In Episode 559, Rob Walling chats with Andrew Gazdecki, the founder of MicroAcquire, about bootstrapping a two-sided marketplace in a competitive industry. They talk about Andrew’s previous successes, including growing Bizness Apps to $10 million in annual recurring revenue. They also unpack Andrew’s current business, MicroAcquire, and talk about how it was started, its current success, and the future plans for the business.
The topics we cover
[6:03] Why did Andrew decide to sell Bizness
[8:12] Background on MicroAcquire
[10:52] Ideal revenue for MicroAcquire
[13:29] Comparing MicroAcquire differs from similar broker websites
[16:59] The future of MicroAcquire
[20:50] Metrics since launching in January 2020
[23:08] Bootstrapping a two-sided marketplace
[26:33] Raising $22 million post-money valuation
[31:25] The hardest thing about bootstrapping a business
Links from the show
If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for an upcoming episode. We’d love to hear from you!
I didn’t know much about Andrew before chatting with him today, but it turns out he grew a SaaS app—essentially bootstrap—that he raised only $100,000, and he grew it to $10 million in annual recurring revenue. It’s an app called BiznessApps, biznessapps.com. Started building it in College, sold it in 2018, and he described it to me as Weebly or Wix for mobile apps. It’s still operating and serving customers but pretty impressed with that as background. That gives some credibility for someone to be able to build an app to that level then exit.
We don’t spend too much time talking about that part of the story. We focus on MicroAcquire, which is a website that helps match buyers and sellers of smaller software and ecommerce startups. You’ll hear a little bit of that story of him thinking of then and launching MicroAcquire, then bootstrapping that two-sided marketplace, getting both sides of the marketplace and thinking about what is the value that he’s trying to offer that’s different than all of the other offerings already available in the markets, to help smaller, early-stage, mostly bootstrap founders exit their businesses.
Before we dive into our conversation, I just want to let you know that applications for our next batch of TinySeed open up on August 9th. If you’re interested in joining our Fall 2021 batch—it will be between 15 and 20 ambitious B2B SaaS companies—head over to tinyseed.com. Enter your email if you’re looking for a bit of funding, a lot of mentorship, a lot of guidance, and what has become an amazing community of SaaS founders helping one another out. tinyseed.com, enter your email to hear about that once applications are open.
One other topic to cover before we dive into the show, I got a really thoughtful email that I wanted to share on the show. It’s about two episodes ago—investing for founders—where I talked about how to save for retirement, thinking through index funds. This email is from Matt Paulson. He’s the founder of MarketBeat, which is a very large and successful financial tracking website. You can track stocks. You can do all types of stuff. You can check it out if you’re interested.
I take Matt’s recommendations and thoughts on financial stuff, especially the stock market very highly because he is knee-deep in it and has been for, I don’t know, the better part of a decade. I’m going to read just some brief excerpts from this, which again, I really appreciate and take with a lot of weight.
He says, “Hey, Rob, I just finished listening to the latest Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. I wanted to pass along a couple of notes that I’ve had good luck with that weren’t explicitly mentioned in the show. Maybe you’ve thought about these things already but I wanted to share them in case any of it is new information.
Number one, you mentioned you have some money sitting around in traditional IRAs. Have you considered paying taxes now and doing a conversion to a Roth? If you do the conversion, you have the ability to do a backdoor Roth IRA, which allows you to do annual contributions to an IRA even though you ensure you’re probably over the income limits.”
This is more advanced. This is next level stuff in investing for founders. I was trying to do just the 101 basics. But backdoor Roth IRAs, you should google them if you don’t know about it. If your CPA tells you you’re over income limits, absolutely talk to them about doing a backdoor Roth. It is something that I’ve been aware of for several years and it’s certainly beneficial to those people making more than the income limits for Roth IRA contributions.
