Andrew W: The fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Joining me is a person who I’ve gotten to know ’em pretty well over the last year, because the two of us have been in this, uh, entrepreneurial group that has met up about one a month.
His name is Andrew as Decky. You probably know him because his ads are every frickin where in the startup community, he is the founder of micro acquire. It’s a startup acquisition marketplace. Basically. It’s the place you go when you want to sell your company, or when you want to add to, uh, your business portfolio by buying a company and his company is called micro because he’s kind of focused on the small part, but I also think that Andrew has got this all shucks attitude.
Like I’m just starting a little thing here. And I don’t know if it’s put on, I believe it’s put on, or if it’s real, I do not believe it’s real. And my hope in this interview is to get at the. The things that he has done to build this business to where it is today, and also to understand what he’s done over the last, frankly, his whole career to build up his businesses and we can do it.
Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first is HostGator for hosting your website. The second is member full for, uh, charging people, access to your content. Andrew. Good to have you here.
Andrew G: Thanks for having me. Andrew got a minute. I’m a little, uh, nervous for this, uh, podcast. Like I I’ve mentioned before we started. Cause you’re the, you’re the podcast master.
Andrew W: Thank you. I am too. And you know what? One of the reasons is that you do have this, this, our shucks personality we got together in this mastermind, you started off by saying, I don’t know, I’m feeling intimidated. Everybody here is so success so much more successful than I am. And I thought what a, what an honest thing to do.
And then as I got to know you, I said, what a crock of bull, this guy has done so much. Tell me where, where micro choir is. Revenue wise right now.
Andrew G: Uh, right now.
um, 750,000 in recurring revenue growing 20% month over month. But that’s about to, um, explode as we start to, uh, look to take, uh, referrals from M and a advisors, attorneys, accountants, wealth advisors, due diligence experts.
Andrew W: mean by referrals? Cause right now the model is people want to buy businesses, pay you for access to this list of companies that want to sell. Right. And that’s where the month that’s where the recurring revenue comes from.
Andrew G: Right. So we want to build essentially the Zillow of M and a. So like my personal story, fast forwarding, we can backtrack on this, but you know, I had a business, it was called business apps, SAS business grew to about 10 million annual recurring revenue. Sold it to a private equity firm.
Andrew W: How much?
Andrew G: How much I sell for, I won’t say, uh, let’s just,
Andrew W: Did you have millions in the bank after that? Or did you have a nice story with lessons learned
Andrew G: uh, low, low eight figures. Um, I said this
Andrew W: the bank.
Andrew G: in the bank. Tax-free
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: yeah, my tax.
Andrew W: You mean?
Andrew G: Yeah, my, the sending the tax bill was crazy. Um, uh, I benefited from QSB, as I’ll tell you the structure, I’ll tell I’ll share what I’m comfortable sharing. I have never shared the actual purchase price. Aside from my wife, my team. I always say it’s just a weird flex.
Like either it’s like. I’m bragging or it’s too little or it’s not enough. And I just don’t want you to know, cause that’s not what I want to be known for. I don’t want to be known for, you know, sold his company for X, Y Z amount. Um, I want to be known for helping entrepreneurs. Um, but the deal was awesome.
Like fucking awesome. So, uh, we did an all cash transaction, so the ESW capital, uh, they actually bought, uh, 2 million cash on hand. Uh, and the reason you can do that is when you sell cash, they’ll put a one X, multiple. So we were taxed at 13% state instead of dividending that out to shareholders. So that was really nice to do.
Andrew W: what do you mean there? Um, walk me through that. It was 2 million cash in the bank when you sold it.
Andrew G: So we were, we were really profitable business within the first three years, and then I started running it break even for growth and we just had. 2 million cash on hand for rainy day. And then we ran a breakeven and, um, um, I said, well, you buy the cash. They said, well, why they CA I kind of said, I laid
Andrew W: taking the cash out of the business as a dividend where you’d be taxed, you said to the acquirer, will you buy this business in addition with the cash in it? And then give me a multiple of the cash.
Andrew G: right? Because by doing that, we were taxed far less. So when you dividend the cash out, typically, and an acquisition now would be, you know, dividend out to all shareholders, but since it was added onto the purchase price, um, we’ve benefited from, uh, just a better tax structure. So it was straight life-changing acquisition, like, oh my God, like, what the fuck did I just do?
Um, I talked about this on another podcast, but my initial reaction was like, whoa, like, um, Like, is this, is this legal, like, uh, I always referenced like, my feelings when I sold the business. Um, you know, a lot of people think like, congratulations, you just got acquired. Um, I was like, thanks, but I’m freaked the fuck out right now.
Like, uh, this isn’t really what I expected a situation I expected to be in at age 29. Uh, so thanks. Um, but uh, Yeah.
a little nervous. Um, hopefully I don’t, you know, fuck this up and, you know, spend it on dumb stuff. So, um, but yeah, it was, it was, it was a, it was a good outcome,
Andrew W: the tax situation that you were, that you were talking about earlier?
Andrew G: so QSB S is a exemption for, um, I’m not an expert here, but basically. For up to the first 10 million, we saved 2 million on taxes. And then after that we paid long long-term capital games because it was a stock purchase, not an asset purchase and asset purchases, um, our taxis jail, like 40%, much higher.
And then we paid, uh, 13%, uh, state tax.
Andrew W: Okay. And this is Q S BS. That’s qualified small business stock.
Andrew G: Yeah. If you’re looking to sell a business, like look it up, it has a lot of regulations. Like you need to own the stock for five years. You need to have an accountant and like make sure that you qualify. Um, but it’s one of the hidden secrets of acquisitions, like, cause it was a massive savings. Um
Andrew W: be a C Corp, which ordinarily, uh, at smaller businesses may not want. Right.
Andrew G: Yeah.
And, and, and, and the bat, the backstory on that is, um, we were originally in a LLC to start, um, because I started the business in college, but I read this article on tech crunch, which you can probably Google it, like QSB is tech crunch. And it’s from like 2009 and it’s written on like December 23rd.
And it said, Uh,
QSB S you have until January 1st, we literally reincorporated in four days, like we went from an LLC to a C Corp. I told all my angel investors just could be very impactful and frankly, stupid, if we don’t like, we should be a Corp, like, you know, we’re bringing on investors. Um, we didn’t bring on any additional investors, but at that time, you know, we didn’t know, you know, it was early in the business.
Um, but we, yeah, like literally we filed and we got. Approved, but it’s been extended now. Like we didn’t need to rush, but we did. We treated as if like, like rush and my attorney was like, I’m not accounting. And like, and it’s Christmas. Like what the fuck? Uh, like, um, we can get this
Andrew W: the article here. It says potential angel investors you have until January 1st to lock in a hundred percent tax-free capital gains on startup stock. It’s written by Eric Schoenfeld, uh, December 13th, 2011, and then it says a quirk in the tax law is helping any qualified small business stock purchase between September 27th, 2010 and January 1st, 2012 and held for at least five years is a hundred percent exempt from capital gains taxes.
I added the word taxes after January 1st, the tax exemption reverts to the normal 50%. That’s what you’re talking about, and this is now extended to today. We can still do that.
Andrew G: Yeah,
Andrew W: Okay. And that’s what you.
Andrew G: to my knowledge. And I’ve actually, um, tweeted out that author and I was like, thank you, Mike bow was a great article and really impact my life. So thank you for sharing that.
Andrew W: Okay. So what did you do with the money? That was fun.
Andrew G: Um, so this is another thing I, I don’t talk about too often, but. I’ve shared it on, um, you know, the, a few other folks, um, cause it’s, it’s just, it’s just weird, you know, just talking about like what happens after an acquisition? So, um, the first thing I did was hire a wealth manager, um, reference from Christian Friedman, who really is probably the closest thing I have to a father figure.
He was, you know, a mentor to me. He, the amount of emails I send to him, he did the same where he, um, uh,
Andrew W: of bill.com.
Andrew G: Bill.com. So he grew that business. He bootstrapped that business about 3 billion in GMV. So he’s a baller. He he’s like Ari gold in the flesh. Like He’s the coolest guy ever. He’s super hilarious.
Uh, we get along, he makes fun of me. He texts me and he’s like, Hey, I’m in Puerto Rico. And Ty Lopez is up here. Um, I’m going to go up to him, ask him like, oh my gosh, are you Andrew guys? Decky um, so he’s, he’s an amazing human being. I feel humbled. And just frankly lucky that I met him, cause he, he straight up changed my life.
He’s been the most impactful person in my life by a mile. And I’ve told him that I sent him, like, I love you stuff all the time. But anyways, um, what I do with the money, um, so you know, you have this closing date, you know, and that’s the day when the wire’s going to hit. So the wire hits and I was. I had an office in my office.
I, I liked to sit next to everybody. Just, I like to lead from the front. I like to let everybody know, like, like if I overhear someone’s struggling on a support call, I’ll just put on the headset and be like, Hey, you got Andrew from business apps here. How can I help you? Um, sales call, same thing. I, I kinda like doing that.
