Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lijit Acquisition

Wow. What an illustration of how sticking with a company/team through thick and thin can yield big dividends. With a little time, amazing things can happen. I'm overjoyed with what the Lijit team pulled off. After four years (at least) of various strategies, business models, and approaches, they made it rain. I'm just blown away.

  • It can take years for something to come to fruition. If at first you don't succeed, try try again. We've learned this lesson over at Gnip (my co.) as well. It took a couple of years, but the pistons caught and things are going great. I can only hope for an exit on the order, or greater, than what Lijit just pulled off. Patience.
  • If you're an employee at a startup, buy every share of stock you have access to, as soon as they become available, no matter how bad things look/feel. If you quit, or are let go, buy everything you have access to. You never know what can happen downstream. To those who left Lijit and didn't acquire your stock, I'm sorry, but you broke the golden rule. You simply can't beat the odds and economies of scale that employee private stock option exercises offer. Sure odds are stacked heavily against a startup, but the potential upside dwarfs anything you can do in open public markets.
  • Todd & Manny stuck with co-located hardware for their system. I always thought this was odd (still do). Gnip is 100% in the cloud. Lijit does go to show buying/leasing/managing your own iron isn't dead (yet).
  • Seth Levine at Foundry Group is going on to be a board member of the acquiring/combined company. He's obviously becoming a powerhouse in the adtech space at large. Nice having him in our backyard (even though he trounced me on a gorgeous fall ride the other day).
  • This was a huge win for the Boulder, CO software community. Undoubtedly big economics involved here, in Boulder.
  • Hardcore systems engineering == intense value and amazing product. No web-app here folks, just nose-to-the-grindstone engineering (Manny... you and your team are "the [wo]men").
  • AdTech remains a massive marketplace and economic driver on the internet (whether you like it or not). The deal sizes that continue to happen 15 years after ad networks really kicked in, on 15 yr old frameworks and models, tell me that AdTech is evermore poised to evolve to take into account, or even be overrun by, real-time behavioral frameworks and models that social content enables (go Gnip!) in the AdTech arena. 15 year old models built on cookies and clicks still driving the economy... you've got to be kidding me. Time for change.
I'm proud of the entire Lijit team.

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