on.

Adam White:

All right.

Upendra Varma:

Hope you scale Squid vision to much greater heights and

Upendra Varma:

sell it to you know, much, much higher number to what you already sold.

Adam White:

Yeah, let's, let's 50 x that number

Adam White:

. Upendra Varma: So, So Adam, so

Adam White:

launching the product, I know it's still early days, right?

Adam White:

So what's your vision for this company?

Adam White:

Right?

Adam White:

So for example, let's say two years down the line, where do you see.

Adam White:

Your company growing too, and what would happen five years down the line?

Adam White:

I know it's still very early days, but, but what's, what's that?

Adam White:

You know, not staff.

Adam White:

Are you, at this point of time, what are you focusing on?

Adam White:

Well,

Adam White:

ev we're, so I told you we're, we're launching

Adam White:

with Shopify and, and Stripe.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

Those two marketplaces.

Adam White:

If we get 1% of that, of, of both of those marketplaces, we'll have

Adam White:

a hundred million dollar business.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

So, We're like, my, my intention is within four years to sell it

Adam White:

between 15 and a hundred million.

Adam White:

Like, that's, that's my goal with, with Squid Vision.

Upendra Varma:

And are you gonna raise any external

Adam White:

funding?

Adam White:

I won't rule it out, but, But we're not planning to.

Adam White:

Okay.

Adam White:

We've already had people, we've had people offer, like we, people are

Adam White:

asking to invest in our, in the company.

Adam White:

That's totally expected.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Adam White:

And, and, and we're just like, Nah, we'll

Upendra Varma:

hold off.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

And what about your team?

Upendra Varma:

So how are you planning to sort of build the team this time?

Adam White:

It'll probably be more, I, I have a co-founder this time, you know,

Adam White:

and we have, we have a full-time developer and he's, you know, and then, you know,

Adam White:

we'll probably build out a team, a real team from here I to to, to build a 50

Adam White:

to a hundred million dollar company.

Adam White:

You, you have to have a real team.

Adam White:

I can't soure that.

Adam White:

So, so I, I'm gonna let my co-founder kind of manage that more.

Adam White:

He's, he's worked in the.

Adam White:

The world's a lot more than I have, so I'll, I'll handle growth and he'll

Adam White:

handle, you know, probably be the ceo.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

So, so Adam, so in terms of valuations, right?

Upendra Varma:

So like I know it's, it, it all, you always get much, your value

Upendra Varma:

is always higher when you sell it.

Upendra Varma:

When it's the strategic acquisition, like, like the way you've did.

Upendra Varma:

Because it, it actually made sense for them.

Upendra Varma:

But if you were to sort of take your, take, take your company to,

Upendra Varma:

to, let's say a PE firm or some other firm who's just looking at

Upendra Varma:

your business and trying to value it based on revenue, multiple of growth,

Upendra Varma:

it's always gonna be a lower number.

Upendra Varma:

Right?

Upendra Varma:

So, so for the business that you're planning to sort of spill and sell,

Upendra Varma:

so was it, was it, is it gonna be a strategic acquisition or is it always

Upendra Varma:

gonna be, you know, selling it to a PE firm or something like that?

Adam White:

I don't know that it'll be strategic, honestly.

Adam White:

I, I want it to be because I want somebody to take it over.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah, of course.

Upendra Varma:

You want it to be.

Upendra Varma:

My question is, is there something that you can do from this point onwards

Upendra Varma:

to sort of, you know, get there?

Adam White:

I, I, If there is something, I don't know what it is yet, Right?

Adam White:

Like it would have to be a partnership that we've developed

Adam White:

that is it like mutually beneficial?

Adam White:

We don't have that in place.

Adam White:

I don't.

Adam White:

I just don't know if that will work out, you know, frankly, if, if the business

Adam White:

is growing steadily and has worked that much, I'm not gonna mince over, you know,

Adam White:

If I may, if I sell it for 50 or a hundred million, I'll, I'll be happy with both.

Adam White:

Right.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Adam White:

So it's so in the end, it'll, it'll be great.

Adam White:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

All right, Adam.

Upendra Varma:

Yeah.

Upendra Varma:

Thanks for taking the time.

Adam White:

Yeah, it's been a pleasure.

Adam White:

Thanks for having me.

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