Yesterday MailChimp, a company that sells a product that lets users send emails programmatically, sold to Intuit for $12B. That's a large exit by any standards, but MailChimp also made history in a different way.
MailChimp is completely bootstrapped. It has never taken VC funding since it was started back in 2001. Each of the cofounders owns 50% of the company. The employees don't own any equity. That makes it the largest acquisition of a privately-held bootstrapped private company, ever.
MailChimp wasn't founded in Silicon Valley either – it's always been in Atlanta.
It's an interesting time for email. Newsletters are back in vogue – you might be reading one as we speak. Email marketing continues to be effective for companies. At the same time, competition is fierce. Back in 2018, Sendgrid, a competitor, sold to communications API giant Twilio for $2B. Cloud platforms offer their own email APIs.
Why would Intuit, which makes financial software like TurboTax, want to acquire an email provider? I can only guess this is a way for Intuit to continue to expand into the SMB and e-commerce market. We'll have to wait and find out.
p.s. Does anyone remember the MailChimp ad that ran before the hit podcast series, Serial? Annoying, but at the same time you can't stop listening to it.