Personal finance startup Mint.com announced last week that it had been acquired by Intuit for $170 million. That immediately stirred up incorrect conspiracy theories that Mint’s investors had forced the company to sell out before it should have, etc.
In a phone interview, Mint founder and CEO Aaron Patzer confirmed our report from last week: That his investors did not pressure him to “exit,” and that it was his decision to sell his company just two years after launching. (If anything, his later-stage investors were not thrilled that he was selling so quickly; they would have preferred a much larger, later exit, given Mint’s long-term potential.)
Specifically, Patzer told us he chose to sell for two reasons:
- The opportunity to build something huge, grow Mint internationally, and run an important division of a huge company with tens of millions of users. (He’s taking over Intuit’s personal finance group, with his team from Mint, and will be running Mint, Quicken, and Quicken Online.)
- Because it’s $170 million! As we noted last week, while that’s not $1 billion, it is a lot of money, and 28-year-old Patzer can plan his life differently as a result.
So what’s he going to do now? Not buy a house or anything crazy, Patzer says. He may replace his old cars with a Prius, and he’s thinking about investing in some startups.
Regarding the specifics of the deal, Intuit approached Patzer earlier this year, and quickly pounced with an acquisition offer.
Patzer says he thought about it for a few months, going back and forth on the decision. After price negotiations — likely helped by the company’s latest fundraising round, which reportedly valued the company at $140 million — Patzer eventually accepted Intuit’s latest offer.
Patzer says he does not have an earnout, but is on contract with Intuit for three years. By then, he’ll be 31 and should still have a lot of money in the bank. (As the only founder of Mint, he “did very well,” but won’t disclose the stake he held when Mint sold.)