Readers will remember back in July of 2016 when Leadpages made its first and only acquisition.
Drip was a relatively small marketing software company from Fresno, California that had been bootstrapped into a seven figure business. Clay Collins, CEO of Leadpages at the time, came across Drip and made an offer to buy and bring the company to Minneapolis.
Its learned that the duo have recently departed from Drip — Reimer earlier this year and Walling last month.
Reimer says that “The decision to move on from Drip was motivated by my personal desire to start a new company and get back to the earlier phase of startup life.” Database observers are already aware of Level Technologies, Reimer’s ambitious next venture, positioning itself as a ‘Slack alternative’ for workplace communications.
“I realized I wasn’t the person to continue running product for Drip as it enters this next phase of growth,” adds Rob Walling for his part. “My departure was completely amicable and Derrick’s decision to leave in February also had an impact on me, as we had worked closely for more than 6 years.”
“They were with us for nearly 2 years which is long in the post-acquisition world,” said John Tedesco, who replaced Collins as the CEO last summer, a year after the Drip acquisition. “They are both super creative, early stage entrepreneurs so I’m excited to see what is next for each of them. Best yet, they have no immediate plans to leave Minneapolis which is great for the tech community.”
Though Collins left Leadpages to start another company called Nomics he has since remained local, as it seems Reimer and Walling intend to do.
John Tedesco now manages not just two software products — as Leadpages + Drip always have been — also two completely separated companies operating under the umbrella of a lesser known business name Avenue 81, Inc.
While Avenue 81 has always been more of a behind the scenes entity, it’s worth noting that technically, Leadpages didn’t actually buy Drip as it was communicated at the time, and maintained since. Avenue 81 bought Drip.
Tedesco admits it is unique and likens the dynamic to how Atlassian owns both Confluence and Jira. As analogous as that may sound, Atlassian has also established a recognizable name in the technology industry, a long and arduous process which remains to be seen for Avenue 81. Though not that it has to.
“It’s just that we don’t promote the name Avenue81 directly,” Tedesco explains. “The thinking around our target customers for each business has evolved since the Drip acquisition in July 2016. The overlap in needs between those two customer segments was too small to warrant an integrated approach to the market.”
While that last part makes perfect sense, it doesn’t alleviate the challenges faced with simultaneously being the CEO of two legally separated companies, products, teams, and brand names. It’s hard enough to succeed at at one, but now parent company Avenue 81 has essentially created twice the opportunity to win or lose with its $38m in venture backing.
Tedesco, who delineates himself on LinkedIn as the CEO of each company, not Avenue 81, says Drip now has 63 employees with 16 open positions, while Leadpages counts 48 employees and 12 open roles. Drip is now measurably bigger than Leadpages (at least in terms of headcount + hiring plans) with a noticeable shift in marketing Drip over Leadpages (at least in name). Time will tell how these two companies and brands can co-exist, and whether Avenue 81 becomes more widely recognized.