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The Big Exit
The Big Exit

Episode 5 · 5 months ago

Chris Onan on Being the Reluctant Co-Founder and Selling for $165MM

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Chris Onan sat down with Dan Daugherty to discuss what it took to build a multi-million dollar Denver based company that eventually led to a $165MM all cash acquisition deal with K12, Inc. Chris also talks about raising money and investing in other startups.

Sample Transcript:

Intro:

Welcome to The Big Exit, where we discussed startup acquisitions with the founders who lived it. Here's your host, Dan Daugherty. 

Dan Daugherty

Welcome to this episode of the big exit. Today, I have Chris Onan, a good friend, entrepreneur, and one of the co-founders of Galvanize that earlier this year sold for $165 million. Chris, it is so awesome to have you on the show. 

Chris Onan

Well, thanks for having me, man. 

Dan Daugherty

Let's get started by giving our listeners a brief overview of what Galvanize is and why you guys came together, really almost a decade ago to start it. 

Chris Onan

Yeah, I want to say it was first quarter of 2012. So gosh, eight years. That's crazy. Um, Galvanize, fundamentally at the core was an education business. You know, we looked at the problems that tech companies we're just having trouble finding tech talent or enough of it, and particularly in Colorado. And we said, Look, there's gotta be a better way to do this. And Eric Mitisek called me one day and said, Hey, I got these two guys and they're working on something, but they need you and that was really where it started. 

I met my co founders over a couple glasses of wine up at the Venture Capital Rockies Conference. Something Way is a venture capital community used to hold in kind of Denver Boulder because we couldn't find investors from the coast come and look at deals in Colorado. Well, that's changed. That conference outlived itself and now more investors love coming to Colorado. I met my two co-founders and I was like, Whoa, that's a lot. Because at the time it think It was really focused on being a real estate play, and I'm trying to raise a fund, and I just said, "Hey, have fun storming the castle guys, that's just way too complicated."

And one of my co-founders called me a couple days later and said, "Hey, look, you know, we haven't figured it all out. Why don't you help us? What's the downside?" And I was like, don't use logic on me. It works. And so I just started kind of banging on it started tweaking it. I was the reluctant co-founder. It was. It was a little bit like the girl you're dating that you don't want your friends to know about. And then six months later, you know, you're like in a relationship that's a little bit like that. 

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