Season 2, Episode 6
Having fun building your business is a competitive advantage - Andrew Gazdecki (MicroAcquire)
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About this episode
Andrew Gazdecki loves building businesses. He was the weird kid in high school with an eBay store. He built and sold a job board in college. He used the proceeds to start another company, still in college, which he sold before the turned 30.
Andrew’s latest venture is MicroAcquire, a marketplace for buying and selling online businesses. The platform boasts a community of more than 150,000 entrepreneurs and raised $6.3m in funding last year.
In the latest episode of Two-Sided, Andrew talks to Sjoerd about:
- How his entrepreneurial journey influenced his approach to building MicroAcquire
- Making non-obvious bets
- The importance of loving what you do
- And much more.
A really inspiring episode, giving a serial entrepreneur’s perspective on building a marketplace business.
Resources mentioned in this episode
[00:00:00] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Hi, Andrew. Welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:02] Andrew Gazdecki: Thanks. for having me, Sjoerd super we're super excited to be chatting with you. All things, uh,
[00:00:08] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah, I'm very excited. Well, I followed MicroAcquire for quite a bit. Now I've been you making a lot of noise in the startup and SA business. So I knew of you, but I had no idea you had used shared in the past and you mentioned something.
So I'm really glad we hooked up. But before we go into all of those things, we usually like to set the stage a little bit and like introduced to people who are talking. Cause I have heard of you, but many people have also not heard of you. So could you tell us a little bit what you did before you started micro.
[00:00:35] Andrew Gazdecki: how much, how much time we got you want the one minute version, two, five,
[00:00:40] Sjoerd Handgraaf: we can do, uh, if you have a five minute version, that would be perfect. Okay.
[00:00:44] Andrew Gazdecki: Uh, yeah, my name's, uh, Andrew Gazdecki, I've kind of been an entrepreneur my whole life. I would say I was kind of that weird kid in high school with the E bay store, even though you needed to be 18, I figured out a way to get in and just fell in love with business early.
I've always loved building stuff online and built a job board in college, built a SAS company. I sold the job board to build a SAS company in college. Um, exited that business when I was 29, then started a crypto company for some reason. And the. Purpose of that company was, we were trying to speed up times on the Ethereum blockchain.
This was in like 2018 and the, I saw the first big crypto crash. And now we have another big crypto crash, very similar as you've been through one now, a MicroAcquire. So MicroAcquire is a startup acquisition marketplace and we help mainly bootstrap founders or just any sort of. Online software company generally below 20 million in value sell.
And the problem that we're trying to solve is when you have a company that isn't of scale, let's say over 50 to a hundred million, typically you work within investment banker. They charge a huge fee. I went through that at business apps or. You know, you'd sell to a strategic, but a strategic buyer would typically only be interested once you're at scale.
And so there's just millions of these small startups being created. But the only way to really sell them is if someone approaches you or if you work with a business broker and they can take as much as 10 to 15%, which is a lot. And so, yeah, so I looked at that and I looked at the market as I. Exiting all coin.
My second start, or I have like five starters, but I only, I only count like three, the, the incorporated ones, if you will. And I was looking to buy a SaaS company and I just couldn't find anything that appealed to me or I felt was of quality. And then. I felt the whole market could use some innovation in terms of making acquisitions easier.
And, you know, acquisitions is such a mysterious thing for so many founders. And the first thing that happened when I sold business apps was I had like 10 friends call me and be like, how'd you run the buyer? Like, how did you go through due diligence? And it just kind of dawned on me that, you know, arguably the most important part of the founder's journey is exit and there's books.
There's, you know, podcasts, everything on marketing, fundraising, sales, product development, but nothing on had actually exit your business on the final part. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I thought there was a huge void in the market and, you know, large market, low MP lack of innovation. So I thought. And I love startups.
I'm like a huge startup nerd. I, I love Sharetribe. I've read your whole book. I built a marketplace previously on Sharetribe. I should also add that. So in between all coin and MicroAcquire, cause I always like to build stuff where I'm, I feel kind of uncomfortable if you will. Like, I build a job board and I build a SaaS company and the next logical thing you think to do.
