A Big Exit and A $150MM Mistake - Dave Borden and Selling Too Soon.


Dave Borden, who sold his first business for $19MM tells his story on what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur, selling too soon, and the definition of what "entrepreneur" really means.


Sample Transcription

Dan Daugherty

Welcome to this episode of The Big Exit. I'm here with Dave Borden who sold his company in 2006 for $19MM. I wanted to structure this episode a little bit differently and actually get into the psyche and the mind of serial entrepreneurs and Dave has built multiple companies throughout the last couple decades. Some have been successful and some have failed, but we will talk more about his story. Dave, thank you for joining me.

Dave Borden

Thanks for having me Dan, we'll talk more about the success hopefully, but yeah, there's probably a lot more to learn from the failures but the successes are obviously more fun. So..

Dan Daugherty

Well, let's start at the beginning, even in childhood, you grew up in Colorado Springs, correct?

Dave Borden

Yeah. I grew up mostly in Colorado, but yeah, probably from about sixth grade on I was in Colorado Springs.

Dan Daugherty

And did you always want to start a company, or were you influenced by your parents? Were they entrepreneurs?

Dave Borden

Yeah, from a very young age, I always wanted to have a business of my own and I didn't really know exactly what it was, but both my parents were, they were entrepreneurs and they still are. And so I grew up from about the age of five where my family never worked for anybody else, and they always were able to provide plenty of income and do well. So I guess I was never scared of starting a business and I've only worked for, other than my time in the army, in a very brief stint in corporate America, I've never never worked for anybody other than myself.

Dan Daugherty

Did you, you know growing up, even my mom actually ran Daugherty Construction and she also built pools. But one of the things I remember is that she was always stressed out about money. Did you see that at all with your family?

Dave Borden

Okay, a couple rare times? Yes, I will say, my dad. I love him to death. He's also one of the most frugal guys I know. So, he never had a desire for fancy stuff and he was always very good at saving. However, we did have a pretty rough time and I think it was early eighties, like eighty one, eighty two, we used to live in Steamboat actually and it was before the big ski boom. So they had, they owned a bunch of property in real estate and they've always been into real estate and investing but the market really went sour, nothing was selling and even though I know we had some good savings, I know it dried up pretty quickly and that's the point where we pretty much moved.

We were forced to move to Colorado Springs just because there wasn't any income there. I think my dad actually took a job at a hardware store for about six to twelve months just to pay some bills. We didn't really have many bills like I said, my dad was very frugal. That was a pretty rough time and I think they just decided that we needed to pick up and go somewhere with a little more opportunity.

Dan Daugherty

Subconsciously, do you think that helped transform your ideas, your ideals, and your thoughts about starting a company?

Dave Borden

Well, I think I was pretty young at that time. I'm 48 now. I think at that time, I was under ten, maybe eight or nine, maybe ten. Well. I don't know, sixth grade whatever that is, ten, eleven, twelve, something like that. I did see you can feel the struggle, even though my parents never talked about it, but we were okay and I don't remember ever a time with my parents that we, you know, had bill collectors calling or we were late on mortgages.

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Episodes (6)

Episode 6 · 2 weeks ago

Brett Jurgens Talks About Building and Selling Notion to Comcast

In this episode, Brett Jurgens talks to Dan Daugherty about being a first-time founder and selling his company, Notion to Comcast in early 2020.

Sample Transcript

Dan Daugherty

Welcome to this episode of The Big Exit. Today I have Brett Jurgens, who sold his company to Comcast early this year in February. Brett, thank you for coming on the show. 

Brett Jurgens

Hey, Dan, what's going on? Thanks for having me. 

Dan Daugherty

So I actually wanted to start out with my own little story of how we met. I was looking at old emails all the way back to 2014 and you and I were communicating and you said, "Hey, I want to show you a prototype of what I've been working on. Can I show it to you?" I said, absolutely. Come on in. And I remember you walked in with, was probably almost the size of a brick, but it was close to it for your your sensors for homes. And if you remember that, I wanted you to start the story there of what you guys were working on. What problems you were trying to solve all the way, you know, six years ago and then how that morphed into what you are today, even pre and post acquisition with Comcast? 

Brett Jurgen

Yeah, I'm happy to. It was it was slightly smaller than a Brick. You're right. So good. Good memory on that one. Um, look. So my co founder, Ryan and I are both from town here in Colorado, Longmont and we grew up together. We've known each other since we were four years old. Onda. We had a really unique relationship.


