One of my hobbies is pointing out that VCs hurt entrepreneurs as much as they help them, but I disagree with 37 Signals CEO Jason F’s notion that VCs forced Aaron Patzer to sell Mint.com for $170M to Intuit (INTU).
After all, who in their right mind would reject an offer like that after three years of startup life? Apparently, I’m not alone.
I was in attendance when Mint.com launched at Tech Crunch two years ago (2 years ago people!) and thought it was neat but not the top startup, nice to see how much I knew… by the way.
But all in all, I am pretty sure their VCs didn’t want to sell. They had invested $31M in capital as recently as a few months ago at a valuation of $140. I think Mint.com sold because their twenty-something CEO just thought it would be best to cash out. However, I think that VCs need to “clear the decks” and having invested at some lofty valuations before the market correction, any liquidity transaction is welcome. But suggesting that Aaron was forced seems crazy.
Ultimately, Mint.com seems like a cool product to sign up for but I did read about some users that lost interest. Either way, their spike in net users did enough to pique Quicken’s interest and honestly, Aaron and his backers deserve a lot of props.
Amazing story, as well, by Tech Crunch on how Mint.com bought the URL for $2M in equity (I always wondered how much they paid for that URL). Last but not least, check out Aaron’s version of the facts here.
Again, hats off to everyone involved. Hopefully Intuit won’t mess up this M&A as many acquisitions do.