“Number two, if you’re running payroll for yourself through an entity, you can contribute around $57,000 per year—tax deferred—through a 401(k) plan.” This is great, solo 401(k)s are amazing for getting a lot more money and then just whatever it is, $5000 or $6000 you can put into an IRA. This is all US, but there are simple IRAs, there are Sep IRAs which are business-oriented, and then there are 401(k)s which I believe allows you to maximize it.
As long as you have a provider who can take up the burden off of you of running and operating that. If you are running payroll for yourself, and you want to get more money tax-advantaged (or tax-sheltered in this case), which is a first world problem but it becomes a problem further into your career you get and you start getting returns on things whether you’ve done real estate investments, whether you’ve invested in your own startups, whether you’ve invested in other people’s startups, you get a big influx of cash and now you have something that it’s going to grow and you’re just going to be eaten up by the taxes on it. Getting it into these government-sanctioned, I mean this is all within the rules of everything is something to really be thinking about.
“Point number three, health savings accounts. You can stick to $7200 per year in an HSA for your family. You have to be on a specific type of health plan—it’s a high-deductible plan—that allows an HSA, but you have to look into that depending on your state, your plan, and all that stuff.” Yes, I actually know about all three of these things but I really am at more advanced next level approaches to getting more stuff tax advantage, and I appreciated Matt writing in.
To wrap up his email. He says, “I also wanted to let you know that you are right on: (a) most people doing Vanguard index funds for most people’s exposure to the market, (b) doing term life insurance, and (c) dollar cost averaging into crypto.” Great advice there. Thank you so much, Matt, for weighing in. This is what I love about this community of Startups to the Rest of Us, MicroConf. There are a lot of smart people, and a lot of smart people with very niche focus and very deep expertise in these different areas.
If you hear an episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, and you feel like this is an area that you’d want to weigh in on, please always feel free to reach out, email@example.com. With that, let’s dive into my conversation with Andrew Gazdecki and his experience building and growing MicroAcquire over the last 18 months.
Andrew Gazdecki thanks so much for joining me.
Andrew: Thanks so much for having me on the show, Rob. I’m excited.
Rob: I am, too. Folks heard in your intro that you basically mostly bootstrapped business apps to $10 million ARR. You raised only $100,000. Why did you decide to sell it? Was it three years ago, 2018?
Andrew: Yeah, I get Facebook updates, and obviously I announced, so saw my friends on Facebook and family. It was three years ago in May. The reason is clear, I was tired. The story behind that startup, I started it in college, zero experience. I’m not technical, my previous job was at Sears, and I got fired from a graphic design job before that. I had just run the business for such a long period and candidly just got an offer that was hard to refuse.
When you raise capital, even those $100,000, you still have a fiduciary duty to your investors. It was a win for my team, a win for my investors, a win for me personally, and also the customers at BiznessApps. If you go to biznessapps.com it’s still up. You can still make apps, really like the firm.
Short version is I was exhausted. They say you’re in a startup is like cat years. I sold it when I was 29 and I wanted to move on to something new. I wanted to do another startup, but I was tired and I felt I took the startup as far as I could take it. I didn’t have any plans to hand it down to my children or anything like that. Candidly, the business was built with getting acquired in mind and when that opportunity came, that happened.
Rob: That’s great and that kind of gives you the luxury after having that first exit of being able to start crazy ambitious, not that Bizness Apps wasn’t ambitious, but crazy ambitious offerings like MicroAcquire, which is what I want to dig into a lot today. When did you launch MicroAcquire? Actually, before we do that, can you tell folks what it is in your words?
Andrew: MicroAcquire is a marketplace to help founders get acquired. If you’re a startup founder, you can list your company on MicroAcquire completely free. There are no commissions, there are no fees, there’s no exclusivity, and we allow founders to connect directly with buyers.
Really the idea behind it was based on my situation on Bizness Apps where there were times where I just wanted to potentially sell the company. I was exhausted. Meeting buyers, especially when you have a smaller business can be not as easy when you get to higher revenue marks PE firms and other strategic acquirers reach out. But for smaller businesses, that’s not the case. I saw a large opportunity to help entrepreneurs to get acquired and that’s what we do. Short version, it’s a marketplace to buy and sell startups.