"A lot of the time as a founder and a CEO, it's kind of like a taboo subject to bring up that being an entrepreneur is hard, like you're supposed to put on a smiley face every day." - Brett Jurgens 

""My definition of an entrepreneur is: anybody that can creatively solve problems and just doesn't take no for an answer." - Brett Jurgens

What is the definition of an entrepreneur?

Brett Jurgens: Yeah, my definition of an entrepreneur is anybody that can creatively solve problems and just doesn’t take no for an answer. I tell all of my employees, all the time, that they are entrepreneurs. I think some people take that title and say you have to be a founder, you have to be a CEO to qualify as an entrepreneur. And I think a lot of people like, want to be an entrepreneur. It’s kind of like a badge of honor to some people, I think, and to me, you know, it’s anybody who just has a tenacity and a view of the world that can, you know, things can be different. Things can be better and I can go do that. You don’t have to start a company, in my mind, to be an entrepreneur and to have, you know, that just thing in your gut and that thing in your heart and that thing in your head that all tie together to say, I’m going to go, you know, make a difference and, have the guts and have the tenacity to go do it. So that’s my kind of simple definition.

Dan Daugherty: I love that you can actually use that in all facets of your life. Whether it’s just being a CEO, the founder of your X right, of your division.

Brett Jurgens: Absolutely.

Dan Daugherty: Of whatever you’re doing at home or whatever it might be, just take that initiative. I really like your definition.

Brett Jurgens: Awesome. Well, it’s a good question and I think a lot of people should push harder. A lot of people should create more. And a lot of people aren’t willing to sort of jump into starting a company full time. A lot of people can’t afford to not have a salary for 12 months, like I said earlier in the call. But I also think a lot of people can make it work and you can do it in different ways. And so thinking creatively about how to make it happen is what it’s about.

Episode 5 · 3 weeks ago

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

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:


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. 

Episode 4 · 1 month ago

The Story of eBags from Inception to a $105MM Exit

Jon Nordmark, the co-founder of eBags, tells his story of risking it all to start an Ecommerce company, surviving the dot com crash and avoiding bankruptcy during 9/11. His company's resilience and magical culture helped them launch new products when they needed it most.

Episode 3 · 2 months ago

Lori Torres - Going from Borrowing Money to a $100+MM Exit in 4.5 Years

Lori Torres left a high-paying job, had to sell her home, and borrow money from her mom to get her company, Parcel Pending, off the ground. Due to her personal frustration and knowledge of where online shopping was headed, Lori saw a tremendous gap in the market for making it easy and secure for apartment residents to receive and collect packages 24 hours a day. She took her idea and turned it into a $100+MM exit in record time. This is her story.


The "Elf on the Shelf" moment. 

Culture and customer service that led to a $100MM Exit. 

Risking it all and believing in the idea. 

What does being an entrepreneuer mean to Lori? 

Sample Transcription

Dan Daugherty

Today, I have very special guest who I've known for about six years, all the way back to when she was trying to get her company off the ground, and since then she has built one of the largest companies within the package delivery space and last year in 2019 sold her company, Parcel Pending, for over one hundred million dollars. Lori Torres. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

Lori Torres

Hey Dan, so happy to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Dan Daugherty

Well, I wanted to start this off with a two part question. The first is what is Parcel Pending? And I know you had a very lucrative job before you started Parcel Pending. What made you decide to leave that cushy job and take the leap into starting your own company?

Lori Torres

Yeah. So, first off let me tell you what Parcel Pending is. We do electronic smart lockers and so invision a bank of lockers that have technology in them and we put them in apartment buildings at office buildings, in retail and so couriers can come deliver the package straight into the locker. They find the recipient and then it sends a text, an email to the recipient, and now they get this text for email with the code and they can go to the lockers and pick up their stuff. It's a safe and secure way to get our packages and contact free in the world of COVID. So it's a great solution to a huge growing problem because everybody is shopping online and they want to get their stuff, but they don't want it stolen off their front porch. So that's what Parcel Pending is.

So let me tell you what happened was I was at a fancy corporate America job. I was in the apartment business running 44,000 apartment units with about 1,200 employees and my staff kept asking for more headcount and bigger package rooms because the residents were home in their pajamas shopping online and all of a sudden they were just inundated with packages and so I was like, we can't add headcount, that's an expense, it doesn't make any sense. So I thought, you know we could solve this with technology...