It’s not the best leadership style you gotta delegate, but that’s just who I am. Um, so I moved all the money into, um, Charles Schwab, uh, worked with a wealth manager for it by Christian Freeman. Uh, and he did it all for free. He was just like, Hey, just like, until we figure out your long-term investment strategy, why don’t we just get this out of the bank?
You’re not insured for this much money. So probably a good idea. I knew nothing about bonds. I knew nothing about the stock market. Um, so we bought bonds and we let that sit for about 6, 7, 8 months while we kind of figured everything out. And then I remember I just didn’t check it. I just was like, okay.
Um, cause I, I had started another company, so it was already just busy. Um, and there’s more money and I remember literally like texting him and be like, why is where’s or did they send us more money? And they’re like, no bonds like money. Like you have a lot of money in bonds and you’re getting like a two, 3% interest rate on that.
And I was like, oh, Okay.
So money makes money. This is interesting. Um,
Andrew W: What are you in now?
Andrew G: uh, Vanguard and dimensional. I wasn’t dimensional. Yeah. But, uh, my guy did a baller move. Um, during the, the COVID crash, like in March when like the huge creator, he did a tax, uh, harvest rollover. I wasn’t dimensional index funds, but now I’m just in Vanguard.
So he, um, basically I have like a few million in like, uh, losses that he booked. So any capital gains that I have to pay in the future, I can mark against those or something like that.
Andrew W: What did the losses from?
Andrew G: Uh, so there was no losses. So, um, the, the way tax harvest loss works is if you sell a stock at a loss and buy a similar stock the same day,
Andrew W: Uh,
Andrew G: uh, you can, Uh,
mark that loss as a future deduction on capital gains.
So at the bottom, he just, He didn’t even ask me. I tell him I don’t, I don’t want to see updates. I, I trust the guy like a brother.
Andrew W: sold, he sold one thing, got the loss on it and then bought another that’s similar so that he could ride it up. And now, because you’ve booked the loss. When you sell at a, at a profit, you get to write it off against the, the loss from before. Is that essentially it,
Andrew G: Yeah.
Andrew W: and that’s why you went from dimensional to Vanguard.
Andrew G: Yeah. So it. has to be like a similar asset. I don’t non-expert, um, reach
Andrew W: that Wealthfront is trying to do for, um, for everyone else. And I get where I get, where you’re going with this. Did you buy anything fun? And then I want to go into the business. I don’t want to get into, into the investment advice or investment experience and fun stuff, but did you get to do anything fun for yourself?
Andrew G: Yeah. Let me summarize on the investment stuff really quick. I’m very boring investor. I don’t angel invest. Um, I don’t really cause I like to keep my brain space very limited. So the less I think about, I don’t, I don’t have any crypto holdings. Um, I don’t look at the stock market, so don’t ever ask me about investing stuff.
Cause I’m the worst person I’m in,
Andrew W: in our group, you had the funniest line about investing some, there was a conversation about angel investing in startups and the one person who had done a lot basically said that there’s only one of all those companies that’s worth anything. And the rest of it seems like a big distraction.
Um, but you said I invest in a few funds because I was in a fraternity I’m used to paying for my friends. And it’s, that’s a great line because it’s so right. And it’s, it makes a ton of sense. I put in what, 20, 25,000 into, into the hustle fund. It’s so great because they take good care of you before COVID they used to have these fantastic, fantastic events where you got to meet other people who invested in the fund.
You get really great access to smart people. God knows Eric from the hustle fund is one of the best smartest resources I ever had. And because I’m an investor, I’ll ping them with the question I get the most thought out. Great answer that I could imagine.
Andrew G: Yeah.
I I call my country club money. So instead of like going to a country club and networking, um, I’ll put in like a little, I’m always the guy that’s like, Hey, what’s your minimum. And then could we do like a 10th of that? And then just so I can like get
Andrew W: a, I feel like such a popper doing that, but I should, I should do that. I like that. You have the self-confidence to say what’s the minimum and can I do even less?
Andrew G: I mean, the worst thing I can say is now, and then,
Andrew W: Uh, no, the worst they can say is, oh, this guy, Andrew is such a loser. What are you guys doing? He’s just asking me for a thousand dollars into this. What a, what a waste of time.
Andrew G: yeah, that’s true. But I, also don’t care. And if that’s
Andrew W: you know what? I actually think you do care. I believe that that is good for your reputation, that this is the attitude you have is, um, just as simple, humble guy. I’m not looking to be the baller in the room. Who’s going to drop $10,000 on the roulette wheel and then walk away, not caring whether I win or not.
I’m the person who just likes to surf. I like to build a business that matters. Right.
Andrew G: Uh, no, I truly don’t care. What you think about me at all. I don’t give a shit. I’m wearing like a Detroit hat right now. I, I, my hair looks like shit. Like I’ve had this, you’ve seen me wear this sweater like a hundred times. Like,
Andrew W: Did you buy anything fun for yourself? I have seen you wear that sweater. I have seen you with a baseball cap.
Andrew G: my, my friends call me simple gas. Um, I’m, I’m just a simple person. I always try to just look straight. What I mean by that is, um, Yeah. I try to tune out, you know, negative noise, anything that I stay in my lane. I don’t, you know, I, yeah. If, if like I’ve never had someone say like, No.
like that’s not going to work.
Um, and if it comes back with like, Hey, can you do 10 K 25 K I’m like, yeah, sure. Something like that. Um, but, um, in terms of what I bought, um, bought a beautiful house in, um, San Mateo. Um, actually you can get a mortgage for that, which was kind of funny. Um, so I bought a cash. Um, the house, the house is valued now at three and a half million, which is crazy.
So I live in a three and a half million dollar house. Um, my backyard is full of deers. I post your pictures on Instagram and follow me. Um, uh, lots of coyotes too. There’s like a rooster out there. We live on the edge of peninsula golf course. So if anyone golfs, um, don’t hit my house. Um,
Andrew W: All right. Let me go into how you let, let’s go into business. Okay. So micro require, this is the business that you’re running right now, by the way, I should, I guess I should have disclosed. I’m an angel investor in micro choir. Um, it’s weird that you even have to disclose it because not like my life is going to change one way or the other.
I just wanted to be in on the, on the Andrew ride. I wanted to see what Gaz was up to on the inside. And I feel like it’s worth whatever I put in just for that education. And just because I believe in what you’re doing. So let’s go back. The idea came to me.
Andrew G: so I had the idea for. Kind of a long time, but I really started making moves on it about two years ago. So I had this startup idea called venture pitches in college, basically YouTube for like angel. Like I love startups. So I wanted something that served startups and entrepreneurs. So this is how far this goes back.
I just thought let’s make it easy to like, you know, help entrepreneurs raise money and, you know, be successful with their ventures. Um, and then after selling business apps, after running all coin, which was a blockchain trading company, um, I specifically wrote down the customer I wanted to serve. That was where I started, like who do I want to serve?
And I felt that for my next venture, given that, you know, I’ve had a little bit of success, I’m comfortable. I wasn’t looking for, you know, a niche business to make a few more million bucks or something like that. And because none of that would really change my life. Like. Like I would just log into my Schwab account and psychologic number and I’m like, cool.
Like, okay. moving on. Um, so I wanted to have a business that would have a large impact on the startup community. So yeah, the idea, I mean, really, it was just my personal experience, selling business apps. Um, I was confusing. There’s so many articles And books on fundraising and not a grow your startup, but not too much on the exit.
And so I felt this was something that the startup community specifically needed just as much as like product hunt for discovery or angel, as for investing, it completely changed the game for startups. And so my, my hope is that a micro acquire becomes, you know, the exit path for founders because the exit is such an important part of founders, the founder journey.
And we want to help with that.
Andrew W: And you’re right. And no one had been addressing it. Everyone was talking about how to raise money. And talking about how to get customers, but once you do it all, when it’s time to sell there, wasn’t really beyond individual brokers, a place where you can go do that. Um, or sites like empire builders, what’s different about those places is they are more about how do I match you up?
What I thought was interesting Andrew, about what you did with micro acquire was you basically created a directory of businesses that want to be sold and an email that updated people. Am I right about this? I’m trying to get my history, right?
Andrew G: Yeah.
So when we launched, it was a as a full fledge marketplace and I built it kind of how I would want. Like if I was going to lose my company. So it’s completely private and you can vet buyers based on their LinkedIn profile and you can chat with them before giving them access to things that are sensitive.
Like your company, name, your PNL presentation, you can connect Stripe. ChartMogul probable like real, real analytics, but you can bet the buyers first. So it’s not just kind of like a, you know, this is out in the open and then your employees find out. And this happened to me, like when I announced that we were going to sell business apps to my team, questions you get, oh my gosh.
Um, everything from, am I getting, am I getting fired? Like, am I getting fired to, am I a millionaire?
Andrew W: Meaning the people on your team, when you start announcing publicly that you’re selling your business, everybody starts to have these questions and
Andrew G: Oh, oh,
Andrew W: And so you said, how do I create a marketplace where entrepreneurs like. Andrew gods Decky can list their stuff, list their businesses without publicizing to the world that they’re listing their business.
