Almost immediately after raising our seed round, we started getting inbound calls from companies looking to sell to Yesware. In almost three years, we hadn’t seen anything we loved so much it was worth the time, energy and risk of doing a deal – until today.
Today we are happy to announce that Yesware is buying Attachments.me. The Techcrunch article sums up the particulars nicely. But it doesn’t really talk about how we contemplate acquisitions, so I wanted to write down my thinking on that topic. Of course, this can change.
Our three screens for acquiring companies are simple:
- Do the people at the company genuinely resonate with our mission to “Help people create value with every exchange”? Can they be force multipliers as we together work to reach our near term goals? Do they care deeply about helping salespeople, their colleagues and their companies continually improve performance? Do they care as much about their own professional experience? Will they flourish in our culture?
- Are there tangible things that the company has that will improve our chances to succeed? Has the company built technology, features, products or processes that we know will help Yesware grow?
- Can we get a deal done? Are the parties involved reasonable to deal with and relatively grounded in reality? Given that time is of the essence, can they move quickly? Can they correctly balance risk of exposure with time and money to CYA?
The team at Attachments.me blazed through all three screens in record time. I’ve known Jesse Miller for two years, and his co-founder Ben Coe for the last six months. They always impressed me with their dedication to customer-focused design. The more I got to know Dan Reed, Larry Kang and Aubrey Zagata, the more I felt the cultural fit. They are all incredibly hard workers who built and distributed their product to more users than we at Yesware had. The more we talked, the more I appreciated their professional ambition, and felt their desire to keep doing great things.
Among the tangible things that the Attachments team had built was great Gmail and mobile technology and deep backend services very complimentary to our own. In addition to those assets, we’ve been overdue in establishing a presence in the Bay Area. We have so many customers and prospects in the area. This acquisition coincided with our first Customer Confidence Advocate, Andrew Hall, moving out to San Francisco. Things about this opportunity felt like they were falling into place.
Finally, everyone working on the deal had the right approach. Even in a relatively small acquisition, the mix of employees, former employees, advisors, investors, board members and lawyers can get sticky.
We got through the awkward pricing discussion with only one difficult moment. Even then, the awkwardness didn’t last for long, because everyone in the negotiation cared more about the success of the overall deal than holding on to misunderstandings. Once that moment passed, we made quick progress. When one law firm was too expensive, we quickly got another one who moved more quickly and less expensively to make it happen. I’m still blown away that the deal went so smoothly.
Most of the time, mergers and acquisitions don’t work out. Everyone at Yesware East and Yesware West is going to work hard to make sure we’re in the minority. Someone from Yesware East has been in the West office every week since we started talking. We’ve set up Hipchat together, and have dedicated, always-on Skype video chat between the two offices. But the proof will be over the long haul… we’ve got a lot of work to do.
The good news is that, since this opportunity passed through our three screens, I’m very confident that the two teams together will be much stronger than either one.
Welcome to the great folks at Yesware West, and here’s to making the magic happen.