Start another SA, but no, I started crypto company and then now I'm building a marketplace. I just love different business models and studying them. And we can talk about this in more detail, but I built a, a podcast rental marketplace where there's like studios, where you can, you know, rent a professional studio to record like an in-person podcast.
And so I just built that using Sharetribe and then actually sold it on my wire as one of the first.
[00:04:37] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Really I could have actually used that now because like, I'm, I'm actually on holiday and, but we managed to book this and I'm now actually borrowing the office of my friend. And I was looking like, man, are there like podcast studios around?
And it's like, will be impossible to find, to be honest. So I could have used that.
[00:04:52] Andrew Gazdecki: It's still up. It's called podcast rental.com and it's still on Sharetribe.
[00:04:56] Sjoerd Handgraaf: All right. All right. I'm gonna try. I didn't even know that. Yeah, that's cool. So you said you sold multiple companies, so did the idea Dawn on you then already that like, Hey, you know, this could be a thing or did you just, did you put that together later when you're like, because you're right.
Like when you said like rings totally true. Like there's like a million books in marketing, starting, whatever, a lean startup, whatever. Term sheets, you can download, but there's nothing about like, at least I've never come across anything of that scale about the exit. So, so at what point did you really get the idea?
Yeah, I would
[00:05:27] Andrew Gazdecki: say it was always kind of in the back of my mind, in terms of just an area that brought together, all people that were interested in, like who buys startups. Like that's the first question, you know, you have financial buyers that would. Private equity groups, high net worth individuals, family offices.
There's a number of different sometimes even BC firms for Boltons for their portfolio companies, startups by other startups, both venture backed and bootstrapped, and just getting everybody in one area where everything is basically standardized. All listings are anonymous because if you're putting your company up for sale, the last thing you wanna have happen is your employees find out too early or your customers.
And this, when I re I remember when I. Told my team at business apps that we were being acquired. You know, you get questions from, am I becoming a millionaire or a billionaire? Yeah. Or am I getting fired? Like it, it's just a crazy wave of emotions. And so, you know, you really only wanna kind of, you know, share that information in my opinion, when.
It feels like it's really gonna happen. Otherwise you kind of leave this sort of weird or staying of, are you gonna sell the company next month? Like what's gonna happen? Like yeah.
[00:06:47] Sjoerd Handgraaf: You know, are you leaving money on the table? Do you get a ride valuation, those kind of
[00:06:51] Andrew Gazdecki: things. Yeah. So, so basically what I did at the very beginning was I wrote down what I did not wanna.
Or I guess put a different way things that would bring me like positive energy. And so the, the one at the top was I wanted to serve startup founders because I I'm, again, I I'm like a startup nerd. I could probably name like, I, I don't know. I, I know a lot about different startups. Product releases. I'm always just, you know, studying their marketing tactics, how they're growing, just testing how their products were fun.
So I knew, and I think that's just a, a big, important item for every founder to really figure out because the customer that you serve is someone you're gonna be talking to. A lot for potentially over a decade. So if you hate going to the dentist and you make a world changing CRM for dentist, but you don't like dentist, it's gonna be a hard decade for you.
Yeah. And maybe that's not the best answer, but
[00:07:51] Sjoerd Handgraaf: yeah. But I get what you mean. Yeah. Like how is that with crypto? I mean like that's a rough market to deal with, I
[00:07:56] Andrew Gazdecki: guess that was a learning. Yeah. So that was a good learning with all coin was. You know, that customer base is so it's just a wild market. And also the first application of what we were developing was basically like a decentralized coin base.
So you can trade different tokens. And we got to a point where we were making progress and. I kind of made the call where, you know, to really scale the company, we would need more capital. And then two, I could never go to sleep at night knowing that I have like the cryptocurrency, cuz they get hacked all the time.
