Dan Ushman and Zak Boca co-founded SingleHop, which manages web servers dedicated to particular clients, after selling MidPhase, another web hosting company they co-founded.
How I Did It; Lessons Learned: Starting Your Next Business
Dan Ushman and Zak Boca, co-founders of MidPhase share how they left their first company behind to found SingleHop, a dedicated hosting service.
00:04 Zak Boca: We started MidPhase together which is a shared web-hosting company and I think we like the idea of the recurring revenue from running a hosting company ourselves and it was... Had the knowledge, the marketing knowledge, and so we gave it a go of about $1500.
When did you know your first company together had matured?
00:25 Boca: I started making sales calls when I was probably 15, selling advertising. So you wanted to play up your... On conference calls before schools, you wanted to play up I guess your experience, your age, you certainly wanted them to know how old you are. But it took a while to realize, I guess now we're legitimate, now we're of age, now you don't have to worry so much about how we're young guys or that. It took a... We were probably doing a couple of million of bucks revenue before it just seemed to feel right.
How did you transition to your second company?
01:05 Dan Ushman: It wasn't until the beginning of '06 when we started to see a lot of demand and desire from our clients for kind of dedicated hosting products. So, we decided that we would do this under the SingleHop name. We built a great brand and on October of '06, we put up our website and we started the business. Zak spent a lot of his time getting SingleHop off the ground.
01:28 Boca: So I would go between the companies and SingleHop was kind of this, like incubator company that had this cool idea and product. That was kind of a cool place to be as the real startup environment.
What was it like to move on to your next venture?
01:49 Ushman: It's like watching your kid go to college, right? It was actually very hard to let go of MidPhase. I'll tell any entrepreneur your first exit it is tough on a number of levels beyond just cashing out and walking away. It's letting go of something that you built and created.
02:10 Boca: I think that first time you like sell the company and suddenly like that, it's not yours. That's kind of bizarre.
Was starting your second company together easier than the first?
02:21 Boca: We'd seen some of the challenges with MidPhase. So we had kind of addressed that in how we built out some of our systems. And with SingleHop from day one, it was exciting because we had... We had differentiated products. We knew there was a market that was interested in it and we had spent a lot of time developing that out. So we were ahead of the competition.