How Founder Partners Helped Turn a Great Photo App Making Only $800 a Month in Sales into a $25M+/Year Player in the Photobook Industry
Andrew Laffoon and Aryk Grosz were two smart, enthusiastic grads from Cal Berkeley who had a great idea: use flash-based tech to make a better user experience and superior end product than the major players in the photobook space could provide. They created a company, Mixbook, which quickly became one of the most popular photo apps on Facebook. The only problem was, they were only generating $800/mo in sales.
Greg Baszucki met Andrew and Aryk through an angel investing group. He saw two young, talented guys with a great product and lots of traction, but almost no revenue. He theorized that he could help them transition from thinking that, “hey, we’ve got a cool product with lots of Facebook users” to having a viable company that could generate real profits.
Based on his experience and intuition about the untapped value of Mixbook’s product and its founders, Greg made an initial investment of $100k, and also led an investor syndicate to add a further $700k. He joined the board of the company, and helped Andrew and Aryk think about building a real business by iterating on the product with customer feedback, scaling intelligently, being efficient with spend, and understanding that the moment you’re making money you’re controlling your own destiny.
Greg was formative in helping Mixbook create its business and product strategy. He helped them secure the right personnel in key positions and set up the right metrics to drive the business forward.
Once the path to profitability was in sight, Brian Flynn got involved by helping Mixbook navigate early M&A offers and avoid selling too soon. He helped the company raise a further $10M in capital, acquire and absorb two competitor companies, and explore strategic financial alternatives.
Mixbook’s revenues have increased from $800/month to $25M+ in 7 years, which is a huge growth in value, and was touted as the second hottest business in Silicon Valley in 2013. With Founder Partners’ guidance, the company reached profitability and now has the freedom to become as large as it needs to be without needing liquidity. Both Greg and Brian continue to operate in the background, getting involved on an ad hoc basis at critical junctures in the company’s journey.
Sometimes it’s not enough to have a great idea. You need someone to help you see a clear path to earning money.
What Greg saw in Andrew and Aryk were bright, open-minded entrepreneurs who were willing to see the truth of their situation and take the advice and guidance they needed to turn their great idea into a real, viable business.