It's literally like, it is like there's, it's a bank fault. That's easily hacked. And so I just. Kind of had a hard talk with my team, like, and it's a very technical project. I'm not a technical co-founder. So that adds to my list. I like the benefits of a marketplace business model, because really, you know, you definitely wanna innovate, but the, the value is in the supply and, um, the demand on both sides.
I mean, if you look at Craigslist, I mean, that's probably a good example of how, how low tech a marketplace can be. And. Three was really having a unique insight. And so, you know, when I, when I looked at that acquisitions kind of popped up in my head just because I had been through two of 'em, I've been on the sidelines of, of a few of 'em just from, you know, angel investing and stuff like that.
So I thought it would be really fun business to run. And that was probably my number one thing. I'm big believer that if you wanna be in the top percent, top 1% of anything you do. Art music, business sports. You have to love it. Like you have to enjoy like the daily building. You have to enjoy doing the stuff that isn't fun, but moves the business forward every single day and find a way to make it fun.
And if you get the things right, like your customer, your business model in a market that you truly enjoy, that increases your odds of success, in my opinion, because it's really hard to compete with the founder where. It's work to you, but it's fun to them. So they're gonna be putting in, you know, 130% cuz they like, they're just playing like their it's like a game.
Yeah. It's like they're playing their favorite video game. Yeah. Their favorite video game you're and you're you're at work. So that was kind of the principles I, I put together and I, I put a lot of thought in my third startup. Again, there's been others like failures and stuff like that. But, you know, I wanted to really think through this one, cause I felt I kind of rushed in all coin just cuz crypto was booming and I was like, oh, this is the next wave.
You know, Mo mobile was a paradigm shift in tech, crypto, blockchain. I think still has a lot of potential paradigm shift. So I rushed into that and I rushed into business apps, but that worked out really well. I'm, I'm really grateful for that outcome, but the point I'm trying to make is, uh, I think a lot of founders should just put a lot of thought into the businesses.
They start because you might be running it for, you know, many, many years, if not decades.
[00:10:59] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah. So you had that list, you said like, I like the audience, what was the second thing? Like the third thing was like a unique insight. And then what was the second thing? Business model? Uh, business model. Yeah. So you go a two sided marketplace.
So for MicroAcquire on the, on the supply side, we have, uh, businesses, right? Like SA businesses, the online business, and then demand side. You already sketched that a little bit. Investment banks, private equity or no, actually not investment banks. Right. What did you say? Like private equity. I can go through.
Yeah, yeah, please. Yeah. Let's let's draw it out a little bit. Yeah.
[00:11:29] Andrew Gazdecki: Okay. So on the supply side, we mainly focus on profitable SaaS companies that would probably account for, I would say probably 60% of the listings and the acquisitions we see. Then we also focus on eCommerce newsletters. We also, you can buy marketplaces on our marketplace.
We've expanded into some other categories, but really just the definition is a profitable software company. And then on the demand side, we work with, you know, multi-billion dollar private equity funds, public companies, venture back startups. If you wanna call 'em startups, cuz after certain size, what is the startup anymore?
Boots, trap startups role at plays. Those are people that have raised a fund to specifically acquire a certain type of startup. And create a portfolio of 'em a good example of that would be Shopify apps, aggregators, like thio kind of, you know, a wide variety. And then also first time buyers too. So people that maybe are really good at marketing and they wanna build a company, but they don't have an idea or they're not technical or, or whatever it may be.
So, you know, on micro core, you can buy a start of verlo as you know, 10,000 all the way up to, you know, 20 million. and so, and that's everything in between what you're really buying is you're buying product market fits. So you're buying a starter that is working. It has some customers, it's got a little bit of a spark, maybe it's on fire, and those are some of the bigger ones.
But that can save you two years of time, because, you know, first you think of an idea like this is the typical way of building a startup. Think of an idea, you know, chase around customers for feedback, iterate, iterate, iterate, find product, market fit, get, then you gotta go find customers and you get some and stuff like that.
