A Foundy Exit Journey: Nikki Wheeldon, Founder of Jampot

November 2023

Nikki Wheeldon, Founder of Jampot, joined Foundy to find a buyer for the agency she and her husband built, and scaled for 7 years.

Chris West, Jampot's acquirer, was looking for a business to take to new heights and is now starting his journey of scaling Jampot. 

Nikki and Chris have shared their journeys of buying and selling their business so that other entrepreneurs can learn from and be inspired by their experiences.

Here is Nikki’s perspective as the founder of Jampot. For Chris’s perspective, click here

Welcome Nikki, we’re so happy to be talking to you about your exit journey with Foundy.

Firstly let's dive into how you started your business, Jampot. Can you give us a brief overview of Jampot and how it began? 

My co-founder and I, who's incidentally my husband, started Jampot with no expectations to scale it. It was just a way for us to work once we had my son.

We realised there was a gap, particularly in startups and scale-ups, where companies needed skills from different departments - HR, finance, legal and marketing - but they didn't necessarily need to hire in those areas. Jampot does all the backend support for startups, scale-ups, individual founders: everything you need for your business to function without needing to hire in those areas.

It's a one-stop shop for access to freelancers that's totally flexible and you just get one invoice at the end of the month.

Jampot is the first business we had that just grew organically. We reached a point where the company was growing so nicely on its own, but it also had so much potential.

That’s great, so then what prompted you to consider selling Jampot and how did you feel about the idea of selling it? 

The idea of somebody else coming in, taking it over and scaling it was really exciting because it would re-inject a new energy into it and that’s when it will explode. 

I'm a firm believer in 'don't quit on a bad day'.

“People think about selling a business because it's in trouble or selling a business because they can't do it anymore, there's something wrong with it. For us, we have been able to sell our business when it's essentially at the peak, ready for someone else to take it and carry on.”

It's emotional as we've had the business for seven years, I've had two children during that time, but at the same time, I think it's exciting more than anything else. To see somebody else come in with fresh energy and build it and for us to get to watch knowing that we still started that.

Did you have any concerns about selling, or concerns about the process?

When it came to us considering selling, who to sell it to and in what way we wanted to do that was very important. 

I'm less emotional about it because I know we have sold it to the right person. I wasn't ready to just hand it over to anybody and not be able to have a say in that.

Tell us about your experience of listing Jampot on Foundy.

For me, Foundy offered us the opportunity to have the choice of people messaging us and having lots of different options, rather than trying to find anyone and not really knowing what they were looking for. 

“When it came to listing on Foundy and putting the business on there, it was a no-brainer because we had nothing to lose, it was anonymous.” 

We weren't at risk of clients finding out, which was something that was very important for me because at that stage, we didn't even know that we were definitely going to sell. 

Listing Jampot on Foundy was very easy, we answered a few questions and put the business on there. It seems a bit too good to be true, but it turned out to be a brilliant choice because once the business was on Foundy, I didn't have to do any work. It was just a case of waiting to see who would message us, then having a look at who they were and deciding whether to speak to them. There was no pressure for us to sell Jampot and it obviously turned out to be a really good choice. 

Why did you choose Foundy as your platform for selling your business?

Choosing Foundy was a no-brainer because I could do it anonymously, I could list the business, see if there was any interest. In some ways, it was a good chance to just test the market. Was there any interest in Jampot? How does it stack up to the other businesses that are on Foundy?

During the sales process, it was a huge welcomed surprise that once the conversations had started, the Foundy team continued to be involved in the process. They set up a Slack channel, with not just one person but the whole team who were ready to speak about the next steps. The added element of Foundy helping us continue throughout that process, helping us with what happens next was really useful.

The team knew our buyer and it was reassuring to know that Foundy had vetted them and that the buyers weren't trying to find out all of the details of our business and were then just going to disappear off into the sunset. They were serious buyers. It was reassuring to know that it's not just a platform that connects people. There's a lot more going on in the background to make sure that the buyers are the right kind of buyers and the sellers are the right kind of sellers. Then it's the support throughout the whole process right up until everything was signed and even afterwards, just not disappearing. 

“It was reassuring to know that Foundy had vetted [the buyers] and that [they] weren't trying to find out all of the details of our business and were then just going to disappear off into the sunset!”

Were there any elements of your experience with Foundy that you found especially useful? 

Having the Foundy team was very important in the whole process. 

It gave me a confidence boost to know that we had a team behind us to just double-check things. 

In the negotiation process, it was really useful that I wasn’t on my own in that process. It can be a lonely process and it's a lot of pressure to not say the wrong thing or respond to an email in haste, which could actually have a big impact further down the line on the deal terms. It's useful to speak to people who are doing this all the time. 

How do you feel now that the sale is complete? 

There is a huge element of relief, that we feel like we've sold it to the right person, so I'm excited. 

I don't have a sense of dread about what's going to happen to it now. I'm excited to be able to sit back and watch what happens to it. 

Also, I'm excited for what's next for me and being able to step into our post-acquisition life, which we've dreamed about for a long time. We can start to look towards the future, and having a bit of a break is definitely top of the list. 

Have you got any plans after this exit? 

After the break, I'm excited to be able to do something that's purpose-driven. I'm going to be working with predominantly female founders as a speaker and communications coach and running workshops on taking up space and banishing imposter syndrome. I will be using my experience as a female founder over the last 10 years to help other female founders and see if we can just get a few more of us around. 

Looking back at your exit journey, are there any insights you'd like to share with other business owners considering their exit?

My main piece of advice for anybody thinking that they might sell at some point is, rather than thinking about how that's going to happen and when they're going to do it, is to start thinking about preparing for it. 

Make sure you’re getting some advice or utilising things like Foundy and the pre-acquisition services to get things in the right place, so that when it comes to selling, you're in the strongest possible position. 

It's a pre-acquisition mindset where you really need to think about every decision you're making and how that would impact the way that this is going to look in order to sell. 

For me, a huge part of it was that for many years, I was client-facing and then about three or four years ago, I stepped away from doing the client work myself and started managing the team solely. I realised that if we were going to sell, people aren't going to want to buy a business that's completely tied to me. I can quite confidently say now that the business was ready to hand over to someone else because it was all running fine and that person could come in and switch with me.

You need to think from the perspective of the person who's buying your business, putting yourself in their shoes. 

Ask yourself: if somebody came into my business right now, what would they see? Can they access everything? Is it all in folders? Is it all a complete mess? Also from the founder's perspective, is it all in my head? That's great when you're running the business, but actually for somebody else to come in, it makes it very difficult. I think just having that prep in place and knowing that everything's lined up well in advance will just make it a lot less stressful.

Would you recommend Foundy to other business owners looking to sell their businesses?

I do recommend Foundy now to almost everyone I can. 

It's an easy one because there's so much involved, it's not just a platform where you list, it's not just a service that helps you to sell. There are so many different elements and extra services that can help you with how to do your valuation and how to make sure you've got a data room that looks good and has everything that you need in there. By the time you are ready to go, it looks very professional and you're able to present to the people that are interested, which makes the whole process so much easier. 

“For me, I’d happily recommend Foundy and I do it a lot because I think it's a very easy way to start the process.”

It's never going to be super easy to sell a business, but this is about as easy as it gets because everything is facilitated for you and made as easy as possible and you've got a whole team of people who can help you.

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