The $100 Million Business Mistake


Tech founders beware: The fine print can come back to bite when you sell your company. Serial entrepreneur, Charlie Crystle shares the details of his business debacle…

My software company ChiliSoft sold for $100 million in 2000. Or $70 million. Or $28 million. It depends on the date you choose, the built-in triggers, and ego. Notably, from December 1999 to May 2000, my stake dropped from 40% to 15% when the deal closed. Most employee stakes dropped as well — but not all employees.

My point at the end of this story will be something like this: sweat the details.

I started ChiliSoft in 1996 in Lancaster, Pa. I had no money, and Dad had passed away just days before. It was a tough time, but I saw this huge opportunity for adding functionality to Web servers, so I took the deep plunge.

I tried raising money nearby, but in those days there wasn’t a firm in Pennsylvania that really got the space, so I headed to the West Coast with a credit card, deeply believing in our mission to take over the world.
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Source: CNN Money

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