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Twitter Helped Me Sell My Company (Investment Bankers, Watch Out)

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 1, 2009 07:08 AM

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Frustrated by an unfulfilling gig at a start-up company, programmer Craig Spitzkoff decided to create a Web site as a side project. JobVent would allow anyone who had a gripe about their employer to share it online. (Check the scathing reviews of medical device maker Boston Scientific.)

Spitzkoff started the site in 2004, and by this year it was attracting about 150,000 unique visitors each month, and had been featured on "Good Morning America."

But Spitzkoff, now a vice president of development at Raizlabs in Brookline, was also feeling like he'd run out of the time and motivation to keep maintaining the site, and he was going through a health crisis.

So last June, he mentioned on his blog that JobVent was for sale, and he sent out a tweet to his 185 followers on Twitter. "Found a few semi-interested parties," he tweeted a few days later, "but nothing serious yet." Later in June, he was "Skyping with a potential European suitor." By July, the deal had closed.

"'Yay' means I sold my first company," Spitzkoff told a friend on Twitter. "Yes... there will be tequila shots."

JobVent, Spitzkoff says, had been generating revenue from advertising that was "in the tens of thousands of dollars a year." Still, by 2009, "I'd gotten tired of listening to people complain about their jobs," he says.

Spitzkoff's Twitter messages attracted the attention of Glassdoor, a start-up in Sausalito, CA funded by Benchmark Capital. Like JobVent, Glassdoor aims to collect comments about employers from employees, but also to share information about salaries, benefits, and the job interview experience. Glassdoor is a newer site, having launched in June 2008.

Glassdoor's acquisition of JobVent was an all-cash deal, Spitzkoff says, pegging the purchase price at somewhere under $100,000. A Glassdoor spokeswoman wouldn't comment on the particulars of the deal, except to say that JobVent will continue to operate independently: "We believe that there's value in both brands being separate and distinct."

When I ran into Spitzkoff at the Web Innovators Group meeting earlier on Tuesday, he seemed happy about how easy the transaction had been -- no investment bankers involved. Afterward, he tweeted that it was a "nice feeling telling people who remember the JobVent guy that I sold it."

Spitzkoff is now focusing entirely on his work at Raizlabs, primarily helping start-ups develop mobile applications.

(Here's a post from earlier this month speculating about the JobVent deal by Tom Summit at Genotrope.)

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1 comments so far...
  1. Way to go Craig! Congrats.

    Posted by Greg October 3, 09 12:32 AM


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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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March 3: Web Innovators Group
Demos, drinks, and schmoozing at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

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Issues facing the region's life sciences community.