It's hard, you know, creating startups is not easy. And so,
[00:13:19] Sjoerd Handgraaf: and not everyone's a builder, right? Like, I mean, some like some people are like scalers, optimizers, other people are like builders and then they lose interest. So, so I guess the first group is maybe a great potential buyer also,
[00:13:30] Andrew Gazdecki: right? Like, yeah. The, the two main reasons that I see.
Entrepreneurs selling their businesses is either they've started working on a new project, like one of my favorite stories. And this person is an investor. Now he had a side project called median and, or it was his full-time startup. And it was like a think of like you land on a webpage and a live chat box pops up.
And you're like, I have no idea how to use this product. What do I do? And instead of saying like, Hey, click this, you can actually virtually log into the computer. Click that. And like, it's like interactive zoom inside of a web. It's a great product, but he had started working on a, a different startup with another co-founder that is doing really well.
It's I think gonna be a very large company that's called, uh, workshop. And they sold that company for let's call it half a million within 30 days. And they used that funding to fund. Their new business. And now the buyer of that company. Is median is trying to grow that business to, you know, a couple million in revenue.
And he's perfectly happy with that. So micro wears has a lot of cool stories like that, where we allow, you know, builders to exit their business, instead of just kind of saying like, oh, moving on the next thing they're able to, you know, build something, focus on their specialty, keep having fun, sell it, use the proceeds towards their next project.
And then the. Is now in the hands of someone who can potentially take it farther or, you know, breathe in some extra new energy into it. So. Yeah.
[00:15:09] Sjoerd Handgraaf: And like the last couple years, like, I don't know how much, for example, you see no code playing a role in that, but like you see this really, this rise of these like, you know, micro sauce, right?
Like couple of these, these people that I follow on Twitter, like they build like, um, a thing to resize a picture, you know what I mean? Like that's like some kind of online service that is super great for resizing picture or like this maybe maximum, I don't. So maybe 10 50,000, Mr. If you played really well, but like, yeah,
[00:15:34] Andrew Gazdecki: that's a, it's, it's a great business.
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. And that was a thesis I had around MicroAcquired too, was, you know, there was gonna be a rise of, you know, what you say, quote, unquote, micro SAS, cuz startups have been democratized where we have tools where you don't have to be technical to build a product. You know, it's so easy to find customers these days, if you are active on social or if you are in the right communities or if you niche it to a certain market.
And so I felt there was gonna be a lot more small software companies than just the outliers and the billion dollar companies, which is all you really hear about, which kind of can skew your view. The reality of entrepreneurship and startup is, but like for every, you know, unicorn there's 10,000, you know, profitable, smaller businesses.
So, um, that's the market that we wanna serve. And also a part of MicroAcquire is, you know, bringing like, you know, encouragement and support and recognition to people who are, you know, foregoing the venture path and building something you.
[00:16:38] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah. Could we go back a little bit? Like what was, uh, because you know, you've built multiple companies.
So sometimes that means that people go really big the next time. What was the first version of MicroAcquire? Like, like, was it just you and a, a list of companies on a sheet of paper? Like, what was the, you know, what's the very first time that you sort of consciously started working on it? Like, did you build something big?
How small did you start? Could you tell us a little bit about.
[00:17:04] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. So for this one, I kind of overengineered it like as a MVP, I worked with an agency and cuz the, the thought process was okay, so there's a huge trust element. And I borrowed a lot of, you know, Parallels from mint.com. For those that don't know, mint.com was acquired by Intuit.
It's like a banking software, personal finance tool, and they focus heavily on trust and security and brand and design. And so I felt that, you know, in order to get founders to trust MicroAcquires, a legitimate platform, it needed to look and feel like it. A very high quality product. And so we focus and we still do to this day, it's one of our core principles is design and user experience.
And so that was the start of it. But yeah, I mean, I launched it in January of 2020, and the initial go to market was just me. Just, I guess to summarize it, it was probably probably best described as just brute force. Like I, I had a cold email campaign running. I was taking calls with anyone who would listen.
I was going on podcasts like this. I was doing all customer support. I would sit on live chat. I was also doing product management. I was, we would write. Or I would write a daily newsletter with all the new deals that came in the following day.
