Ben and David return to make their first foray into enterprise software, covering Salesforce’s $2.5B acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013 with the help of special guest and ExactTarget cofounder & CEO, Scott Dorsey.
Technical note: due to an issue we didn’t catch during recording, audio quality is significantly lower than usual for this episode (especially David’s voice). We apologize but hope you’ll give it a chance anyway— Scott offers great wisdom & insights, and the ExactTarget success story is a inspiring one underdog entrepreneurs, especially (but not limited to!) anyone located in the Midwest or elsewhere outside of traditional "Silicon Valley-style” tech hubs.
Topics covered include:
The decision to start ExactTarget post-internet bubble and in Indianapolis, with zero software experience between Scott and cofounders Chris Baggott & Peter McCormick
Raising initial money from friends & family, followed by early investment and mentoring from Indianapolis venture pioneer Bob Compton
Building and scaling a great sales organization within a technology company
The importance of focusing early on a clearly defined target market (SMBs in the case of ExactTarget), and then “stair-stepping” up as the product and business scale grow over time
How the acquisition process played out with Salesforce and other bidders (including reference to ExactTarget’s incredible SEC filing detailing the entire negotiation—scroll down to "Background and Reasons for the ExactTarget Board’s Recommendation”, starting at the bottom of page 13)
Approaching the difficult task of integrating a major acquisition involving thousands of people
The fun story of ExactTarget’s winning Microsoft as a large customer—including actual sledgehammers
Scott’s new Indianapolis-based venture studio, High Alpha
Plus as always the "hard hitting" analysis across acquisition category, what would have happened otherwise, tech themes—and final grading