Startup Acquisition Video Log

Photo Credit: Jaisen Mathai

Startup Acquisition Video Log

This post is part of a series chronicling my 3 year startup journey. Each post can be read individually but to get the full picture I suggest starting from the beginning.

2014-01-21 (January 21st, 2014)

My initial video documenting the last 5 months before Trovebox was acquired. At this point my primary focus was on sales. I was cold calling customers and trying to close a sales deal with Columbia Law University.

2014-02-12 (February 12th, 2014)

We arranged to have booths at 3 conferences. Columbia Law University got back with us that our proposal was too high. We were also working with University of Southern California to partner on a solution to have digital yearbooks in schools.

2014-02-13 (February 13th, 2014)

We were hitting some pretty large headwinds with proposals not landing well with regard to pricing. Our other discussions were dragging on too. Overall the long sales cycle were not looking favorable given our runway.

2014-03-05 (March 5th, 2014)

My co-founder and I decided to shut Trovebox down. This decision kicked off several secondary initiatives. The first was to shut the service down while living up to the promise of data portability. The second was identifying a plan B to identify possible acquisitions.

2014-03-09 (March 9th, 2014)

We started talking to our mentors about what to expect when shutting down and what our options were. We wanted to make sure and deliver on our promise to users of data portability and felt confident we could do that.

2014-03-18 (March 18th, 2014)

We had our first of many meetings with companies interested in an acquisition. This meeting was with 10 people at Western Digital including Directors, VPs and SVPs.

2014-03-24 (March 24th, 2014)

This starts the cat and mouse game of waiting for a response from Western Digital. We presented to them 6 days prior. The attendance grew from 10 to 15 people to whom we demoed and answered questions.

2014-03-27 (March 27th, 2014)

We didn’t hear back from Western Digital yet so I sent a follow up email. They responded that they would like to set up a follow up meeting. In the meantime, I started coding a little bit to deal with the stress.

2014-03-29 (March 29th, 2014)

We met with a Director at Dreamhost to discuss interest in an acquisition.

2014-04-23 (April 23rd, 2014)

We had an idea that I decided to file a provisional patent for before presenting the idea to Western Digital. The idea was to have Trovebox running on NAS devices and with the ability to communicate with other NAS devices. This would create a network of tens or hundreds of thousands of NAS devices which had the ability to communicate with each other. I demoed a working prototype of this on their MyCloud NAS devices.

2014-04-29 (April 29th, 2014)

The idea of running Trovebox on NAS devices continued to take shape. We essentially took all the technology we created and quickly pivoted to an entirely different product. I installed Trovebox on several additional NAS devices and shipped them to family in Ohio and New York. We started showing the prototype to others with favorable feedback.

2014-05-06 (May 6th, 2014)

More cat and mouse with Western Digital. New opportunities started to arise with NetGear and IdeaLabs. We considered pivoting to this new idea but ultimately decided not to pursue the idea and continue focusing on acquisition opportunities.

2014-05-12 (May 12th, 2014)

Demoed the prototype running on a NetGear ReadyNAS to an SVP at NetGear. Discussions with Western Digital were progressing slowly but showed signs of hope.

2014-05-14 (May 14th, 2014)

Western Digital asked us to come back and demo to an EVP who would be the final decision maker. NetGear wanted a follow up meeting as well.

2014-05-16 (May 16th, 2014)

Demoed the prototype to an EVP at Western Digital.

2014-05-19 (May 19th, 2014)

Demo with Western Digital went well. I ran into some technical difficulties preparing the demo but was able to improvise. Discussions moved forward with Western Digital and we ultimately sold the company to them. I spent the next 2 years integrating our software onto their NAS. We successfully completed this and had our apps approved in the Apple App Store and uploaded to the Google Play Store. In the final stretch, new leadership that recently joined decided to kill the product before launching. I left the company several months later.

Our idea of an interconnected network of 10s of thousands of NAS devices that could safely store your photos while securely accessing your friends’ photos without the need of a centralized service never went beyond a prototype or outside the walls of Western Digital. Many of the ideas are resurfacing 5 years later as part of Web3.