When we think of exiting via acquisition, it’s easy to think that if it’s a reasonable deal that it’s going to be an easy decision to say yes, but for three founders we spoke to at TC Sessions: SaaS recently, It was anything but. Founders have to balance many different decision points and deciding whether to sign on the dotted line is going to come with some anxiety and doubt before reaching a conclusion.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Even though, at $3.7 billion, everyone thought it should probably be a no-brainer; it wasn’t. Jyoti Bansal
The panel, which looked at what happens after you get acquired, included: Jyoti Bansal, current founder and CEO at Harness, who sold his previous startup AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion in 2017, the week he was going to IPO; Monica Sarbu, who is currently founder and CEO at Xata, who sold her startup Packetbeat to Elastic in 2015 just two years after launching the company, and finally Nick Mehta, who is currently co-founder and CEO at Gainsight, who sold his email archiving startup LiveOffice to Symantec in 2011 for $115 million.
As you can see there was life with new startups after the sale for each of these founders, all of whom founded new companies after they left, but first they had to go through the sale process and decide to sell or not. Each founder took a slightly different path.
The sales process
Bansal was ready to take his company public in 2017 and was content to do just that when Cisco came knocking while the company was doing its roadshow. He rejected two initial offers, but when the company sweetened the pot enough, he simply couldn’t say no.