The Humble Yogi Sells His Business
“Sebastian Johnston co-founded TheAmazeApp with three friends in 2014,” shares Sam Thompson a Minneapolis business broker and the president of M&A firm Transitions In Business. “They eventually sold to one of Europe’s largest fashion wholesalers. Sebastian’s story shares how he kept a poker face with the acquirer making sure not to share with them that they were the only party left interested in buying their business.”
Along with three friends, Sebastian Johnston co-founded TheAmazeApp in 2014. The idea was based on a simple idea. Social media influencers could upload a picture of what they were wearing and tag the clothing on TheAmazeApp’s database of e-commerce retailers. Then, when one of their followers purchased the item, TheAmazeApp would receive a commission they shared with the influencer.
The founding team raised $800,000 through the San Francisco-based accelerator 500 Startups. By leveraging their influencers to drive traffic, TheAmazeApp quickly grew to 4 million active users per month. Eight months later, TheAmazeApp was acquired by Zalando, one of Europe’s largest fashion wholesalers.
There’s a ton to enjoy in this episode, including:
- How the “traffic arbitrage” business model works.
- How to get developers to accept shares instead of cash for their work.
- How an acqui-hire works.
- Why you should never reveal the names of the other bidders for your company.
- How Johnston kept a poker face throughout the negotiation despite running short of cash while the acquirer dealt with an internal issue.
- The surprising role humility, yoga, and meditation played in getting a deal done.