This is a really incredible story about how pure luck can be the most important ingredient for a startups success. Including why we turned down investment from one of the biggest European media companies and how a weekend barbecue on a Mediterranean Island prooved to be our last rescue. Interested? Then let’s start from the beginning.
What it is all about
We started ezebee.com in February 2013 in the middle of the economic crisis. Our goal was to offer any small business or individuals the possibility to sell online without the need for resources, money or specific knowledge. ezebee.com was designed as an international platform from day one and we were actually overwhelmed by our success. By the end of 2014 people from over 150 countries trusted ezebee.com as their marketplace. Until then, our company had been self funded, but at the end of 2014, we started to look for an early stage investor.
How we turned down our first investment
Spontaneously, The Head of New Media in one of the biggest European Media Companies visited my LinkedIn Profile. I decided to contact him on a whim to ask if they would be interested in investing in ezebee.com and they actually were!
After many investment meetings, some hard business planning and due diligence sessions, we still only had an verbal agreement. Time was running out and money, even faster. After more than 10 months of negotiation we got a first draft contract, which would have actually taken away the rights to continue with our company in the way we’d like to do. All the same, we decided to continue negotiation out of pure need. But still weeks passed by without any final agreement until we decided to turn down the offer and continue on our own, despite any necessary cuts and lay-offs.
That was a terrible time indeed, but luckily, it turned out to be short.
How we got our first 1.5 M and made a real good friend
Just a few weeks later, we were invited to a weekend barbecue with some friends. At first we didn’t want to go, but in the end our 4 year old daughter persuaded us to do so. So we went, promising ourselves to leave as soon as possible.
We were sitting on one of the tables at Angus Son Mayol Farm, waiting for our friends to arrive. Meanwhile I was chatting to the German guy sitting next to me. Like us, they also lived in Majorca, so we immediately had a lot to talk about. When he asked us what we were doing, Ossian (also ezebee.com founder) explained the concept of ezebee.com and he suddenly got excited.
He was actually one of the big Start-ups Investors in Berlin! As we were getting along really well, we set up a meeting for the following week with one of his companions. That‘s when we made our first 1.5 M investment, just like that, without any more meetings or due diligence sheets. Our new investors liked the idea behind ezebee.com and trusted in the founders.
Over the last year we did not only get money to exellerate our business, but also a lot of great input how to improve. Whats even more important is that we learned that one of the most important things you have to do when looking for an investor, is to stick true to yourself and your ideas – and also, to be lucky!
Written by Julia Emmert, Co founder of ezebee.com