[00:18:33] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Sorry to interrupt. But the actual product was already like quite smooth.
But did you do some kind of validation before that, before you committed to building that thing? Like how, you know, like, okay, you, you, you referred earlier that when you sold, I think it was business apps. You mentioned that you had some friends call you, so, you know, there's a need, but like how do you, how did you figure out that the demand side existed?
Like how did you validate the idea before you contacted the agency and said, okay, this is what I.
[00:18:57] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. So the, the best businesses, in my opinion, this goes against like vental wi wisdom, but I always try to. Place a obvious bet to me. That's not obvious to everybody now that will become obvious in the future.
So I'll give you three examples of that. So business apps, right when iPhone app came out, no one knew how to build mobile applications. And so I said, Every business is gonna want a mobile application, but no one knows how to do it. So I made an obvious bet to me because I was in college. Everyone had iPhones, all the local bars wanted iPhones and restaurants to let their customers know when they had specials.
So I saw that happening firsthand. So I had a unique insight and then all coin I'd made. Not obvious bet, I guess this one, maybe isn't the best bet, but I, I still made it, but I felt that, you know, there's a lot of potential in blockchain, but it's really slow. And if we were able to bring, you know, essentially take it from, dial up with, you know, the AOL, like.
You know, so take it from that to broadband speed, it would help a lot of the applications. And so that was where our focus was very challenging technical problem that is still being worked on today. But with MicroAcquire, I, you know, Made an obvious bet to me that wasn't as obvious to others, that there was gonna be a trend of entrepreneurship through acquisition.
I had started to hear about other people acquiring companies, so just regular people. And they had a portfolio of maybe 10 small companies generating let's call it anywhere from $200,000 a year to a million a year. And it fascinated me. And I said, this is. People are gonna be doing. And there needs to be a marketplace that, you know, really streamlines and standardizes and consolidates all this into one area.
And so that, that was the bet that I made. So I did do some, you know, validation in terms of, you know, talking with buyers, talking to sellers and across the border is like, yes, this is, I wanna start this. And there was also a previous attempt called exit. Which, uh, we've since acquired, but I studied all the mistakes that they made and I looked at what was going wrong.
And then I looked at other marketplaces and the space and, you know, read all the, the reviews in terms of what was wrong and read a lot about scams and lack of customer support and just kind of, you know, anything goes almost kind of Craig's the style. So I, I validated it in another way, in terms of.
Looking at the landscape of the market and setting other options for selling your business and then correcting all the issues that people were complaining about and complaining about loudly, like screaming for another solution. So when I first launched MicroAcquire, I just put it on product hunt. One day, I.
There was no plan behind it. It was just like, all right, let's, let's go ahead and launch this. I think it's ready. And it just exploded like a, like a bomb. It was product of the day. And then obviously you get the spike and then like, it goes away after the next day. So you're like, oh, bombing off. Like, when I say a bomb went off, like it just goes off.
It doesn't the bomb. Doesn't keep going. But it was being shared by so many people, because so many people, I think it struck a chord within the startup community in terms of like, yes, we need something like this. Like I have like a business that I wanted to sell and, you know, this seems like a great option.
And another key thing that we did was, you know, we didn't char, we, we still don't charge commissions. So we were the first marketplace to come out and say, Yeah, you can sell your business. So we monetize by charging buyers. So think of it like we are a Ferrari dealership where you can go in and look at all the cars, but if you wanna know the owner who.
Have additional questions. You wanna have a conversation about buying that car. You pay an annual subscription for access, and we're gonna charge commissions in the near future. But we wanna do that when we get to a point where we feel like we've added so much value into the acquisition process where people will willingly pay, cuz these are high ticket items.
So it's really easy to take a 3% take or rake on, you know, a $20 transaction. But when it's like a $2 million transaction, you gotta really earn that. So. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:23:23] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Especially, yeah, because I was gonna throw in a dis intermediation question at some point, but like, you already answered it because you don't really, you don't really have that problem.