Andrew G: Exactly. And, and I was, and I was, I was ready to sell. Like, I, I also didn’t know brokers existed. Like I worked with an investment bank previously to solve business apps and we had a few offers there, but I was 26. So, um, I wanted to push for, um, you know, a larger accent. I’m glad I did. Um, but yeah, like towards the end, I was just like, so exhausted, like, um, so much management, um, you. know, just it just 24 7, it feels like a part of your brain is kind of gone when you’re like really deep in a company like that.
Um, And I. You know, candidly started to fall out of love with the business. I had just been in it for so long and it was all I knew my last job was at Sears. I had no prior experience and I felt, you know, I’ve, I’ve taken this business as far as I can take it. Um, we had a good offer on the table. Um,
Andrew W: the way, we should say what business apps was business apps was, uh, I’m looking at the first version of the site. It’s iPhone apps for business made easy. So a lawyer who wants to have an iPhone app would have come to you,
Andrew G: I I’ve, I’ve made that website. Yeah. Um,
Andrew W: see it. Um, it definitely got more sophisticated over over the years, but, um, again, I’m looking at the very first
Andrew G: are you on, um, website archive.
Andrew W: Yeah.
Andrew G: I love, I love.
Andrew W: I love archive too. That’s what it was you then said I’m exhausted. How did you get the first offer for business apps?
Andrew G: Um, so we hired an investment bank, uh, did a full road show. Uh, we had, we had four soft offers, two serious offers. Um, funny enough, uh, we, um, so I had, uh, a $30 million offer from a private equity firm. Uh, I don’t know the exact numbers, but 20 million of that was going to be on secondary. So I was going to walk with, um, $20 million and then they were going to put in, uh, 10 million on primary, which means an investment directly into the business.
And they were going to bring on a new CEO. They had an, uh, entrepreneur in residence. I was looking to do like a enterprise, um, kind of role play. Um, I ended up turning that offer down. Um, and then we had an offer from one of the big do yourself website builders that required me to move somewhere. I didn’t want to move.
Um, and it just was sticky earn-out um, it, it, it just didn’t feel right. Um, and I guess the offers were good, again, it came down to me just like having a hard time, like. I think I can keep going with this business. So I, I did. Um, and, uh, Yeah.
after that we just kept running the business and then we were approached by USW capital, um, years later.
Andrew W: Okay. And so you said, I want to have a marketplace where entrepreneurs don’t have this type of experience though, to be honest with you guys, this seems like a pretty good experience what you had. Yeah. It took a little bit longer than you wanted, but it seems like great offers.
Andrew G: Yeah. But I would say not all businesses have opportunities that I had at business apps. You know, we had 10 million in revenue. We were growing, um, you know, we were on Inc magazine’s fastest growing companies. Um, two years in a row, we saw, we sub submitting financial info to them. Nathan, lack of like some more numbers on me.
But, um, we were at number like 58, 1 year number 92, the next year, the thing was a fucking rocket ship. And I was
Andrew W: was it that, what was it that made it so big?
Andrew G: So there is an inflection point. So the original plan was to cold call, small businesses all day, specifically restaurants. So I, I, I’ve always been a solo founder where I build the product. I usually, I always hire people to help me. And then once I feel that, you know, I have business market fit, product market fit.
That’s when I start bringing other people in. So I developed the sales process, had developed the marketing strategy, that website, that shitty website you looked at from 2010, I made that, um, proudly, even though it’s terrible. Um, so the original strategy was just a cold call, bunch of small businesses. And if you’ve ever cold call a small business, it is brutal.
There’s a saying where small businesses, lack time, aptitude and money. The trifecta of this sale is not going to happen. So we realized that it was an in-person sales approach. That’s why you see companies like five stars chow now, um, belly there’s like a ton of different SMB focused companies. They hire these really large in-person sales teams.
And so, uh, the inflection point was, it was, it was just me. Um, I had three friends that, uh, for a semester in college, basically we grinded on the phones and just it wasn’t working. And so this was kind of like a dark time in business apps where it was just me in the office. We had a small, like 500 square foot office.
So just thinking of like a bedroom, like nothing fancy. Um, but I started moving into different markets like lawyers, cause you can get ahold of them really quick and they have money and like be started. So I got to like a hundred apps. Um, and then we started getting some press. And I saw this one individual in Switzerland making these apps for really large Ramada hotels.
And I just thought I reached out for no reason. He had no questions. He was building the apps, he was submitting the apps. Like it was great
Andrew W: Meaning he was using business apps to create these apps for hotels and charging them. I’m sure. More than the, what were you charging? 35, 30, $30 a month.
Andrew G: But the funny part is I thought he owned the hotels. So I was like, my reason for reaching out was just to say, congrats on your success of owning a bunch of really luxurious hotels, but, um, Uh, what was his name? Raul, um, from vendor, Matt, uh, shout out to Raul. Uh, you changed my life. You changed my life, man.
Um, but he had this suggestion. I just had a simple question. Like, how can I help you sell more apps? And he explained to me, he’s a marketing agency. He works with thousands of hospitality businesses. And if we could white label our product, meaning he can become a reseller set his own branding. So the customer doesn’t know the app is being built by business apps.
He could then charge a premium, almost like a semi custom mobile app, where instead of do it yourself, it’s like do it for me. And So that allowed, we would charge typically 30 to $40 a month per app for resellers. Our price changed a bunch. think that’s where it was that, um, and the early days, I think it was like $10 a month, perhaps for resources.
We were just trying to get him in. Um, and he ended up becoming one of our biggest resellers and that became our full go to market strategies. We partnered with, um, thousands of web agencies all across the world. Um, lots of big public companies that you’d also recognize, um, even some interesting ones. We had some good partnerships with like, um, legal XYZ.
You can probably guess, um, like lots of just anything SMB we partner with, like, Hey, you want to sell apps, your company. So we,
Andrew W: So anyone who has access to I’m going to imagine a company like legal zoom, let’s say, for example, would say, we’re already working with lawyers. These lawyers might want a website. This could be a new upsell for us. You would create a white label version of business apps so that it looks like it’s their product, their software that they could then sell.
In addition to the software, to their, to their lawyers or to their clients. They could also sell it as a service where they use your software for them. Is that it?
Andrew G: Yeah, you guessed it.
Andrew W: And that was the thing that just took off for your, for your business.
Andrew G: It boomed like we went from like, because everyone was trying, a lot of these web agencies were trying to figure out how to deliver mobile solutions to their customers, but they didn’t want to hire motive Elbers and then hiring mobile developers is really hard and then they didn’t know what features businesses wanted.
So we took care of all that. So we essentially became like the extended development arm for every web agency across the world. Customers are web, um, are actually that’s that’s calm, resellers, white label resellers in like 50 plus countries. We translated our product in more languages than I can count. I found out, um, Brazilian, Portuguese and Portugal, Portuguese
Andrew W: I had no idea they were that different.
Andrew G: Yeah. Funny, funny story. Um, we, uh, we had a big Brazilian client and we translated. The apps into, uh, pour cheese for Portugal, Portuguese. And there’s some tension between those two countries. And again, I’m like 23, 22. So I don’t know these things. And he was lidded. He was like, this is offensive. Like, like, and so we immediately reverted that.
Um, and we did some other crazy stuff too. We did a full, um, public partnership in Japan where they flew me out to Japan and got to go on the sea sky tree. And it was with a public company. Um, I met like a Japanese of Olympic medalist.
Andrew W: Why did they fly you out? What was the, what was the business relationship there?
Andrew G: we were doing an exclusive partnership we’re relaunching business apps, Japan. So they were essentially becoming the. Business apps, um, uh, representative in, in Japan as an exclusive, they paid 150,000 up front for that. Um, relationship is really good. That partnership is awesome, but what was more awesome was just my, I got to go to Japan.
I’m like 23. I think the weirdest part about the story is just how young I was. Um, I didn’t have any experience of war. I didn’t have any sales experience. I didn’t work at Google. I didn’t know how to code.
Andrew W: And the, the reason that they wanted a white label, as opposed to just saying we’re going to sell business apps and, and upsell it because we’re adding our own services. What, why wouldn’t, why they needed to have their branding instead of your branding and their service.
Andrew G: I think so you’re asking one day one, do they want the business house branding instead of just white label?
Andrew W: Yeah. No. Why, why was white labeling that dramatically different for a reseller? Why? I want to understand that.
Andrew G: Oh, good question. So it allowed them to set their price. So we would charge them $30 a month per app, but then they can go to their client and they wouldn’t know that it’s being powered by business apps at all. So some clients were, we created some really cool apps. Like we created like an app for John Bell for, um, Pam.
And Caffey the, uh, kicker Bucholtz Billy Ray Cyrus, um, uh, Fetty wop, like some, some funny people like
Andrew W: what did the apps do in the beginning? It was basically the equivalent of a webpage, right?
Andrew G: we had some pretty advanced features, but it was really revolved around, um, loyalty communication, engagement, um, ordering reservations.
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: We had some funny features. Like we had A car finder. tab, um, like, I don’t know, a car finer tab, like where. Like if you’re at a restaurant and you’ve, it was,
Andrew W: And you lost it and you forgot where you put your car.
Andrew G: yeah. That we, we joke The old business out for, we always talk about like, Hey, um, what about that.
