It’s common sense: If someone offers you $1.5 million, you accept it and become fabulously rich.
In Tampa, common sense is replaced by an irrational desire to create an extraordinary company.
In the first three months of 2021 alone, eight Tampa Bay companies were acquired, with most acquiring companies based out of state.
But there is a Tampa Bay company that recently just refused to get acquired by a digital tycoon in New York who offered them over $1,500,000. This company is GenTech Marketing.
The Founder of GenTech Marketing, Amel Kilic, stated, “We still have a lot more to do before we hand over the keys.” Amel, with his business partner Christian Jamal, has set a goal to take a total of 1,000 companies to over a million dollars in revenue using their team and marketing skills. Their growing team specializes in Lead Generation , Production, and Website Development.
Earlier this year, they were approached by a digital development executive at a big company based out of New York City.
The executive and his team were tremendously supportive of GenTech’s business and gave them great insights to develop a successful business.
This wasn’t the first time they have been approached by someone in that position, but they never expressed an interest in selling the company.
As Amel stated, “I almost always try to steer the conversation toward partnership opportunities; our digital assets have been big wins for our clients, and they’re a big part of our growth strategy.”
This time, it was different.
It wasn’t a company that would be a natural product partner for GenTech Marketing and it’s not a company you would expect to want to add Digital Marketing services to their offering, so they weren’t quite sure what to expect.
Amel: “I wish I could say, for the sake of the story, that there was a dramatic “offer” moment where a number was written on a piece of paper and slid across the table. That would’ve made for a much better post.”
But in reality, the situation unfolded over a few months of discussions. They had a handful of meetings with their business development team and executive teams, and their engineering team did a thorough technical review of GenTech Marketing.
Finally, they got the call that they knew was coming: they wanted to acquire GenTech Marketing. Details and due diligence would have to be sorted out, but the acquisition price was just over $1.5 million and GenTech’s whole team would stay onboard.
Amel: “At the time, I was floored. Our monthly revenue was around $50K at the time, making $1.5M a 3x multiple on our annual revenue.”
Considering the Offer
Over the next several days, they spent a lot of time talking with their team, mentors, advisors, and family.
The most compelling argument for taking the offer? They would be an idiot not to.
With Amel owning more than 50% of the company, the money would, without a doubt, be life-changing.
There’s not a whole lot that that kind of money wouldn’t buy you.
Amel: “I love what I do every day, but there’s no doubt that there are days when it becomes overwhelming.”
The money would also be business-changing.
GenTech’s service roadmap is aggressive, and having the backing of a large benefactor would let them hit their targets much faster. It would allow them to build an even better service, team, and spend more on marketing to reach even more clients.
But that’s precisely where the benefits begin to unravel (more on that in a bit).
Almost a week later, Amel picked up the phone.
And then he put it down.
He picked it up again.
And put it down.
As he mentioned, he went through this cycle three or four times before he took a break and went for a walk.
Amel: “It was a call I didn’t want to make.”
He finally gave them a call.
Slowly and with as much certainty as he could fake, he somehow managed to get it out: “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the offer, but it’s not the right move for us right now.”
Why They Said No to the Acquisition
Amel: “I started GenTech Marketing to build something that would help a lot of business owners; to help them grow their business.
We’ve come a long way toward doing that, but the amount of ground we haven’t covered dwarfs how far we’ve come by many, many multiples.
I’ve seen what happens to customer service companies that get acquired by giants or take in millions of dollars in funding.
Services that founders swore they created to be simple and transparent lost sight of their vision.
I see customers coming to GenTech Marketing every single day from these companies precisely because of what happened after our competitors got so big or because the small marketing companies weren’t able to handle the project for them. Clients choose to work with us because we have the credibility of a big company but the care and attention of a small one.”
Nearly everyone who gets acquired sends an email to customers along the lines of: “Everything will stay the same, we’re just going to have more resources to make things better for you.”
Everyone who has used apps built by these acquired companies knows that sooner or later, that promise almost always turns out to be a lie.
Amel: “The time may come when an acquisition makes sense, when I’m certain that our clients and our services can still win if ultimate control of the company changes hands.
But that time isn’t now.”