But of course, like thinking about two-sided marketplace network affects interplay, like transaction still is. Probably one of the best ways to monetize on that. So, so eventually I'd imagine you wanna do that. Yeah. And you wanna just like, because what are the, when you say, like, what are the things that people were complaining about before your solution existed?
Like, I imagine like trust, you know, in the product, like how do you make sure that that trust exists and how do you maintain
[00:23:59] Andrew Gazdecki: that? Well, the first thing is just ensuring that every listing is accurate and valid. To avoid scams. We've never had a single scam on MicroAcquire. We've had some listings reported by customers where they'll be like, this looks a little fishy and we will review it.
And. You know, promptly, take it down. If it does look fishy, but we ID verify every seller we ask for proof of ownership, you're able to connect your real financial metrics through Stripe or profit well or bur metrics or any of the oh yeah. Billing systems. You can even connect Google analytics. And then we do the same thing on the buy side, where we ask for, you know, proof of funds.
We, I deify them. And then we also ask them to verify their identity through LinkedIn. So as a seller, like when I was selling business apps, I did a ton of due diligence on the buyer. I really researched into them because the last thing you wanna do is, you know, get to the ninth inning of an acquisition, and then you find out the seller doesn't have a funds they're not credible.
And then also other marketplaces or other places you'd go to sell your. You know, you don't have control over the process. So I wanted full control over selling my business. So I kind of just, you know, scratched my back in terms of, you know, how this marketplace should operate. But the disin remediation part it's a tough word is, is leakage.
Yeah, it it's, it it's, it's a hard one, especially for this cuz we're selling. Assets that, you know, are more expensive than, you know, your home, you know, like, unless you're, you know, extremely rich. Um, but so, uh, what we've been, you know, building is like a guided acquisition process kind of in the similar vein that.
Know why com made or standardized a lot of early stage investing with the safe, the simple agreement for future equity. And so we have a letter and 10 builder, and then we have a asset agreement builder, and then we have escrow integrated. So we have this like flow that you can go through and that leads you straight to an acquisition.
And then we have a lot of resources and we also have a team that can help you, you know, guide you along the way to the right buyer.
[00:26:12] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah, because like, from what I like interviewing many people for the podcast and like analyzing all other marketplaces, like the, the fundamental thing always with this intermediation is just that you, you need to own that RA, right?
Like you need to add as much of that value to the actual transaction in order to take it out again. So, so I could, like what you're saying makes total sense. Like escrow, all the validation, like all that stuff that if you just, you know, if you just take the check, that's not, that's not enough for these kinda, these kinda.
[00:26:39] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. Like, like, like legal dog creation, um, transferring assets, um, yeah. Uh, we even allow you to find advisors within the marketplace. So if you need help in terms of, you know, accounting or legal, or just an M and a advisor, M and a stands for mergers and basically a fancy term for an advisor to help you.
Who has experience with acquisitions? You can hire those with the MI MicroAcquire. So we've been adding all these add-on pieces then probably Q4 will we'll start rolling out. Commissions marketplace wide. I'm
[00:27:13] Sjoerd Handgraaf: gonna throw in another of my favorite questions, which is always about like liquidity and I'm constraining the marketplace, right?
Like if you have a marketplace operating, for example, in multiple geographies or in multiple categories, did you constrain MicroAcquire initially in any way? Like, did you, for example, only take sauce, businesses or only sausages a certain value or on the buyer side, did you only take PE firms or something like that?
Did you do so.
[00:27:38] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. Yeah. Good question. So that's the start was only SaaS companies. And then we naturally just saw a lot of eCommerce companies coming in newsletters, even crypto companies, like I said, marketplaces. So we've created categories for all those types of businesses, but initially it was just SAS.
So all the messaging was just SAS because there was no area to buy a quality SAS company where you. See the actual performance and health of the business. What is the, you know, monthly recurring revenue? What is the customer acquisition cost? What is churn? And so we started with that. One other change that we've made as we've grown is we no longer list pre-revenue startups.