Finer dab? Because, Uh,
it was a feature that we packed into apps because Apple’s approval guidelines were so strict. So you needed to use every native capability. So this feature allowed us to use the camera, the timer, the maps, and we kind of added it to every single app. So this was another thing that we did that was kind of scrappy to allow us to get, so our competitors weren’t getting apps approved, but we were adding features like this to every single app to get them approved.
So it was one little, like little secret though. It did. Yeah. It was a completely
Andrew W: you learn to do that?
Andrew G: what’s that?
Andrew W: How’d you learn to do that?
Andrew G: Do what.
Andrew W: Are you, I’m trying to get a sense of how you figure things like that out. And my sense is that you do a lot of reading. Do you also talk to other people who, who tell you, Hey Andrew, if you, if you had white labeling, that’s the unlock. If you add no white labeling.
Well, how did, how did you know that if you added all the features, apple would be more likely to approve you faster.
Andrew G: We didn’t. We didn’t,
Andrew W: around and seeing what works.
Andrew G: we were young, you know, we, we didn’t have any frameworks. We didn’t have Twitter. We didn’t have books. Like there was,
Andrew W: about this? So you said that white labeling was a big unlock. The business was started 2010. I went to the very first version of the business in 20, I think in 2010. You already had a white label button on there, right, right at the beginning. So right in the beginning, I guess you just didn’t realize what you’re saying is you didn’t realize the value of the white label until you had a conversation with role.
Andrew G: There should be a version maybe before that, without it. But we added it pretty quickly. I’d say probably within six months of launch, we added it because the white label or the cold calling strategy, just wasn’t working like,
Andrew W: reaction to what rebel told you. You said let’s add white labeling.
Andrew G: yeah. And then as soon as we added it, we started adding customers. Like we, we grew, like we went from, I think from cold calling, we got to let’s call it 20,000, 30,000 in recurring revenue. And then went in the first year we went to, um, like a million and then the second year we went to 3 million and then year three, we went to.
Four and a half, I guess, or something like that, it just kind of just exploded. Um, so that’s, that became our full focus on men. So a surprising fact too, is we actually stopped focusing directly on SMBs. We went full in on the research strategy. So we turned the SMB, um, process in a full do yourself where we’re basically here’s automated emails.
We’ll design your app for you if you want. But our full focus, my full sales team, my full onboarding team was completely dedicated towards resellers.
Andrew W: Okay. All right. Let me take a moment. Talk about my first sponsor. I totally forgot about the sponsor. It’s HostGator. Let me ask you this. Andrew is a person who’s seen so many businesses sold on your platform. And also as a person who just loves businesses and followed them for years, if somebody had nothing but a HostGator account where let’s say for simplicity sake, they could install WordPress and get started.
What’s a business that you’ve seen that they could get up and running and do well enough that they could come to micro, acquire and sell
Andrew G: Um, Ana well fun fact. I started business apps on host Gator.
Andrew W: you did.
Andrew G: That’s a fact. Yeah. I’ve registered the domain and host Gator. Um, and I, I, I still use those Gator to, um, for a number of other things. Um, okay. So question is what is a business that someone could easily create host Gator and really anything?
Andrew W: six months. Give me an idea of something that’s been sold. That could be on wholesale.
Andrew G: Um, and niche, SAS companies are
Andrew W: Company. Okay.
Andrew G: very niche. Like, um, I’m trying to think of one that was interesting yesterday, but my favorite recent one was. It was doing about 250,000 a year. A lot of it was mainly profit and all it did was removed. Um, you know, the background images of like, if I took a screenshot of a year and I just want you, it just did that.
And that is so simple. Um, so I think the biggest thing microfiber has done for me is opened my eyes. Like there’s a lot of people like go up market, like go venture backed. Like those deals are really complicated to close. There’s just so many shareholders involved in. We’ll be looking at that market over time.
But man, like the, the long tail of just, you know, I think the small business economy is going to start moving towards, it’s going to be online and digital and profitable. So just like, just look at a company with like a feature that everyone loves and just build that feature and like position.
Andrew W: I want to come up with an even simpler idea. SAS is maybe a little bit further ahead. What about this? I just saw Justin Jackson talk about this. The, um, the guy who runs a podcast and company, I’m looking at you, your video looks fricking phenomenal. Right. You got the blurry background.
Your audio sounds good. Cause you got the microphone. It’s great setup. It’s a pain in the ass put together. Justin Jackson said, how about if somebody did, it starts to surface where for 200 bucks, they log in with someone else on zoom. They look at their setup and then they give them advice on what to buy.
Maybe they even pick it with them. And then when the stuff comes, I would suggest you do a up where you set it up with them so that it all looks really good. And you could do the whole thing remote. I paid for people in my office to do that. Um, now I’m working from home, but um, I paid for people in the office too.
It was totally worth it. How’s that for a business. And then, so it could be something that’s sold afterwards. You start creating these packages on the site where people who want it can buy the package and set it up themselves or buy the packages and do a zoom set up where someone else shows them how to do it.
And businesses. One of the things that I think they should do is yes, they should pay for it, their internet access for their team. But if they’re going to go all zoom, they should pay for a good zoom setup. How’s that for business, Andrew?
Andrew G: Yeah, that’s actually exactly how I said, I’ll it. Uh,
Andrew W: it with you remotely, right?
Andrew G: yeah, he handed my house, installed everything. Um, he logs into my computer when I need help. Um, if anyone listening to this podcast and he’s referenced, I got one, he is the man. Um, but yeah, stuff like that, like we can move into like e-commerce companies.
Like I see stuff like where they’re like drawing cartoons of your family and they’re making millions of dollars and like, yeah, like Simpson cartoons, like that one was Really?
Andrew W: saw that a micro choir, somebody who’s just drawing Simpson cartoons of people’s families. That seems like a five or a task. Not a whole business with the website.
Andrew G: but they’re really high quality. And like he frames them and like, he has like kind of a craft. He has a process to it. Um, You know, there’s, there’s a thousand plus businesses live on micro requires. So I probably got to do a better job at like memorizing all of them, but like, there’s just so much variety.
There’s a business for everyone. If you I’ll just put it this way, if you like, if you like crypto, if you like, men’s leather boots, if you like, you know, Simpson cartoons, like
Andrew W: there’s a business out there that’s already making money that you can buy. And then just focus on that.
Andrew G: yeah, it’s, it’s a startup store. Like
Andrew W: if I, if I wanted to add to mixer G another revenue stream, you know, my audience, you know, my session, what’s a good business from micro require for me to consider.
Andrew G: there’s been a few were, um, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to bug you too much, but there’s been a few, like, cause I know I’m your big outdoorsy guy and um, you know, have to camp, there’s been a few businesses revolves around that and
Andrew W: I feel like it should be more connected to Mixergy. It’s true that I do. I have fallen in love with camping and I got a little like into that, but if I were to, to go to micro power and find something that’s more related to Mixergy, what would you suggest?
Andrew G: So first thing that comes to mind is probably a newsletter. So there’s a large marketing newsletter on microfiber right now. Um, there’s several communities on microfiber where you could, you know, say, Hey, this is a mixture of the community. Um, mostly entrepreneurs and startups. That could be a good add on, um, or just like a product that you just give away for free as like a lead generation tool.
Andrew W: Ah, you’re saying by one of those lead generation tool, people sign up, they use the tool and then I tell them about Mixergy. And now they’re in the mixer.
Andrew G: Yeah. Like one thing I did for micro requires, I bought, um, a company called CIM charge, just as simple billing system, Stripe Stripe kind of built something similar, but I needed a billing system. I wanted a really, really simple, and so I just bought it. And, uh, now it has like, I think like 5,000 users and, um, it’s completely free.
I made a
Andrew W: targe,
Andrew G: Chimp charge.
Andrew W: Chimp charge. What’s CIM charge.
Andrew G: It’s basically like Venmo for Stripe. So you connect Stripe and you get this cool, these easy payment links. It’s like the easiest way to set up payments, but then Stripe.
Andrew W: Uh,
Andrew G: two to stripes, um, you know, quick payment pages. But I, I just, like, I was like thinking of the business model, um, for Mike require.
And, um, you want to hear the backstory on that?
Andrew W: Yeah.
Andrew G: So the backstory on the current business model might require was, uh, literally one day. And this is kind of how I work too. It drives my team crazy. Cause I’m, I’m literally like ready, aim fire. I, I don’t really plan, I don’t know. I just say that we’re doing it.
Um, but a founder reached out to me, he’s like, Hey, I’ve had like a lot of people reach out to me. I think we’re getting up to like six years old and people who should I focus on? Who’s serious, any tips. And I had heard this from a few other founders, I thought, okay, we need to separate, you know, serious buyers from non serious buyers.
And we’re going to be upgrading that even more within my require everything and like. Micro fire platinum or something like that, but, uh, just basically created a CIM charge page and just said, Hey, if you get access to deals, now you got to pay two 90 a year. Sorry, cut off.
Andrew W: Meaning, if they wanted to get the list of, of businesses that are being sold on micro acquire, they had to pay an annual fee and use. In order to charge them.
