Reflections On My First Exit
Last Wednesday, the acquisition of our portfolio company Fanbread by RockYou was announced. It was a bittersweet moment for me seeing it in the press. I am ecstatic for the team but it also marked the end of my involvement with the company which admittedly (and maybe selfishly) is a little sad for me.
See, Fanbread represented a lot of firsts for me. It was the first investment I sourced that AITV invested in. It was the first deal I led (alongside our GP Brent Granado). It was the first company I sat on the board of and now it’s my first investment to exit.
Over the last two years I have grown close to the company and the team. I have had a front row seat to watch them work tirelessly to grow the business (100% rev growth QoQ ain’t too shabby). We grappled with product decisions and market dynamics. We walked through hiring and fundraising options. We set priorities, debated trade offs, and made tough decisions. We went through the trenches of building a company, but we did it together.
I will forever be extremely proud of the team, even if this isn’t a billion dollar exit. Karl is exactly the type of founder every VC wants to invest in. Great domain expertise, infectious enthusiasm that attracts top talent, and exceptional intuition yet still coachable. Tiger and the product team continued to amaze me release after release and Jen developed into a first class COO. We punched above our weight class when we brought Bennett on - the data analytics piece he is building is really exciting. I know the company has just begun to scratch the surface of what they are capable of.
RockYou is getting a steal. They are an impressive company led by Lisa Marino who I recently have gotten to know. I think Fanbread will add a new dimension to their product line as Fanbread is bringing an influencer publishing platform that powers sites and content driven by Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Whitney Port, and many more. For RockYou, which has become one of the world’s top video ad networks, this acquisition represents the company’s move outside of gaming and into the influencer space. I wish the company nothing but success.
All the credit for Fanbread’s growth deservedly goes to Karl, Jen, Tiger, Bennett and the rest of the team. I hope I was helpful in some small way. I definitely learned more from them then I think they learned from me. I could not be more proud of the team and their efforts. If every investment I make is into a team like this, I have a feeling over time I’m going to be very successful in this business.