So we wanna be the marketplace that. Again, you're buying product market fit like a real active business, not a starter website or just a app that maybe is a clone script and uploaded onto a server. We want to sell, you know, actual startups that have customers. Um, and so that's been a change that, that we've made to differentiators of all, but yeah, in the beginning we went really, really narrow and really, really specific.
And that was mainly bootstrap, SAS. Okay.
[00:28:52] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Can I ask, like, what was the first transaction you did on MicroAcquire? Like, do you have a good story or what is the first good story about like a company that got sold that you're like, oh, wow. This is the moment where I felt like, ah, this is working.
[00:29:05] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah, that's a great question. So the first one, I remember not so well, but I, I was in Hawaii. It was right before the, it was basically when the. Hit in March of 2020. And this person just said, cuz there was a lot of me features that were missing. So when a listing would go live, we'd have no idea. Or I would've no idea if anyone contacted the seller or reached out for additional information, we just hadn't built in all that functionality yet.
And then I got an email from this individual saying he had like 30 offers on his company and I was like, whoa, Now we can, you know, track that activity and kind of have a predictive score of like, you know, we have letter of intents that are created and then send to buyers or excuse me, sellers in micro core.
So we can kind of tell when a startup is on the verge of closing, but. Back then it was kind of like a black box. Like, again, I'm not technical, so I couldn't go into the backend servers and look or anything like that. But I'd say, you know, the moment I really was like, this is a special startup and one I wanna spend, you know, a good amount of my time on is there was this individual in India and he had created a coding education platform that helped you pass.
Interview tests for, you know, the Fang companies, the software engineering test. And he was based in India, like Fang, like,
[00:30:30] Sjoerd Handgraaf: uh, Google, Facebook, apple.
[00:30:32] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Yeah. Yeah. Like the coding tests. I'm not, I'm not familiar with what those tests are like, but he sold it for let's call, you know, over a quarter million dollars and.
23 in India. So he was just graduating college and he wrote me the most heartfelt email, just saying like, he's paying off his debt. He's like buying his mom like a house, like, and this is 250,000 to a 23 year old in India. So that goes a long ways. And so that's, that's when I was really like, you know, this, this is kind of bigger than me and you.
[00:31:05] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah, I love that. That's like, I don't know, like I'm a big fan of this like democratizing thing. Like I've always worked in like, like Sharetribe for example. Right? Like it's like democratizing access to building a marketplace and like other many other startups that I work with have some, some concept like that.
Right. Like I worked for an app that democratized access to music education. Right. So you can learn guitar on your phone, like, and this is kinda the same thing, right? Like that, that person in India would probably have a really hard. Selling that like the whole process to find a buyer. So that's like, yeah, that's a terrific story about the buyers, by the way.
So you, you told a little bit about like how you onboarded supply side, right. Product. Like that's I I'd imagine at least like, of course there's a lot probably PC activity there as well, but that's mostly frequented by makers. Did you have any tricks to get the buyer side on board or any strategies that work really well for you that you are willing to.
[00:31:58] Andrew Gazdecki: I mean, I don't have, like, I always say with marketing, there's no silver bullets. And what I mean by that is there's no, like one thing that really worked, it was just consistency. And I think just telling the story of MicroAcquire and why it needs to exist. Intrigued a lot of people, both on the buy side and the sell side, because, you know, a buyer could also be a seller and a seller could also be a buyer.
And so my, my marketing kind of appealed towards both if I'm guess. In the early days, we're, we're a little bit more, you know, data driven now in terms of how we acquire, you know, supply side and demand side. But a lot of it just comes through referrals, just through word of mouth of people. Who've either sold a business or bought a business or like the highest.
Attribution that we have is just direct. So people hearing about us talking about us, I've heard some, my, this is a true story. My son was at, uh, swim lessons and my wife was telling another dad what I do. And he's like, oh, MicroAcquire. I like, I'm buying a company off of there right now. I don't know who he is or what, so my point being is, you know, I think, you know, if, if you, if you really, really hit the nail on the, and the, and these market opportunities are very, very rare is when it's just such a dying market need.