Andrew G: Yeah. And so a good, a good analogy would be like, you know, it’s a Ferrari dealership. You can go in and look at all the cars. You can look at all the details and the specs, but if you want to contact the owner, cause you have a question about a dang or the mileage you have to pay for that access. And then that is sent to the founder and the founder either approves or denies your request based on, um, who you are.
Andrew W: Okay. All right. I didn’t realize that that’s how you were charging. I do think that we were talking through, as you were figuring that model out, what was the original model going to be for the marketplace?
Andrew G: I had no idea,
Andrew W: You just said, I need to create a mark. You told me before we got started, how much you paid to get this business going?
Can you say how much you paid to have the first version of the website built?
Andrew G: it was, I told you 500,000, but it was over a period of 12 months. So I was building this business. Um, another, another thing I was, um, managing a sales team and marketing team and a company called spiff. So as chief revenue officer, I just become a dad. Um, I was writing a book, so I had a lot going on. So it was just something I made another passion.
I just, I just, it wasn’t work. I loved it. And so initial investment was probably like 150 K and then I just kept building upon it and building upon it, you know, you know how like, um, you know, our buddy will, he likes to, he’s a craftsman and stuff like that. I’m kind of like that with software. So I was like, you know, my wife’s fully on board with it, like sure. Like, I, oh, this works out, but I was like, I think, I think there’s something here and I enjoy helping these entrepreneurs and it started picking up traction. So that’s where the additional investment made sense. Um, and then once we started putting on, um, the original or the current, uh, business model, that all of that is just been reinvested into the business. Okay.
Andrew W: Surprised to hear that you’re somebody who is willing to spend money to just take a flyer on a crazy idea, not knowing where it’s going. Yeah.
Andrew G: It’s what I, it’s what I love to do. I always joke.
Andrew W: of one of these things that didn’t go anywhere just to get a taste of how you do it.
Andrew G: Um, That’s maybe all coined the blockchain trading company. I had big aspirations for that one. Um, I pretty much came out of that one, like break even, but that one kind of was like, I obviously take full responsibility for it.
Not, becoming like a huge company, blah, blah, blah. But we got hit with some superbugs.
So we were, it was a company I started immediately after business apps. We were in due diligence, put together a blockchain team. Um, we did some cool stuff. We didn’t like the first, um, Bitcoin to Ethereum atomic swap. I know you’re, you’re con you’re kind of into crypto now, Andrew. Um,
Andrew W: Not, not fully, I I’m really fascinated by clout, but I haven’t fully been won over by Chris.
Andrew G: I was deep in there. I was, um, you know, I had calls with, uh, you know, um, Uh, Vitalik Buterin, um, uh, Fabian vagus, stellar who, um, implemented the ERC 20 protocol, which is what spawned all the ICO’s was on our advisory board. Um, so we w we built a good company. And what we were trying to do is we were trying to speed up, um, transaction times on the Ethereum blockchain.
So I I’ve heard you kind of say, like it takes so long and stuff like that. We were trying to fix That and it was super complicated. And the first application of that was basically like a decentralized Coinbase. And then, so we raised about 800,000 for that business And, uh, did, did a crowd fund raise. So it was through, we funder didn’t do an ICO.
Thankfully I didn’t do an ICO thing. Like bang, I dodged a bullet there. Um, but we wanted to involve like the crypto community, um, you know, similar approach to micro choir where I’m trying to involve the startup community. Um, and SCC started finding like real federal charges. Like you’re going to jail for this ICO.
You just did an unregulated securities offering. And then they find, um, one of our quasi competitor. Cause our, our goal was to really build this framework where we can, you know, we can make a theory. Transactions instant. This can be applied to anything that was kind of the business, but our first sort of proof of concept was going to be on a uh, uh, uh, uh, a crypto exchange.
And then the sec came out and find, uh, the owner of a similar business, And we kind of said, uh, we, we, we like, we like crypto, but not that much. Um, so I, I actually got on the phone with, um, the sec and, uh, threw up the white flag, said like, Hey, like, I just want to let you know, proactively, we want to be completely compliant.
And this was during a time when the sec was trying to figure out what’s a security token, what’s utility token, what ICO’s are allowed, but then they just kind of hit the market with like, Eight lawsuits against companies with ICO’s and then, um, a couple other companies, including one, um, called ether, Delta, uh, federal charges.
So I just said, I think this industry has a lot of promise. I think I’m a little bit early to get this to work. It’s going to take a lot of money, like money, transmitter, license, chief compliance officer. It’s probably going to get hacked. Um, I don’t want to go to bed every night thinking I’m gonna lose a bunch of people’s money.
Um, so we ended up, uh, pulling a business apps move and, uh, we, uh, we switched our messaging from, uh, we’re going to be the next, you know, crypto exchange to wear a white label. Uh, Crypto currency trading engine and the goal there was to basically find one way a client
Andrew W: a business that you got
Andrew G: purchase the assets. And we did.
Andrew W: to be a
Andrew G: And so we ended up signing, um, the business kind of at
Andrew W: You’re not just dabbling.
Andrew G: repaying masters. And we walked away from that. So that was where my biggest failure.
Andrew W: right? That’s why I feel like micro acquire. You started out with this idea that this could be a big something, right?
Andrew G: I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t really dabble too much. I like, Yeah,
but I, I move into it slow because I like, I always, I guess put another way is. There’s certain things that are required for a startup to be really successful. And I think the biggest one is market timing. I can’t, I can create a market. I can push a market up, but microcar, isn’t riding the coattails of where everyone’s talking about buying businesses.
Everyone like acquisitions are no longer reserved for just Google, apple and Facebook. You know, we have individual buyers, we have tons of private equity buyers. We have tons of VC backed strategies, buying other startups. Um, you know, it’s no longer just individual buyers. Um, you know, buying companies from brokers, um, online it’s, it’s, it’s a real marketplace.
Full of very, very high quality buyers. And I think we just kind of caught that at the perfect time. I mean, like, this is a good way to grow your business. Like if you can buy my business during 2 million revenue, you know, you’re seeing a 10 X multiple on your revenue, we’ll add that and then you can pay for it And then we have financing partnerships. and so, yeah.
Andrew W: Uh,
Andrew G: Yeah.
And I would just say, I, I just loved it. It was like my hobby, you know, instead of buying like a Ferrari or something dumb like that, I just wanted, I that’s kinda how I explained it to my wife. I was like, you know, I, I, I just really would love to build this business because. Entrepreneurs are kind of like my crew, my people, um, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I’ve, I’ve been a child.
So when I meet another entrepreneur, it’s always an interesting conversation because I can tell right away, like there’s very similar traits. There’s usually like obsessive, like sort of like, like, uh, just love for your business and what you’re doing. Um, and so I just love these people just chasing their dreams and you know, it, it, it takes guts and, you know, I wanted to see if I can help them find an exit because when
Andrew W: the market
Andrew G: when you go to sell a business, especially on the smaller side, there aren’t too many options.
There’s like one or two brokers that specialize in SAS and then it’s kind of it.
Andrew W: But,
but when you came in Flippa was what too small is for what you had in mind.
Andrew G: Yeah. But not anymore. Um, I thought Flippa was just positioned poorly. I don’t want to buy an online business. I don’t want to buy an online blog. I don’t want to buy a starter website. I. don’t want to buy I mean, a lot, lots of respect for Flippa. I think they’re a wonderful business, but it just felt like the Craigslist of like, it was just like a danger zone.
I just, you know, a core value of micro prior is
Andrew W: know what I.
Andrew G: and I didn’t trust Flippa and if you look up Flippa scams,
Andrew W: people who’ve sold in, uh,
Andrew G: others would agree. But again, I hate
Andrew W: a quick
Andrew G: talking bad about competitors or
Andrew W: else
Andrew G: a great business. So I’m just, that was kind of my.
Andrew W: that I’ve seen on there, which makes me think it’s small starter businesses.
It’s not a place where I would go and buy a serious company. And I feels like to some degree, that’s what you were feeling. Am I right?
Andrew G: Yeah.
And another piece was, um, like SAS, specifically SAS businesses. Cause that’s What I had, um, uh, you know, previous experience in, and also, uh, you know, The privacy, um, mechanisms and again, kind of taking like basically, you know, thinking how can we build a marketplace? And pulling a lot of plays, um, from Airbnb’s playbooks around trust and community.
Andrew W: went in and
Andrew G: Um, and really having the highest, like every buyer that subscribes to the premium program, we review the profile. Like we rejected ton. We were fun. Like if you don’t have well. So I have a team, every single customer that signs up to potentially reach out to startups. We review those profiles to make sure that they look like credible individuals. Um, and if they don’t have a working LinkedIn profile, we don’t improve them. We’re working on other verification tools like Twitter And stuff like that.
But for now you have to have a LinkedIn profile. Um, you have to have a completed profile. so a profile image, um, description of who you are cause that’s important. I would never sell my company to someone.
Andrew W: just get a bunch of
Andrew G: Like, I can’t see where you for references from other people Um, yeah.
Andrew W: because,
Andrew G: I didn’t think it was going to work. Um, I actually, so I’ve told you I keep a journal, um, And I have a real journal in June, I think. Yeah. I think I shared it with you, Andrew, but before I launched micro choir, I wrote in my journal, I don’t know if this is going to work, because like you said, there there’s some great marketplaces out there.
There’s uh, there’s um, empire flippers. There’s Effie international there’s quiet, light brokerage, all great firms. You know this wasn’t like a new novel idea. We weren’t making the next like Stripe or something like that. Um, but I wrote in my journal, I don’t know if this is gonna work, but it’s gonna look really good.
Um, so at least like if it didn’t work, it was like, I like it. So I guess I kind of built it for myself and I also really enjoy product development. I love UX. I love design. So part of it was, you know, going back to our buddy who likes to, you know, really build stuff with his hands, you know, I I’ve really enjoyed the process of building the product and the messaging and the website.
And so, yeah, I could have just, so I guess to answer your question is more of a hobby. You know, my goal wasn’t to like, get this out quickly, let’s make this into like a huge business. This is going to be huge. It was just like. I think this is really cool. I want this to exist. Um, I don’t spend my money on anything.
Andrew W: the combination
Andrew G: Like I literally don’t bike except for this podcast setup, I guess. Um, so I just said, Hey,
Andrew W: Okay,
Andrew G: yeah, it’s kind of Madden Madden. I used to be a top 100 Madam player. Anyone add me? I only played Madden 20 cause Madden 21 sucks. But uh, mantic mermaid 46 if was by me. And that username is auto generated. So don’t like, I get the weirdest, I get the weirdest trash-talk they’re like you, you like little girl like kicked your butt, blah, blah, blah.
But, um, anyways. Yeah, I mean, I just, I love building startups and
Andrew W: but I went back to my journal and I felt so, so unspecial for that because I grew up feeling like I was the only one who cared about entrepreneurship.
I had to fight my teachers to get to sell candy. I had to be the person who, instead of reading a fun, whatever Harry Potter type book wanted to read. Some, some dudes business book. Uh, one of my favorite was Roger Dawson. It was just like all these business tricks. I couldn’t wait to be in business to do it.
I thought, oh man, I thought I was the only one. It turns out other people felt that way too. And for a long time, my life, I wanted to find those other people. And then strangely, now that I’ve found so many of them, I think, whoa, this is not that special.
Why? How did you even know that? How is it that you knew it? You told me a little bit about your, your background. I don’t know how much you feel comfortable
Andrew G: Yeah. I mean,
Andrew W: that background with the challenging mother
Andrew G: I want to be the CEO of a
Andrew W: lead you to think about
Andrew G: I want to be the owner.
Andrew W: you say?
Andrew G: Yeah, I I’ll. Yeah. I’ll, I’ll give you the highlights. Um, you know, growing up for me was pretty rough. Um, my mom had me when she was, I don’t know the exact age because I have older brother, um, 18 or 19. So she had my older brother at, uh, 18. So two kids before the age of 21, my dad passed away from cancer when, um, I was six.
Uh, please don’t feel bad for me. Like my life is awesome and I. Feel what doesn’t break you makes you. Um, but we grew up on food stamps. Like I remember my mom doing things like skipping meals to feed us. Um, she cleaned houses. I would come and clean houses with her. Um, she eventually, uh, remarried. Um, so I had a stepfather relationship with my stepfather.
Wasn’t really the best. Um, you know, let’s just say, I, I didn’t, I didn’t have a father figure growing up. Um, I don’t have a good relationship with my stepfather. Um, we’re still working on that and it’s improving over time now that I’m a father and, um, but you know, we, we, we like would throw punches at each.
Like we had. Um, so there was a time where he came over, um, to our house. Um, my mom and stepdad were having some problems and I probably really said like, what are you doing here? Um, cause I found my parents and him were separating, Uh, cause we just never got along. Um, he always, you know, he would do things like, know, I’ll go as far as like he kinda, you know, lightly, physically like kind of tossed me around a little bit, nothing major, but definitely, you know, would easily just smack me just straight.
That was kind of the saying, um, once Magnum was on Christmas, he literally, um, called me like, you know, basically just saying I would never amount to anything. Um, and so. Uh, going back to when we threw blows, he came in and like, try to take my computer. And I went outside and I took it from him. This is the first time I really stood up to him and, um, just knocked him out flat.
I took my computer, walked back inside, lock the door, told my mom, I begged my mom. I, the fuck, this guy do this to me. Like, keep it rates me. He tries to steal my business ideas. Like the eBay business. He actually shut that down because
Andrew W: rather kill the business and
Andrew G: to have a PayPal account. And so he came to me and he said, Hey, in order for you to keep running this business, I need to have the profit.
And I shut it down on the spot. I said, fuck you. So I just had, you know, yeah. I was selling a number of different things, Muslim. I’m pretty embarrassing. I was selling like EverQuest characters, um, where I look for, uh, misspellings, like level 60 warlock, but they’d spell it. wrong. And then I basically arbitrage the difference. Um, so I was making my, you know, a couple of grand a month in high school.
Um, and I know this is like ninth
Andrew W: Why do you think
Andrew G: junior high, ninth grade. And, um, he wanted to get a piece of that. Um, and I said, no, and there constant examples of that Um, and, uh, yeah, it was just, it was just,
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: yeah, he, he treats my mom really well. That’s that’s one thing I have to give him credit for, you?
know, our relationship isn’t the best, but he truly loves my mom and he truly treats my mom really, really, really, really, really well. My mom also has been through, She had breast cancer. Um, when I was in college, we actually thought she was gonna pass away.
Um, he helped her, you know, get through all of that. Um, so we’ve just had a a tough time, you know, growing up and he’s always been there for her. So, um, he always has my respect for that. I’ve I literally, I, I’ve never kind of expressed sort of like these, you know, childhood sort of memories with him. Our relationship right now is just, we’re cool.
I love you. Like I forgive you for everything. Um, but yeah, there was moments where he’d tell me, like, um, you know, I’m never gonna amount to anything and. You know, I don’t, I don’t really know where that came from, but, um, yeah, I think that kind of shaped me a lot into just you know realizing like this is a life that I don’t want for my family.
I don’t want to be struggling for money. I don’t want to be, you know, kind of living in this environment. And then that was amplified by living in San Clemente where I go over my friend’s house and they have these mansions with ocean views. And like, like my friends were like, you know, um, professional skateboarders, special surfers, like just living like the dream.
And I’m like, and um, spring break comes around. Everyone’s like, oh, we’re going to Hawaii. I’m like, what’s why Um, so I didn’t get to go to Hawaii till I was like 25. Um, so I always felt kind of just like even college, I felt just kind of weird where, you know, you know, When you don’t grow up with, with, you? know, a lot of means, you just feel like, you just wonder, it just, it burns something into you.
That’s hard to explain. I’ve unpacked it with a number of entrepreneurs, but you know, it can be a blessing And a curse, like, you know, uh, for me it’s been the biggest blessing for some people. It can take you in a different direction where, um, you know, you just you do, you just let it kind of take you into an area where you just
Andrew W: you
Andrew G: never forgive.
You never forget. And you just say, you know,
Andrew W: I
Andrew G: XYZ happened to me in my life. That’s why I’m not successful. You make up all these
Andrew W: family. And it’s such a part of who he is.
Andrew G: excuse.
Andrew W: it’s what motivates him. It’s what keeps him going. It’s what defines him. And he doesn’t talk about it, but it’s always underlying him and. I’ve been wondering how much of that, how much pain is helpful for keeping us fired up. And also frankly, how much now that I don’t have any pain, now that life is pretty good.
I’m not pushing forward as much as I did when I, when I felt like everybody hated me, I couldn’t relate to anybody and I needed to show them. And I look at you, you know, the early days of micro choir, you were surfing, I think in the morning you were hanging out somehow. I don’t know if you were surfing where you surfing in the morning.
Okay. I don’t know where, um, you basically living a comfortable life. You kept telling us, look, I could do whatever I want now. And, and still you decided
Andrew G: No, because, uh, the water and
Andrew W: You could have kept charging monthly fees. You
Andrew G: and I, and I just had a
Andrew W: growing nights,
Andrew G: yeah.
Andrew W: or there are all these people we’re trying to give you money.
People who we know who I’ve interviewed, who basically said, let me invest. And you know, that you could have gone to venture capitalists and raised even more. And you’re at a crunch so many times. I wonder why you decided to inflict all this pain on yourself and it has been pain, right. To go bigger. Why did you do it?
Why, why now do you feel the need to go and suffer to do that?
Andrew G: it’s pretty good question. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say it’s suffering. I would say, you know, I’ve, I have a high confidence in my ability as an entrepreneur. Um, I always have, um, and I wanted to. You know, I, I felt like I got an opportunity to play for the New York Yankees, like highest caliber, like, you know, the opportunity to help, you know, entrepreneurs on a much larger scale.
Yes. It comes with more stress, more management. Um, it’ll probably take, you know, a couple of years off my life with distress, but it’s, it’s what mentally stimulates me. It’s again, going back to like what I wanted to be when I was a kid. Um, I felt business apps could have been bigger, but I made mistakes. I was young, like, you know, there’s there’s billion dollar, you
Andrew W: Aldo comes up
Andrew G: no-code app owners today.
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: Um, like Samarin, um, that’s the main one that comes to mind I’m out of the market now, but I always see like a new go go sites. Due to mobile. Um, you know, so I made a lot. of mistakes with that business and I felt, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s take a swing and then it’s also just more mentally stimulating,
Andrew W: to try and recruit my old friends who I built this other business with.
Andrew G: I get to build what I
Andrew W: if, and I’m going to tell them if they don’t come on, then I’m not going to do
Andrew G: best
Andrew W: to raise money. I’m just going to keep it
Andrew G: so I’m not doing everything before. So we got.
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: Yeah, I did that. And then when the first funding round and closed with Naval and Jeremy Levine and Andres Klinger, uh, they, they won put in their notice and, uh, they ran the business within three weeks. So yeah, I got, so it Was an opportunity to work with people that these these are also really important things to me is having fun, um, having an impact because being realistic, like if we sell this business for like a couple of hundred million dollars, I’m not going to buy another, Like what am I going to do It’s like, I’m just going to go buy Martin my Vanguard fund. Like I don’t care. It’s not gonna make me any happier. Um, Maybe I’ll upgrade my car, but it’s not, it’s not going to be like a business app sort of outcome where my life changes. I no longer have to think about money. Like, um, so it just felt like an opportunity where everything came together correctly, where Jeremy Levine, uh, been friends with him for six plus years.
Andrew W: a father figure
Andrew G: Yeah. Jeremy Levine from Bessemer. He’s still on the board of Shopify, Yelp.
Andrew W: with them in a way
Andrew G: He’s a, he’s a, he’s a gangster and he’s cool. And he.
Andrew W: This is bill.com. Founder . Yeah.
Andrew G: So I actually met Jeremy through Christian. Um, Jeremy was going to invest in Christian Friedland’s company. And then, yeah, let me tell you a funny story about my first meeting with Jeremy. Um, he came to my office, my business apps office in Millbrae and this Is the office directly across from men and out.
If you’ve ever fallen in SFO, it’s a piece of shit. It literally is from like that seventies show it as ashtrays in the hallway and he shows up and I didn’t know who he was. Um, cause I had been meeting with a ton of VCs and I was just kinda like, all right, you’re just another VC. Um, obviously with respect, um, and I said, do you want me to go get some burgers?
I’m like starving. Um, and I remember asking him just like, Hey, so you’re in venture capital. But it’s like, maybe like your favorite investment, any in Jeremy is the most humble guy. Like he, and he’s super funny and he’s just, he’s he’s, I can’t say enough good things about him. Um, but he just humbly just kind of whispers over, like, yeah.
So, um, you know, found this company and like this really like kind of, kind of a dumpster, it was like a, an apartment. Um, they had all reduced their salaries. Um, they, they had just created this like pinning product. Um, the company’s called Pinterest and I’m just like, huh. Okay.
Andrew W: it on? Is he putting you on and Fiverr
Andrew G: and he like, another one I really enjoy is um, uh, have you heard of Yelp?
Andrew W: way you are?
Andrew G: just like, yes, Jeremy I’ve heard of Yelp, like, and he tells me about Like Shopify and he tells you about like, All I’ll say is I asked for a car, he drives, he drives. Um, I hope he doesn’t get upset for saying this. He drives a, um, because we, we were talking about like, uh, we have a monthly meeting where we talk about just life and the business and stuff like that and ask them, you know.
um, cause I bought an SUV, a new SUV for my
Andrew W: a minivan.
Andrew G: And uh, he drives a Toyota
Andrew W: way, when you say you bought a
Andrew G: Um, so super humble guy. Um,
Andrew W: transport
Andrew G: you know, he’s just one of those people that like, he, you know, he, yeah. Yeah. Good, good, good, good, good clarification. I bought my wife SUV and then I had, uh, the second thing I bought after I sold business apps was this blowout, uh, AMG, Mercedes, which basically screamed like midlife crisis. So I sold that and I bought an SUV. I got a car seat.
now in my own
Andrew W: member
Andrew G: I’m full. I’m full blown dad.
Andrew W: to ask you again, Andrew is a person
Andrew G: but, um,
Andrew W: Imagine if someone
Andrew G: does, does that answer your question about him?
Andrew W: or they can charge for a community or they could charge for content or courses.
Have you seen any on micro acquire any businesses that are as simple as here’s access to a community and we’re, we’re building it, uh, on a paid model you have, how big, how big could that type of thing get and give us some advice. If someone were going to use member fold to create one for themselves,
Andrew G: Yeah.
Um, number one, get customers, um, my crew fire, where we focused on, you know, traction with customers. So that’d be number one. And I always kind of do the Kaaba answer. Go, niche goes super narrow. like, when I launched micro acquire, I went specific to SAS and we’ve now expanded to communities. E-commerce direct to consumer cookie dough, mobile apps.
Um, we just listed a, uh, car dealership doing 21 million a year for fun. Um, but go like super specific to a super specific customer.
Andrew W: copy micro
Andrew G: And I guess I would say before we even launch anything, talk to customers, talk to customers, fall in love with the problem, not the product.
Andrew W: and they become the micro buyer
Andrew G: that’d probably be my best advice.
Andrew W: I have been laughing at the knockoffs lately of micro choir and they don’t even pick a different name. They shouldn’t, they pick the worst part of your
Andrew G: for no-code projects.
Andrew W: I think was really good for getting started. My guess is that you’re going to switch away from micro choir to something
Andrew G: it’s sort of it’s routine.
Andrew W: I see. But you’re going bigger. And now you’ve got dealers checar dealerships on your platform.
Andrew G: Listen, if my group Microsoft with they’re tiny and soft company name,
Andrew W: Oh, wow. Okay. Interesting. What about this? What if somebody goes and gets a member folds
Andrew G: that’s my answer, Microsoft, without
Andrew W: going to say maybe be the
Andrew G: it. If They did it. Okay. So my Micro’s
Andrew W: start
Andrew G: to stay.
Andrew W: saying, look, you’ll be in my email list. People pay to get this email is we don’t even have to include your name.
We just have to talk about what type of stuff you’re selling. And, uh, and then they put together an email list of businesses for sale, they offer for free. And then after a couple of months of doing this, they say to people who are on the list, if you really want the good stuff you have to pay, if you want to get early access, you have to pay something like that.
That becomes a model. Does that make sense? If they have, if someone in my audience is a member full account and they decided to build that.
Andrew G: Yeah, then I’ve encouraged him to do it like a backstory on business apps too, is, uh, we had like four direct clones of our product All the way down to the bugs,
Andrew W: Here’s the, here’s the software. if you want
Andrew G: words that I made up, like we used to find, um,
Andrew W: basically
Andrew G: always say if
Andrew W: your audience, here’s
Andrew G: try harder next time. Um, so yes, please, please come copy me.
Andrew W: And it’s just works. It’s beautiful. It’s owned by Patriot now, which means that it’s a company that you can trust and it’s available for free. If you use my URL it’s member full.com/mixergy. Alright, closing it out with this. Where are you going with micro acquire? What’s the future.
Andrew G: So our mission is pretty simple. Um, I viewed the MNA marketplace today as fragmented, uh, kind of like the wild wild west. So we want to consolidate the industry. We want to bring everyone involved in acquisitions together. Including M and a advisors. We want to work with business brokers. So original messaging was like no brokers, but, um, we actually hired a broker in house, um, uh, to lead, uh, VP of MNA, um, marketplace.
Um, so that’s been interesting, uh, also hired an attorney in house to help build out the MNA attorney side of the marketplace. So we want to consolidate the industry, everyone from, You know again, attorneys, many advisors, business brokers, investment bankers, due diligence experts, um, accountants, are we forgetting a few wealth managers like my sole business abs that’s the first thing I needed, but it was just a reference, like, you know, there’s so much trust, but, um, and I joke around with Jeremy about this.
I was like, what if we did that? But like, have you heard about Yelp? Like what if it had like reviews like Yelp and you’re just like, God damn an Andrew. I I do that demo all The time, but like, we’re an entrepreneurial can go in. Like if I was selling, looking to sell business apps and I find a guy that has successfully had acquisitions close with GoDaddy, or,
Andrew W: built to
Andrew G: you know, Wix like ideal
Andrew W: there are a lot of businesses that
Andrew G: I want to work with that person because they seem to have a good relationship with these large strategics.
Andrew W: has been really good about helping some of those businesses organize.
What do you think of that?
I don’t know what that’s called, but that kind of consultant seems really helpful for businesses getting ready to go and list itself.
Andrew G: Yeah. Like that’s another thing that we’re looking at is just, yeah. And you can hire those individuals. Yeah.
within the marketplace and that’s probably going to dictate our roadmap a little bit. Like we see a lot of opportunity to improve things like escrow or streamlining legal dog creation, even just transferring assets right now, people are just creating like Google shared sheets.
You know, there’s a hundred different ways to Do it, but, you know, Y Combinator standardized, you know, the safe investment agreement, like we feel we can standardize, you know, the LOI, um, potentially the NDA, um, not the purchase agreement. Cause that’s where it gets really crazy. Mine was like 150 pages long.
Um, But, um, yeah, that’s, that’s kinda where we’re headed. We want to be the Zillow of emanate. Um, essentially the place that helps brokers find, you know, more, uh, clients to service because after you’re trying to research brokers spend half of their time on sales marketing, trying to find your business, just like any business.
Like they, they gotta find your clients. We have thousands of album out. Um, and then, uh, we also want to build ways for brokers that are representing, uh, customers or excuse me, uh, businesses to sell, to listen micro choir so we can help their clients sell so we can help brokers make more money, and then we can help more startups get acquired.
And then the goal of all this is, uh, really twofold. One to increase the amount of acquisitions, because if you’re going through a life-changing acquisition, I, I, I recommend getting some professional help. Like if you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table. Um, you know, we’re, we’re still seeing like really there is a $7 million acquisition, um, that went down over the weekend that I found out about.
Um, so entrepreneurs are, are starting to, you know, really get familiar with how to run an acquisition process by themselves. I sold my business without an investment bank. I just have light. I hired one previously didn’t work or close a deal with them. But, um, the actual deal that I did, I did,
Andrew W: can you, do you need a license in order to be a business broker in order to hire you in a broker
Andrew G: but yeah, if you don’t like, if you need help, you should get it. Um, and then, um, where was I going with that? Yeah, we just want to,
Andrew W: And are you now
Andrew G: yeah, so a lot of people don’t understand this. Uh, in order to take commission on the sale of a business, you need to be a certified business broker. And so that’s why we, I am I personally, yeah, since we’ve hired one in house, um, we’re basically able to get the organization stamped. Um, and there’s all the there’s, there’s some legal stuff that and that’s another thing I see competitors doing where I’m like, you shouldn’t talk to an attorney cause it’s, you know, there’s some, there’s some, there’s some regulatory laws around Africa.
Good reason. Um, it’s a little outdated, it’s more geared towards like main street businesses, you know, if you have a physical presence as a restaurant. Um, but yeah, so we’re bringing on people that can help us, You know, legally not only work with brokers and, um,
Andrew W: Was that
Andrew G: Like another fun fact is to take referral commissions from other attorneys.
Andrew W: Why?
Andrew G: essentially be a,
Andrew W: whole
Andrew G: I could be wrong on this, but you need
Andrew W: a business or buying a
Andrew G: to be an attorney. like only attorneys can take referral fees from attorneys.
Andrew W: want to have the
Andrew G: Yeah. Like we’ve, we’ve, we’ve triple checked, like all this stuff. So
Andrew W: You know what I invested in, I invested in the humble guy who just so constantly growing. I wonder why you didn’t take investment money from angels first. Why did you go to Bessemer first and then come
Andrew G: yeah. I want to, I want to build what I wish I had were, you know,
Andrew W: bunch of others? No, no. Can we say within the interview you can say it.
Yeah. And then we should end the podcast. I, I just have so many questions I should just, frankly, come to you. I only have a few more days here in San Francisco. I should just drive over to your house and,
Andrew G: are we, are we ending the podcast or do you want to hear it? Yeah, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you Please do. Um, so with Jeremy and the bean, um, so he preempted, um, I was not looking to raise capital. I turned them down like three times. I kept saying like, um,
Andrew W: Why.
Andrew G: so the first thing I did was, um, I remember, um, I was in our founder group. I talked about raising like a small amount, a very small, like 200,000.
And then that just got out of hand, like I was asking. was just trying to raise like 200 cages for, You know, almost like an advisory board, um, to still kind of keep the company bootstrapped, But still have a little bit of capital and people have a little bit of, um, equity in the business. Um, but then some people were saying like, Hey, like, um, Jeremy wanted to be involved.
Um, Hey, like we don’t want this VC involved because that’s a bad signal. Next time you raise, um, I’m asking like, Hey, would you be willing to put in a 25
Andrew W: maybe even two, you could
Andrew G: No, can we put in 250,000? I’m like, oh
Andrew W: investors, right?
Andrew G: no, this is other firms. Like, uh, it just, it just started to be like a feeding frenzy. And I just said, fuck, this.
I’m like, But, um, let me get to my, my next point. So what I did was, um, I took 200,000 of my own money and I wired it into my bank account. And then I messaged, everybody said, Hey, I closed the seed round. I funded it entirely myself. Um, thanks for the interest. Um, if you know, it makes sense to restart the conversation, I’ll reach out.
And then Jeremy, um, said, Hey, let’s catch up in, uh, two weeks. And then, um, two week mark, I got my, uh, vac vaccination. So counseled that call, pushed him out a little bit, little farther. Um, so not, not, uh, uh, I didn’t not feel good that day. Uh, and, um, you know, he just told me one thing he said. Um, so he did, um, He invested 2.2 million at a $22 million valuation.
So that’s like four X from three weeks ago. Um, and he just said something simple. He said, listen, Andrew, I will increase the value of your company by 10%. And I’m going to give you $2.2 million. I want to work with you. And so I guess my answer to that is I wanted to work with Jeremy. Like I didn’t, I didn’t want the money. I wanted his expertise and his, his guidance. Cause he’s seen so much And he’s kind of in. my little entrepreneurial circle, like he’s introduction from Christian Freeland is someone I trust like, and when you’re doing a price round with a VC, that relationship is so important because this is the person that, you know, kind of puts controls in your business. and then after that, I, I, you know, we announced the fundraise and then a flood of people are like, can I invest? Can I best? And then I
Andrew W: now that I see what you do,
Andrew G: okay, sure. And that’s going to have the second
Andrew W: what valuation was I
Andrew G: came together,
Andrew W: Okay. So, so he dealt, so it was double essentially. All right. I just feel good about micro choir because I feel good about, I feel good about you.
I, I want, I like this as
Andrew G: uh, 40 million.
Andrew W: to get rich off of this. I don’t, I don’t even know if I’m going to get any money back, which strangely I should have hard feelings when I don’t get money back on an investment, or I should feel like if I lose a chess match, Andrew, I swear my whole house hears about it.
I’m playing on chess.com. I lose there’s an Aw God. Like I, I will yell for some reason what these angel investments, you lose it. There isn’t any hard feelings for some reason, but it’s also not. Life-changing, it’s just. It’s just kind of a bond with something that you like. Is that a weird thing to say? I think if a guest told me that in an interview, I tell them to just shut up and be open with me about the reality of it not be so airy fairy,
Andrew G: No, I, I think. you’re it again, it’s like, um, I go back to the country’s love money where, you know, like you, you, you own a piece of this. Um, and, uh, I’ll say two things, um, you know, I appreciate your support. Um, I told this to Jeremy too. I said, listen, I can’t guarantee that this is going to be successful, but I can guarantee you I’m going to work my fucking ass off because I believe in this, I believe this needs to exist for entrepreneurs and I’m going to make it. happen. And the market opportunity is real and It’s there. And you know, all I need to do is execute. So, you know, we might be having a second talk where maybe we’re, we’re having a steak dinner or something like that, hopefully, or you’ll, or you’ll hate me. We’ll see which way it goes. Second. Um, uh, a last fun note.
Um, I asked, I actually, um, uh, used to be like a chess champion when I was younger. So we should play a chess. Yeah. I have like 40 plus
Andrew W: how many people are
Andrew G: Um, I was, I was really good in, I was really good in like
Andrew W: James Altucher is
Andrew G: I like learned really. I used to do a three-minute checkmate. I read all of Bobby Fischer’s books.
Andrew W: Oh, then let’s play. Okay. I just realized I was on angel list is there’s a whole
Andrew G: I suck. I suck.
Andrew W: Do not disclose. I don’t even, I think I’m allowed to disclose how much I invested, but I say this I’m going to give you my username on chest.com. We’ll
Andrew G: I suck now. I suck
Andrew W: we’ll play these like a multi-day
Andrew G: completely beat me. Um,
Andrew W: don’t reveal my name to everyone. I like having my little isolation where I’m playing and I get angry and I get happy without the world noticing.
And it’s just a bunch of strangers from all over the world who pop into my life there.
That’s going to be,
Andrew G: uh, I’m going to go with ManTech mermaid again, because
Andrew W: Okay.
Andrew G: have my friends make fun of me. So they’re like, how did you why mantic
Andrew W: way longer than any other interview that I’ve done in probably years, but I
Andrew G: named Madden. So, um, I’ll, uh, I’ll fire up a
Andrew W: buy and sell a business, or just a, I
Andrew G: mantic mermaid will come, will
Andrew W: There’s micro acquire.com micro acquire.com. And I want to thank two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first Andrew and I are both using them. It’s called HostGator. If you need to host a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When he throws lash Mixergy at the end, they give you the lowest possible price.
In addition to all the other great benefits that you get, and frankly, their prices low in great service. Anyway, so go to hostgator.com/mixergy, because you’re going to be doing me a favor now for the discount. And number two, if you want to sell access content, access to community, you need software that allows you to do it and member full we’ll do it.
Go to member, fool.com/mixer. To get that for free to go try it for free. All right, Andrew. Thanks so much for doing this. Bye everyone.