Rob: What year did you start it?
Andrew: I had the idea for it, maybe like two years ago. I officially launched it in January 2020 on product time.
Rob: Right before COVID.
Andrew: Yeah, right before COVID. Actually, a lot of people don’t know this, but I hear a lot of excuses from people about how hard it is to start a company especially if you have a job, you have a family, blah-blah-blah. I became a dad in October. I have a wonderful son coming up on two years, so I just became a dad. He also has colic, too, so if you have a kid who has colic…
Rob: That’s tough.
Andrew: Yeah, so I wasn’t sleeping. I also share a company called Spiff where I was leading their sales and marketing team. I just sold my second company, Altcoin, and I was in the top 100 Madden players. I was like this is super unhealthy, I needed something to do. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a CEO again, so I was looking for a number two role.
Took over their sales and marketing team. They had raised about $6 million, revenue was around zero when I joined, and helped them grow to about $2 million in annual recurring revenue. Then they secured a $15 million Series A from Norwest Venture Partners. At that point, I was running MicroAcquire in the background the whole time. I just became a dad, was managing a sales team, also taking over marketing because no one was handling that, and running MicroAcquire completely on the side for free just because I loved it.
I love startups, I love helping entrepreneurs. Once the Series A was closed, I felt my job’s done, I hope they find a replacement for myself, and then I started focusing on my career full time.
Rob: Got it. I guess I’ll ask one question. You said you focus on helping smaller companies, founders, a smaller company. What do you think is your sweet spot? I’m presuming there’s a revenue range where MicroAcquire is perhaps ideal in your mind.
Andrew: The largest transaction to my knowledge is about over $5 million. There are definitely buyers in there that can transact in the hundreds of millions, for sure. It just depends on the business. We see a lot of businesses that range from low seven figures profitable, mid six figures profitable, that’s kind of the sweet spot. Over time, we want to move up to serve larger businesses with other third-party services that you kind of need when you’re selling a larger business.
Right now, the six- to seven-figure revenue mark is where our sweet spot is. Mostly bootstrap profitable companies. Lots of really cool niches, like marketing automation platforms for dentists that’s making a million a year; I love seeing those businesses. That’s where we are now. We’re going to be looking to be going up market to $2 million, $5 million, $10 million, potentially $20 million revenue companies.
Rob: That’s interesting. I would have thought the range would be lower because I feel like that six- to seven-figure, low seven-figure range is covered well by a lot of the brokers in this space. How do you see yourselves as being different from them?
Andrew: What we’re doing at MicroAcquire is we’re consolidating the industry. We want to work with brokers. There’s always going to be a free option to sell on MicroAcquire as a founder. You can list your startup, we’ll get it listed in minutes. That work that a broker does typically takes three months. We get you up and live on MicroAcquired and introduced to buyers within a day.
Think of it as like an Upwork sell directory, where you can hire proper legal counsel, you can hire a M&A advisor, you can hire a business broker. We’re going to be aggregating the entire industry into one single marketplace. Rather than just being a one boutique brokerage firm, we’re bringing in all the best M&A advisors, all the best business brokers that are specifically focused on SaaS, ecommerce, or direct-to-consumer mobile apps, crypto, or whatever your business may be.
That’s the plan, and that makes sense for businesses. If you’re going through (let’s say) a life-changing acquisition, or you have no idea how to sell, like you don’t want to sell, that’s really the main benefit of working with a broker is you don’t have to handle everything. They run the process for you. We’re going to have the ability for you to hire those people but at a much lower rate than you typically would at a regular brokerage firm.
Rob: That was going to be my question. You go up market, even in a multimillion dollar sale, oftentimes, the seller needs a substantial amount of hand-holding. Maybe their books are in bad shape, maybe they just need moral support, or they’re kind of freaking out and they don’t want to sell, or they don’t like the terms and they try to range-quit the thing.
Brokers aren’t just matching buyers and sellers. Brokers offer additional service beyond that, the hand-holding aspect. Is that what you’re saying? Is that longer term, you think that you will have (basically) a marketplace of brokers to help people? It’s a higher touch sale. As soon as you get into a few million, or if you do a $20 million sale, there’s definitely a high touch on both sides. I’ve seen and heard of MBAs sitting there taking weeks to put together financials and arguing with the consultant on the other side who says these financials are […] and you’re wrong, and they’re auditing them, and this and that. At the dollar amount, that becomes an issue.
Andrew: Yeah. When I sold Bizness Apps—this would probably be a good use case—I had light advice from a friend that was an investment banker. I’d asked him questions like is this normal for due diligence? He’d say no or yes. I’d say, should I send this email? He’d say, no, go to bed.
It’s an emotional process, especially if it’s going to potentially change your life. We’re going to be building a directory that not only provides services that an M&A adviser or a broker would provide, but also due diligence or even wealth planning after you sell your company.
For me at Bizness Apps, my law firm was referred to me by an angel investor. I just said, okay, cool, we use them. The guidance that I got from the investment banker, and he did it for free just as a friend, which was super helpful. You just address the mental emotional part of it because you want this deal to close. Sometimes, we had a couple false starts. We had circle closing dates, and then they needed a little bit more information. It can be a roller coaster. If you’re selling a business for more than $10 million or $5 million, it makes sense to get some help.
When you go to broker websites you typically see the same thing. It’s like, hey, we got a 95% success rate, blah-blah-blah, but we’re going to be providing almost a yoke-style directory where you can see real reviews from entrepreneurs. What were they really like to work with? What were the acquisitions that they closed? Statement law firms, like what was their process?
I’m really building this for entrepreneurs. Obviously, there are a lot of really, really great brokerages in the industry today, but we feel this market is much bigger than just two or three big players. There are a lot of really, really great boutique M&A firms. We want to work with them, involve them in the community, and really just build this for entrepreneurs.
If you want to sell your company using Bizness Apps, as an example, I can go on to MicroAcquire. I can connect all my metrics where if I don’t have a VP of Finance, I can connect Stripe or Chatr Mobile, or whatever I’m using for billing, my Google Analytics or traffic. If I need help with the valuations, I can get that. All the resources that you would possibly need, and then immediately start meeting buyers and then transact on the platform without ever leaving.
Rob: I’ve bought and sold businesses, websites, SaaS, all the way from Flippa to forums that don’t exist anymore. I’ve had investment bankers giving me advice. I’ve worked with the main brokers in the space. What I’ve seen is that the smaller purchase price, smaller transactions are the ones that tend to be simpler. Once you get into the millions, again, I’ve seen MBAs who have to go through the books to make sure that everything is intact, and that you can hook Stripe up, but there might be anomalies there or maybe you have invoices that were paid via cheque.
There are all these exceptions that come up in these complex transactions. What’s your sense of can that be automated? Or is that where you have to get someone involved, whether it’s through the marketplace or looking to build or whether it’s just bringing in outside help much like a realtor. I think of Redfin and Zillow. They’re these big marketplaces. Then I think of a realtor. Realtors can come in and help you say, this is what you need, like this is direct one-on-one advice to help you improve the value of the house. We’re going to stake it, you need to get rid of all this stuff. You need to put this coat of paint on here and there.
How do you see MicroAcquire fitting into that? Are you more like Redfin, Zillow? Where are you going to be, because we’re talking about the future now. We’re not talking about today.
Andrew: You nailed it. We’re building the Zillow of M&A. That’s kind of been what we’ve been saying internally where, what is your startup really worth? We’re going to have data-driven valuations based on what we’re seeing in the marketplace. You can connect your financials, give you a range based on what we’re really seeing in the market.
What you’re describing is due diligence. Lots of those parts really can’t be automated. Maybe they can, we’re going to try, but yeah, you need someone to really get books in order sometimes.
When I sold Bizness Apps, half of the conversations were with my CFO. Do you have these financial documents in order? How many support tickets are you taking per day and how fast do you answer them? Even just doing technical due diligence and that sort of stuff, so getting help on all fronts. More importantly, just educating entrepreneurs on this.
A big selling point of brokers is, we’re going to educate you on how to sell your business. With MicroAcquire, our customer is not the buyer. We appreciate buyers, but we’re not going to be the marketplace where, hey, come here and you can get SaaS companies, add profit times three to four week. We smashed down the price so we can sell as quickly.
We’re allowing founders to really empower themselves. So when they go to the table with buyers, they’re at an advantage because right now they’re at a disadvantage, both from an educational standpoint and experience standpoint. We really want to help entrepreneurs get the highest price for their company from the best possible pool of potential buyers. Then if they do need those additional resources, even just light advice, you’ll be able to hire M&A advisors for 10 hours of guidance. If you don’t want to pay a 15% commission, you can hire someone for 10 hours, $5000, just a few questions.
If you want someone to run your whole process, manage all your negotiations, depending on the size of the transaction, you’ll be able to do that too. I hear what you’re saying. When you get into due diligence, requests are made, and those things are hard to automate. You can’t just have like, hey, this company is absolutely perfect. Even if you do automate it, I would want to verify it. I would probably hire someone to help me with due diligence on that.
Other things we’re looking at is escrow. We think there’s room to improve that as well. We’re bringing legal counsel in-house just to provide legal counsel for entrepreneurs as well as looking to sell, looking for a bit of advice or just packaged services. Got a lot of work to do. I mean, that’s probably a short story.
Rob: Today, you launched in January 2020, which is about 18 months ago. What metrics or numbers can you share in terms of how many companies have sold through MicroAcquire, dollar amounts, just whatever it is you’re sharing in public?
Andrew: Over 300 acquisitions, over $100 million in closed deal volume. We have about 70,000 registered buyers, adding about 300 plus daily. We’re in the top 4000 and visited websites in the world. We surpass Flippa, I believe. Don’t quote me on that; it might change. I love Flippa, too. I think they’re a great marketplace and they serve millions of entrepreneurs.
Another thing I’d like to add, too, is we do have competitors in this industry, but really, we’re just building another option for entrepreneurs to sell their business. We see acquisitions almost every other day. I get emails saying like, hey, I bought a company for $100,000, $50,000, $1 million, $2 million. It’s been really rewarding just being able to help entrepreneurs in that way because when those acquisitions happen, that’s how weddings get paid, that’s how down payments on houses get paid, that’s how debt gets paid. The exit is such an important part of the founder’s journey. There’s never been a modern marketplace for M&A, and that’s where we’re looking to build at MicroAcquire.
Rob: Yeah, that’s a trip. I mean 300 is a lot in 18 months. I’m actually surprised that it’s that high. I’m going to take a step back. When I first heard about MicroAcquire, it was sometime last year. I don’t remember when it was, but I remember thinking this isn’t going to work—I’m a perpetual skeptic—this has already been done. Flippa is out there. There are all these other things that do this. How can he possibly get a two-sided marketplace to work in a space where there’s already a lot of competition?
How did you kickstart this? How did you get enough businesses on the site to make any buyers want to sign up? How did you then get buyers to come? You are to date, aside from the funding, we’re about to mention that you raised in the past couple weeks there, but you had effectively bootstrapped it or self-funded it yourself, as far as I know. How did you possibly get both sides of that marketplace to get to critical mass?
Andrew: The first thing I did was open a pretty large cold […] email campaign, just to seed the marketplace, just to educate both buyers and sellers. Then just go on the phone with a lot of seed investors, angel investors, VC funds to see the buyer side, and then also corporate dev teams just to get their feedback. Then also reach out to a ton of different startups seeing if they would be interested in potentially listing and selling.
That was the initial seed. Once we launched on MicroAcquire, it just exploded from there. We saw thousands of users based off of that and it’s kind of just been up into the right ever since. I’m sure we’ll go through some bad times. This isn’t my first startup so I understand, things are going well right now, but we still have so much work to do, so many things that we want to do, so many things that we want to innovate on, and so many problems that we want to solve.
I should also add everyone I hired for MicroAcquire was with me for the acquisition of Bizness App. My VP of product, my VP of engineering, my CFO, my VP of Marketing, my old creative designer starting next week, and she’s awesome. We’re basically building the platform we wish we had when we went to sell Bizness App. Initially, seeding the market, a short answer there was a ton of hustle just basically getting on the phone with people. This is something that I think a lot of founders are scared to do, actually talk to people, actually get feedback. In the early days, it’s the most critical thing you can do.
I’m still on live chat, not nearly as much. I only come in if it’s like a question, but I answered every single email. I took every single call. I answered every single live chat. I sat on that thing sometimes until 10 just to really figure out product/market fit, like what metrics do you need as a buyer to feel comfortable, potentially being interested in acquiring this business? How can we make this marketplace better? How can we build this for the startup community?
I would say that was probably the main thing, is just speaking with people who are already in the startup ecosystem and we’re already actively either looking to sell, or have previously acquired companies, or previously sold companies. I talked to them about all the current players in the market today. What do they like about them? What do they not like about them? I took all that in and built the marketplace around that.
Rob: What I want listeners to take away is I get emails, I get conversations, private emails, been public emails to the questions at Startups for the Rest of Us line here, about starting to set up marketplaces. What most people don’t realize is the sheer amount of hustle that it takes to get that kick started. That it’s not about, I’m going to do some SEO here, I’m going to launch on Product Hunt and Reddit, or Hacker News, or whatever and build that marketplace .
You have to have enough of both sides in place already that it makes sense to then launch on Product Hunt which is what you did. The cold emailing, the cold calling, the dozens if not hundreds of conversations is often what it takes to get a business that once you build that flywheel, as you said it sounds like it’s just started to spin. Product Hunt got it spinning, then more and more people hear about it. It becomes a virtuous cycle, but when you’re starting out there’s no cycle to it, there’s no movement.
Congratulations on your fundraising. This is completely coincidental, but I’ve been trying to get you on the show for a while and finally our schedules made up. Last week I saw MicroAcquire raise $2.8 million, $22 million post money valuation. You’re going big with this thing and I can tell by your vision, the way you’ve been talking about it.
My question here is, how is this a venture scale business if you’re not taking a percentage of the sale? Because when I think you’re at a $22 million post, so for investors to be happy, you’re selling for at least $100 million. I’m guessing at that point, they’re not going to be happy. It says only 5X return. I don’t know much about the firm that’s investing. Usually, they want at least a 10X and probably want to shoot for half a billion to a billion dollars. To get to that amount, you’re going to need to get to a 5th or a 10th of that in revenue.
You’re looking to get to $50–$100 million in revenue. I’m just ballparking. You have not told me this. I don’t know any insight, but this is just how the venture world works. Right now, I believe your only revenue stream is that you charge buyers $290 a year to be on the premium list? Where else is money going to come from? The buyer list pool in the world just isn’t big enough at $290 a year to get to $50 million or $100 million in revenue. Where else is that revenue going to come from as you scale?
Andrew: Great question. I completely agree we’re not going to build under their $500 million business off of premium buyer subscriptions. But the goal is, we have an M&A directory that we’re releasing. These M&A advisors are going to be charging for their services, whether that’s a 5% success fee, 7%, maybe it’s $500 an hour, whatever it may be. We’re going to take a commission off of their commission.
We’re going to be focusing on bringing in as much supply because most business brokers, again, I’m a big proponent of talking to customers before you build this out. What I learned was most business brokers spend half their time on sales marketing. We have thousands of startups on MicroAcquire right now that could potentially opt in and hire them for their services. For that referral, we’re going to take commission off of that. Once you add that up, especially as deal sizes increase, the numbers get pretty interesting.
Then we have other items that we’re lining up in terms of revenue streams. One is if you’re an M&A advisor or broker, you’re going to be able to list on MicroAcquire. We don’t know the fee structure on that yet. These are just ideas, but not only can we help, we want to help brokers succeed as well.
There are thousands of boutique M&A advisors, business brokers managing just a handful deals. They’re not a big firm where you just get a junior associate you’re working directly with, basically a badass who just handles deals very selectively. You’ll be able to hire that person and whatever their rate is, you’ll pay that and then we’ll take a referral commission based off of that.
On top of that, we’re looking to bring in as many brokers and M&A advisors as possible to allow them to list their deals on MicroAcquire to increase supply even further. Again, don’t know what that model looks like, but that’s the two new revenue streams that we’re going to be introducing, and that also applies to legal services as well.
All the additional third party services, all optional. Again, you could still sign up on MicroAcquire, serve your company completely free, never hire a broker, handle the process entirely yourself. We’re still going to innovate on things like valuations, escrow. Being able to transfer the assets is a huge headache. How can we improve upon that? We’re thinking big on all those items.
Another revenue stream is lending. I can’t say who, but we secured a partnership with a startup that’s recently raised (I think) $300 million and they’re looking to finance SaaS acquisitions with over a million in revenue. That’s another line item of potential revenue where we can help entrepreneurs expand the buyer pool. More buyers who now afford businesses because they have financing available and then we take a commission off of that referral as well.
Those are just three, but we’re going to be thinking of more, just how can we add so much value to entrepreneurs, when selling their company. They’ll happily pay for these services. They’re not released yet, but that’s kind of in the works. Short summary is third party services and by referring those third party services, we’re going to be taking a referral fee from those.
Rob: Got it. As we move towards wrapping up, I have one final question for you. You’ve been building this business now for 18 months through a pandemic, built a two-sided marketplace essentially from scratch. What’s been the hardest thing about doing that for you personally?
Andrew: Big fan of bootstrapping, big fan of really capital-efficient businesses, but it’s hard. I was working from 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM at night, family responsibilities included. I take out the trash and pick up dog poop every Thursday, do the dishes, those are my chores around the house. I believed in this and so that was probably the hardest part, was just this sheer amount of work to get this off the ground. I think that’s a lot of things.
That’s a big thing that I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t understand. It takes a lot of work to get a startup going, so I put in that work and I’m fortunate to have a team to help me work more on the business rather than in the business, but the short answer is working in the business, blessing and a curse. That really allowed me to really figure out a model that allows us to move up market to really aggregate this industry, providing more value to entrepreneurs looking to sell their companies.
It was a ton of work. I would say just working in the business was definitely the hardest thing and I still do quite a bit. That’s my big goal. Literally, before this podcast, I was talking to my team, I was like, guys, I’m overwhelmed. I tweeted something out like a CEO should not be working more than 100 hours a week. Delegate, fire yourself from everything, enable your team to succeed. That’s been the hardest part. Probably within a month or two, that’ll be lessened but long story short, working in the business, doing everything for marketing, product management, customer support, sales, like everything, that was hard.
Rob: Yup, you got to wear a lot of hats in the early days. It’s a ton of hard work. Well, sir, thanks so much for coming on the show. If folks want to keep up with you, you are @agazdecki on Twitter, and of course microacquire.com if they want to see what you’re up to. Thanks again for joining me.
Andrew: Yeah, Rob. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Rob: Thanks again for joining me today. If you want to connect on Twitter, I’m @robwalling and this podcast is @startupspod. Every week we actually tweet a cool little video clip of the guest and I, usually it’s 60–90 seconds taken from the episode. You can check that out. If you would like it or share it, I would always appreciate it. I’m definitely looking to get the word out about Startups for the Rest of Us and any help you can lend is always appreciated. Thanks again for joining me this week, and I’ll be back in your earbuds again next Tuesday morning.