Four-time entrepreneur Joe Apprendi talks about exiting three companies and how his latest--Collective, a New York online advertising firm--could be his home run, an IPO.
How I Did It: Making an Exit
Serial entrepreneur Joe Apprendi talks about knowing when and how to leave a business you created.
00:07 Joe Apprendi: Joe Apprendi, CEO of Collective. We're called the audience engine, we're in the audience targeting and fulfillment business. Basically delivering audiences for brand advertisers and agencies in the online display and video market.
What have you learned from exiting three companies?
00:28 Apprendi: You don't have to hit a home run on your first entrepreneurial start up, I always believed on that too. Some entrepreneurs don't think that way, they want to hit a home run instantaneously. I thought, hit a single, go for a double, go for a triple, and maybe Collective will be that home run. It was my third internet start up, three of which successfully exited. But if I look back at least in some of the things that I learned from exiting successfully in three other companies, first was what we were early, when Click Now was one of the early ad networks in the sector, there wasn't a lot of competition, we were an innovator in the category and there were natural consolidators. I was quickly going to be a consolidatee, if you will, versus a consolidator. And identified an acquirer, they reached out to us and we took advantage of that.
How do you know when to exit?
01:24 Apprendi: There's a lot of factors associated with perfect timing for an exit. The market environment's got to be great, got to be interested parties, and you've got to be operating at a level that makes you attractive at a price point that you want to sell. The only thing that you can control is your strategy, how you're executing against that strategy, and producing the best possible results against that vision.
01:48 Apprendi: Collective is very different today. Now we are more the acquirer versus the seller. So we passed that point in terms of scale. So now it's about, "How can we successfully acquire so that we may be in the best position to exit which may likely be an IPO at some point in the future. So this is all new for me, but a different path maybe, but I'm still leveraging all the experience I have with prior point solution companies that were sold to bigger companies.