Exit Stories: Matt Schmidt, DZone

On this week’s episode of the Exit Stories podcast, host Kevin Mosley talked to serial entrepreneur Matt Schmidt, who co-founded DZone (currently rebranded as Devada) in 2001 as a freshman at NC State. 

After helping guide the software developer learning platform—without raising any outside funding—for more than 15 years, Schmidt officially exited the company to a growth equity firm in 2017.

Thanks as always to the Exit Stories season sponsor, Dualboot Partners!

Here are some of this episode’s highlights:

  • DZone, initially just a media business, didn’t intend to evolve into a two-business-unit company. As they grew the software side of the business, they tailored it to developer communities, which they saw very quickly aligned with what they were doing in the media business. [5:40]
  • DZone never took any outside funding because they were able to grow out of their own cash flow. Schmidt says one downside of this is that they didn’t develop as many ties to the local community, as they were already a very global company. However, he thinks taking outside funding might have set DZone down a less successful path, as bootstrapping the whole way gave the company the leeway necessary to make decisions without asking permission. [9:00]
  • DZone’s exit process took a few years, and they worked with an investment banking firm that works exclusively with bootstrapped companies to connect them to private equity firms for exiting. Schmidt said they were able to focus on growing the company while the outside firm did all the “heavy lifting” and outreach for them. [11:00]

To hear more about Matt’s and DZone’s journey, listen to the full podcast at the link below, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next Exit Story!

And for you visual learners, here’s the YouTube video: