How does it feel to sell your company?

I've acquired other companies, but the sale of Mollom to Acquia, was the first time I sold a company of my own. Being the seller felt quite different. It's a interesting mixture of satisfaction tinged with loss. During the negotiation phase you feel joy and excitement. Then you feel frustration as you go through the due diligence process. It's a lot of work. Eventually, the day you hand over the keys you feel like you sold your baby. At the same time, you feel a sense of achievement.

Selling Mollom was a life-changing moment. Not because it was a big financial transaction (it wasn't), but because it proves that I was able to bootstrap and grow a company, steer it to profitability, and successfully exit. It was a great experience, because I know that at some point, I'll have the desire to do that again.


Alberto (not verified):

But, aren't you also the owner and founder of Acquia? So Mollon is still yours...

Jeff V (not verified):

No - Acquia isn't Dries's; he's no doubt still a shareholder, but almost certainly a minor shareholder at this stage. That's how Venture funding works; the company sells shares, with the money from the sale being used to grow the company. In doing so the company gains additional shareholders. Normally at some point number of shares the founders own becomes smaller than the shares owned by other parties. At that point the founder no longer controls the company. Though in practice this usually happens before that point, since the skills needed to found a company are not the same as the skills needed to grow a company, and usually outside investors insist on bringing on board a proven management team to manage the growth.

So no, he wasn't selling it to himself.

Jonjon (not verified):

I'm confused, I thought you were one of Acquia's founders ? It feels like you sold a company to yourself but I'm obviously missing something like other acquia owners perhaps ?

Sean Bannister (not verified):

@Alberto @Jonjon Yes Dries is also a founder and hence a shareholder in Acquia. So he certainly still "owns" a chunk of Mollom, but Acquia is a big company so I think the feelings he's explaining are due to him no longer being as directly involved in the project. As I believe Mollom only had a few employees so Dries would've been more hands own.