Every entrepreneur dreams of reaching a level of success where their business is a well-known brand-name to their audience, new users or customers are becoming interested in their product every single day, and of course, someone knocks on their door with a multi-million dollar offer to buy a company that once started as a tiny idea.
Last year, Whitney Wolfe, the founder of the “women-first dating app", Bumble, made headlines for declining a $450 M dollar acquisition offer.
While some might have read that headline and wondered what the heck she was thinking, others might have found themselves cheering her on.
Wondering why? For starters, the offer came from Match Group, a company that also owns dozens of popular dating websites and apps, like Match.com, OKCupid, and Tinder.
If you don't know much about Wolfe's background, know this: she was also the co-founder of Tinder and served as its VP of Marketing for two years. She ended up leaving with a lawsuit in her hands for the parent company, InterActive Corp, alleging sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
Perhaps that was all the fuel she needed to launch Bumble, an app that empowers women to find love, friendship, and soon business connections.
So not only did she turn down the cash from a company that now owns the dating app she once helped start and then left once she was taken advantage of, she also realized that the offer wasn't such a good one, even though $450 M dollars might seem like a whole lot of cash.
If we take a step back and examine what really happened when she declined Match Group's acquisition, we can learn these three important things.
Photo Courtesy of The New York Post
1. Don't Settle
While it might be tempting to go with the first offer someone gives you when you're doing business or hire the first person you interview, as an entrepreneur, adopt the motto that you just won't settle.
It's something a lot of us say to ourselves when it comes to love, so why don't we stress it more when it comes to how we run our business too? Just because a large acquisition was dropped on Wolfe's table, doesn't mean she had to agree just to play it safe. She exuded confidence and decided to go with her gut that the best is yet to come with her app and with future offers that might come her way.
2. Know Your Worth
One lesson to learn as a brand new entrepreneur is that you shouldn't let your excitement rule your decisions. It might be a huge milestone moment when a large company puts in an offer to acquire your company or product, but it doesn't mean you should sign on the dotted line immediately. Evaluate the worth of your company and the projected worth over the next five years. If the offer is lower, you may want to decline, counter-offer, or continue to build the company and take it public.
In Wolfe's case, she might have laughed at the $450 M dollar offer, since last year, Bumble had an expected evaluation of $500 M. Who knows what it's worth this year or will be worth in the future with all the expansion and new features that Wolfe is launching over the coming months.
Photo Courtesy of Vogue
3. Grow Your Own Way
One of the biggest potential reasons what Wolfe said “No, thanks" to this deal was that she has her own plans for expansion in the coming months and a potential acquisition could cut her and her ideas out of the picture. She's looking to add new features to the app, like an easier way to swap between dating and finding friends, adding a business connection service for networking, and a new look and feel to the app.
Perhaps the lesson learned here is that if you have a vision, go for it. Don't let money talk or change your course when you believe in your product or business and feel it's worth more than anyone is willing to offer you right now in the moment.
Dr. Victoria Bateman, an esteemed economist best known for her nude protests for gender equality, uses her body as a form of art that serves to challenge the stigma around women's bodies and women's rights, in the world of economics. In March 2018, Bateman attended the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society in Brighton stark naked with the word "respect" written across her chest and stomach. Unbashful in delivering her message, Bateman was determined to start a conversation.