And no one really just. Understood how to position it correctly, how to really build that story. So people get excited around it. You know, if you get all that correctly, when you launch it, you know, it's really powerful. And I kept sharing that story over and over. So if I had to say one thing, I'm just gonna go with just the story behind, you know, my previous, you know, startup experience and applying all that learning to.
You know, the story behind MicroAcquire. And I think this story is what really resonated the most with both buyers and sellers.
[00:33:54] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah, totally. Yeah, no, I mean, and, and what you say is true, right? Like there's a high, um, like symmetry between potential suppliers and demand people or like buyers and sellers.
So that makes a lot of sense. Yeah.
[00:34:04] Andrew Gazdecki: Yeah. And one thing I I'm totally gonna plug this, but, um, so I wrote a book about my experience, bootstrapping business apps, all the way from idea deck, where I talk about how I built the company, how I found the buyer, what was going, what was it like going through the acquisition?
So it's definitely a good read if anyone's listening and they're wondering, you know, how do I build a startup?
[00:34:26] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Yeah. Where can we get it? Amazon, Amazon. And it's called getting acquired. Okay. I'll put a link on the podcast episode, like, uh, or on the episode page where people can get it. Yeah. That's really interesting.
And actually that made you remind me that, like also what you said about the buying, like the selling process, not being documented, I'm just like going back, like in my head, what we do with Sharetribe, and we tell people everything about like how to raise money, how to build, how to market, but not like.
How to sell actually. So very good point. Like one last question. Was there anything that did not work out as expected that you're like, Ooh, I was thinking, well, of course there's always something that doesn't go out expected, but what did not work out very well?
[00:35:02] Andrew Gazdecki: Candidly, I would say, I mean, we had kind of a first world problem, but initially the server infrastructure wasn't built that well.
So we had to do, we lost like maybe three months doing a full rewrite of, to, you know, really speed up because there were so many users, all of a sudden, and no one was expecting this. And so that was probably the biggest issue, but I mean, I didn't, I didn't AB test the landing page. The landing page from visitor to user signup was sitting at around 60% for the longest time for about two years, never AB tested it.
So we kind of just nailed the messaging. And I think that goes back to just understanding the customer so well, and. Scratching my own itch and solving a problem that I'd personally been through. So, I mean, I'd say things that,
[00:35:58] Sjoerd Handgraaf: or maybe like, if I phrase it, like, you know, anything you would've done differently so far?
[00:36:02] Andrew Gazdecki: No, nothing. I mean, I I'd just say it's been a lot of work, but I've also had just so much fun. And I think, you know, I don't really view failures as failures. I view 'em just as opportunities to improve your lessons. So. Nothing really major comes to mind. I think if anything, we we've had bugs, we've had server issues, but it's only made us better.
Um, so I wouldn't, I wouldn't change a
[00:36:27] Sjoerd Handgraaf: thing. All right. So very, very last question. What's the future for MicroAcquire? Like you, you mentioned that you, uh, expanded from profitable SA companies of marketplaces. What's next.
[00:36:38] Andrew Gazdecki: Well, my goal for MicroAcquire eventually is we wanna help every type of business in the world transact on MicroAcquire, including, you know, HVAC businesses or restaurants or laundry mats, you name it.
We wanna help every type of business in the world. So. All right.
[00:36:55] Sjoerd Handgraaf: Let's end on that. Thanks a lot for your time. And Andrew, do you wanna, actually, now that you get the book, maybe, is there anything else you would like to plug?
[00:37:02] Andrew Gazdecki: Follow me on Twitter. Go on MicroAcquire, sign up, check it out. And if you have any, you know, questions, shoot me an email.
Andrew @ MicroAcquire.com. All right. Thanks a lot
[00:37:11] Sjoerd Handgraaf: for your time, Andrew. Yeah.
[00:37:13] Andrew Gazdecki: Thanks for having me.
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