The company I cofounded just got acquired and everyone is happy … except me.

I’m absolutely freaked out by the prospect of going on vacation for 3 months, don’t want the ‘earn out’ (the acquiring company has already told us we’d just be sitting on the bench), but don’t know what to do.

I am very fortunate to be in the position I’m in, so no tears for me. Interestingly, I’ve been approached by several companies to be a consultant on a variety of specific projects and rather than sleeping until noon, I like the way that sounds; at least temporarily.

What I’d like to know from people who have been in this position is, what did you do?  My concerns center on boredom, being out of the conversation, jumping too soon to a company that isn’t the right fit and, losing my network of contacts who have to work every day while I’m kind of dangling at loose ends; plus coffees and lunches can only go so far.

I’ve considered going on a long trip for a month, focusing all of my attention on training for a century ride this coming fall, going into a totally different type of business (I’ve always wanted to be a chef), etc…

I feel like I’m literally stuck in quick sand and am not sure how to make a decision on what to do next.

  • Take a long vacation and enjoy. When you get back, find something else to do. But right now, take a break.

    • Not enough to retire, but enough runway to ‘hang’ for 6 months, if that’s what I choose to do.

      The acquiring company was a client of ours for two years and in April said “hey, let’s talk about something more significant than just licensing your software”. It took about four weeks to go from that conversation to final papers and voila…it was done.

      I had already told my team and the acquiring company that I wasn’t going to be part of the next chapter in my company’s life so as soon as the papers were signed, I cleaned out my office and left so for about a month+, I’ve been ‘consulting guy’.

      To everyone that’s replied, taking some time off isn’t exactly what I want to do but I have scheduled three weeks to visit friends and family across the west coast and once I return in late August, I’m going to figure out what’s next. As I mentioned, I’ve always wanted to be a chef so, I toured and signed up for an Intro-to-Restaurant program starting this fall while I kick about and do projects.

      I know for certain, that if I do end up being involved with a restaurant, it’ll be startup/entrepreneur/engineer friendly!

      • Was the company in tech and are you “done” with tech now? If so why? Also how long did you run the company before it was acquired?

        • The company is a mobile tech company and I’m not sure I’m ‘done’ with tech since I’m now consulting for a half dozen growth stage companies in the same space that mine was in, but I don’t see myself jumping head long into another tech company right now. I’m more of a marketing operations and product manager anyway, so those skills are pretty transferable.

          And, stunningly, I was able to say no to any non-competes/solicits so, I’m free to do as much competitive consulting as I wish. Not that I will, (I think the acquiring company thinks I’m too dumb to make much of a difference so, good for me), but it’s nice to be free from any of that as a concern.

          The focus on ‘re-centering’ is something I’ve tried to figure out how to do. I ran the company for 7+ years and as someone else posted, it’s really all that I knew and was 100% of my identity. Good news is that I get to do something I always fantasized about doing; waking up at 530a and NOT answering emails…instead, going for a couple hour bike ride, hitting the gym for an hour or so and then coming home to peace-and-quiet (wife is a lawyer so she’s long gone by the time I get back – not sure when she’s going to get tired of her slacker husband living the life of a part-time consultant, but I keep her well fed and flowered-up so, I’m trying my best :>). Sometimes I ride with buddies (consulting software engineers, so they pretty much make their own schedule) and sometimes just alone. Either way, it’s relaxing and I’m getting my way too sedentary ass back in shape.

          Oh, as a quick update, it turns out that no one from the company is taking the earn out which is bizarre (IMHO) because someone has to do the transition stuff and only one person is, for 8 weeks only. Not sure if that says anything about our company culture (entrepreneurial, startup minded, growth-hacker mentality -or- people couldn’t wait to get away from the albatross fast enough), or if it says something about the acquiring company but nonetheless, that’s what’s happening.

          In terms of the financials, all is said and done, the company has been purchased, all shares are being transferred and the money is being distributed in the coming couple of weeks…why it’s taken this long remains a mystery but it has. I’ve had way too many conversations with our tax attorney and financial advisor (I asked her the other day if I’ve crossed over to having a wealth advisor . . . she laughed, I guess that’s a no) and am looking forward to all of that being settled.

          As for the rest of the stuff, I’m headed to the West Coast end of July and will be banging about for 3 weeks; mostly in SoCal but a weekend trip to LV is definitely in the plans :>)

          Thanks for indulging me.

  • I understand. This is legit. This startup is basically all you knew for the past few years. Our identities get wrapped up in this stuff and then it’s kind of over and you’re left wondering what to do. You need to basically re-center. Find out who you are again. Not you the extension of the company but you. The good news is you at least have the means to do so.

  • … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: […]

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like