I was recently contacted by Jumpstart Magazine, the entrepreneur’s magazine in Hong Kong, about life after an acquisition.
There are a number of reasons why startups get bought: They could have a powerhouse team that could be a great addition to the acquirer, or technology that can be plugged into an existing product. Or perhaps they’re a friendly competitor with complementary product offerings.
In the case of transport app Taxiwise, which was an all-cash deal “in excess of seven figures,” it was an acqui-hire where co-founders Jean-Marc Ly, Truong Lam and Lawrence Tse were seen as key cogs to launching Ikky’s business.
Ly remembers making the shift from entrepreneur to employee after exiting his startup: “When my co-founders joined Ikky as full-time employees, it was a very different shift in terms of mindset which we had to learn quickly. We were not ‘founders’ so needed to operate within metrics and the boundary of our roles,” he said.
With the help of the Taxiwise co-founding team, Ikky “underwent different business model changes” and launched the app while signing up “a considerable amount of restaurants.”
Ly added that their new roles had pros and cons. “You had less of ‘wearing different set of hats’ which took a while to get used to. You do miss the founder way of thinking but know that you have more resources and are much more set up for success.”
Fast-forward to two years after the acquisition and the Taxiwise co-founders have moved on with their lives. While Tse went back to teaching, Ly said that he and Truong decided to move back to the US to be closer to friends and family.
“Since our move back to the US, Truong and I have been involved in advising other startups and joining the workforce as designers and growth marketers. We used our entrepreneurial experience to redefine any team we join and add a bit of scrappiness to it,” he said.