Entrepreneur

Exitround is an Ashley Madison for entrepreneurs. Sort of.

So, imagine you’re a startup founder. You’ve been going at it for a year or two, and you think it’s going pretty well.

Trouble is, you’re having a hard time scratching together a much-needed Series B. And you’re not the Andrew Mason type who’s gonna take it public, come hell or high water, and refuse all acquisition offers. Matter of fact, an acquisition offer — even one of a acquihiring or strategic nature — would suit you just fine right about now.

That’s where Exitround comes in. It’s an anonymous and discreet network for founders and larger companies, allowing you to shop around through a relatively private site looking for the right buyers, and allowing interested buyers to find you, all without exposing your shame (or whatever you want to call it) to the prying eyes of the wider Internet.

At what point, though, do we just admit that there are simply too many startups run and staffed by people who would be better served (and would serve the community better) as just normal people with day jobs? After all, a semi-failed startup that gets a strategic acquisition is a long, expensive road to a desk job anyway, isn’t it?

We posed this question to one Jacob Mullins, Exitround’s founder, via email last night. He replied, “Actually, my interest behind Exitround is not trying to increase the number of acquisitions that may or may not happen.

“Rather, my interest for it is to be an additional tool for startup founders as they consider their options for the next stage of their business. Their urgent need to do something, combined with the starvation for talent most growing tech companies are experiencing, seems to be a close divide that could be bridged by a product like this.”

Mullins is also a Shasta Ventures VC who previously worked at Microsoft and, way back in the mists of time (2007), put in a ten-month biz dev stint at VentureBeat. Mullins will continue working at Shasta and is careful to note that his VC work and his overseeing an acquisitions networking site will remain separate.


Related: Silicon Valley’s big, dumb angel bubble


In addition to providing founders and buyers with a hookup solicitation platform, Exitround will also serve as an in-depth PSA about the dangers (and benefits) of early-stage acquisitions.

“There are resources ad nauseam teaching entrepreneurs how to fundraise, but there is very little information about the process, expectations, and potential outcomes of early stage tech startup acquisitions,” reads a post from Mullins on the new company’s blog.

“Exitround will pull the covers off of this entire process through both online and offline content that will help educate founders on what to expect.”

He continues to write that as a VC, he has the unenviable task of turning down Series A seekers. He also has to try to help his own companies who have recruitment problems — a common enough issue given the current hiring climate for tech companies.

“When actually there are some incredibly smart people sitting across the table from me every day who could be a perfect addition to these teams.

“I’m trying to connect those dots, and in this case, those people, for the betterment of the employees, the investors, and the founders.”

Image credit: Tom Wang/Shutterstock


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