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Selling a Bootstrapped Startup for $22M, Building a Marketplace, Manufactured Housing - Dave Bowen / CEO of Purchasing Platform

Dave Bowen is the CEO of Purchasing Platform, an online marketplace for real estate developers to buy products for their properties. Before Purchasing Platform, Dave was the founder of Market Maker 4 (MM4), an e-sourcing tech startup, which he bootstrapped and sold for $22M in 2016. In this episode he talks about the pros and cons of bootstrapping a business, how to run a two-sided marketplace, and the pains and strategies for B2B sales.

Updated on May 16
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Dave is the CEO of Purchasing Platform, which is an online marketplace for real estate developers to buy products for the properties.

Before that, Dave was the founder of Market Maker, which was an e-sourcing tech startup, which he bootstrapped and eventually sold for $22 million back in 2016.

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Selling "early" can enable the founding team to take some future risk off the table, as well as give some money back to the entire team, propelling each individual employee forward.

In the best acquisition, 1+1=3, meaning that both the acquirer and the company being acquired benefit from being with each other.

For example, a startup might gain immediate access to global scale, while an incumbent gains a leg up in technology.

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There are about 44,000 of these communities in America. Each one is run by a manager, in charge of collecting rent, and making sure that tenants' voice is being heard.

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In the case of Purchasing Platform, the demand for goods from the manufactured home community was already there. Meanwhile, Dave had to educate the supply side on the opportunity.

Sellers, like Home Depot, and Staples, and hundreds more, did not realize they were looking at a $6 billion dollar opportunity.

By removing the friction between buyers and sellers, Purchasing Platform was able to add new business for their suppliers and provide them with new insights into things like pricing, demand and seasonality, while creating a trusted experience for their buyers.

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In Dave's case, his company had gone through some ups and down which required cutting their burn, and restructuring the team. It was particularly painful one day when one of their largest customers called and put the deal on hold. They had to furlow some employees and fight to keep their business. It all worked out at the end, but that's when Dave realized it was a good idea to raise venture, enabling the company to grow and to weather the storms.

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