Bad reasons to sell your startup

From Jason Lemkin:

When not to sell. My learnings:

1. Do not sell if you are at scale and have a committed team. This is pretty much it for me. E.g., in SaaS, if you are at $10m+ ARR, and growing nicely, and the team is killing it — just don’t sell. Once you are at Scale in SaaS, you can’t be killed. Why sell? Really.

2. Do not sell because of the competition, unless they are truly decelerating you and you can’t stop them. There is always competition. Google threatens to kill you if you don’t sell? Whatever. They can’t kill you if you are growing. A hot start-up nipping at your heels? That’s the way it should be. As long as you can hit your plan, it doesn’t really matter.

3. Do not sell because you are tired. This is the dirty “secret” of M&A. If you look at a lot of successful start-ups that seem to get acquired out of nowhere … that have traction, great customers, and all that … there’s often a story. It’s called The 5 Year Walk of Death. You get so tired after 4 years, then you stumble through the 5th, and then, you take an offer. Don’t let it happen. Bring in fresh blood, fresh capital, whatever it takes. I know of one Top Tier VC Fund that specifically targets Exhausted Founders After 5 Years, makes crappy offers but with a lot of secondary liquidity. They know it’s a weak moment.

One thought on “Bad reasons to sell your startup

  1. Pingback: When to sell your company — Ben Horowitz | A Founder's Notebook

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