Peach New Media
Dave Will founded Peach New Media, an online learning business, in 2001, with a little bit of borrowed funds and hopes of customers -- enough, he said, to put "Cheerios on the table" for his family. In 2015, his business was acquired by a private equity firm for eight figures. The path to exit began when the phone started ringing with potential suitors and one of them got as far as a closing date. Then, Dave did a less than common thing: He told his employees about the deal that was about to close -- except that it didn't. The buyer put the deal on indefinite hold and employee morale took a hit. Great lessons from Dave on how he pulled the deal back from the brink and saved every employee’s job. After the deal closed, Dave stayed on as part of the deal, with the intention of bringing his company's culture into a bigger entity. When his vision clashed with the other senior executives', he left. Once out, Dave spent too much time "saying yes," something he regrets and says that next time, he’d build in more time to grow bored.