10 Founders Spill What It's Like To Be Acquired By Google, AOL And Microsoft

Michael Arrington tim armstrong

Photo: Flickr/TechCrunch

37 Signals interviewed a bunch of founders and let them vent about their former acquisitions.Some were grateful, others were devastated.

They spill what it was like to sell startups to Google, AOL, Microsoft and more. We sum up their thoughts.

Founder: Nick Wilder

Sold to: [email protected] in 1999, CNET in 2004 and American Greetings in 2009.

Wilder's thoughts: 'Webshots has been in steep decline ever since, and it's depressing to see your baby wither away. According to Alexa, it was once a top-20 ranked property (1999-2003 was the high); Now it's around 1000.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Samuel Rogoway

Sold to: SideStep in 2007

Rogoway's thoughts: 'On the one hand, we realised a successful exit in a market that was becoming increasingly saturated...On the other hand, Kayak subsequently acquired Sidestep and phased out TripUp, which was sad.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Craig Walker

Sold to: Google in 2007 (it's now Google Voice)

Walker's thoughts: 'At the end of the day, more users were definitely better off due to the acquisition as it got out to many more people.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Laurel Touby

Sold to: Jupiter Media in 2007

Touby's thoughts: 'I knew from the day I took investors in March of 2000 that I would sell the company, so I was not surprised by the sale.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Brent Stewart

Sold to: Kayak in 2007

Stewart's thoughts: 'Given that the economy took a significant downturn very soon after the agreement was finalised, most of us (on the receiving end) feel the timing couldn't have been better.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Christoph Janz

Sold to: LiveUniverse in 2008

Janz's thoughts: 'The impact of the acquisition on the product and the customers was devastating.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Oren Etzioni

Sold to: Microsoft in 2008

Etzioni's thoughts: 'The best thing is that the product and the team found a good home in a company that's both technically very strong and has deep pockets to invest in the product.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

Founder: Matt Galligan

Sold to: AOL in 2008

Galligan's thoughts: 'The amount you sell for should be the amount that it takes for you to be ok with never working on your product again.'

Read the full quote on 37signals >>

It can really pay off to not sell. Check out:

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