Q&A With Doug Berg On The MyAlerts Sale To Think3

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Repeat Minneota Tech entrepreneur Doug Berg has done it again — this time with the start, scale, and sale of MyAlerts to Think3, announced yesterday.

We reached out to hear more about the deal from the source:

Why the decision to sell?

It was a long time coming…we’ve been at it for nearly six years here, I mean not that it was forever, but we’ve been in perpetual fundraising and business building mode for some time…

Did it take longer that you wanted?

It took as long as it should, but really the hardest part about this space and sale was the combination of the retail apocalypse mixed with GDPR and data privacy forces at play. Along the way, we amassed some great customers, and this transition allows them to up their marketing game dramatically. All that said, it was just time for a better and bigger partner partner who could level up!

How does Think3’s model work in that sense?

They layer companies together that play well. Andy Tryba runs the firm and their tech group, so he manages a number of different businesses that act in a network effect that offer very specific applications for their customer network.

For example, if they work with Home Depot, they have a basket of solutions that they can offer them as opposed to us being a separate. So the network effect that happens when they acquire a business means both them and us can offer more options to customers. It’s like an Amazon Prime membership that offers them a menu of products and services at a deal.

How did Think3 find you or did you find them?

It’s foggy to me at this point…we were working with an investment banking firm and talked with a lot of potential buyers along. Think3 was aggressive and pitched their value very well and will be a good suitor in terms of customer transition, integration, and support.

What do you think attracted Think3 to MyAlerts?

It’s multi-dimensional. Access to some of our biggest customers who have been with us for years; the proven technology platform has a role to provide resources even to some of their portfolio companies. And certainly some of our team members may be leveraged which could be extended to some of their other companies.

Are you part of the team now?

I’ll likely be transitioning in the next month or two…

To where and why so short lived?

Undetermined for now…I’m on a lot of boards and have investments and advising so it’s really TBD. My model for doing startups is to start and scale in terms of execution; then I bring in a CEO and a management team and either stay in evangelism or new product dev mode. So in this case it’s grown to the appropriate level and time to hand the reins over to a new CEO/leader.

Either way that was my intention, just like I did with Jobs2Web and techies.com

Do you anticipate doing another startup ever again?

It’s always hard to tell. I don’t want to admit my addiction to startups…I’m reluctant right now to think about putting another jersey on and going back out there. As you know, it kicks the crap out of you.

It’s said that once you’re lucky, twice you’re good, and the third you’re a glutton for punishment…I don’t know what a fourth would mean?

What does that mean for the MyAlerts team?

We’re still working that out; Andy Tryba is onsite in Minneapolis this week. The team was already down to about a dozen people at the sale, so only those most critical to specific functions were still with us as we drove to become profitable. So I think some of them will stay in place and others will not.

How much overall did you raise with MyAlerts?

It was around $13m all in with Grotech being one of our largest backers.

Are you disclosing the price?

No.

What did you learn this time around?

In environments when selling a software solution that requires more than one part of a business or decision maker to be involved, the complexity goes up significantly.

Just because you build a great product with measurable ROI selling into a market full of pain – that still doesn’t mean that it’s going to be fast or easy. For example, if I was just selling to marketing it would be 10 times easier than just selling to marketing and merchandising. Or marketing, merchandising, and technology, etc.

The both fortunate and unfortunate aspect of the company is that it provided broad impact, which made it very stickly. But the socialization and selling cycle was so extended that I didn’t anticipate how difficult it was going to be, especially among businesses that were in tailspin from an industry perspective.

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