Lead generation and marketing operations agency OpGen Media began as a solution to a problem Brandon Pindulic faced every day: as a demand generation manager, he needed a one-stop shop to cultivate sales leads.
“I was basically selling a service to people that did the [same] job that I was doing,” he said.
Founded in 2016, OpGen initially focused on demand generation — or getting potential customers interested in a company’s offers — but Pindulic later broadened its scope to include marketing, helping companies nurture and convert those leads into sales opportunities. The agency worked with 35 to 40 clients at any given time, mainly mature enterprise tech companies and growing SaaS startups. OpGen’s client roster included tech companies like DocuSign, Oracle and Citrix.
In the early days, Pindulic was a bottleneck in the business, he said. “As I realized it, I began to invest in areas to pull myself out of the day-to-day, and was mostly able to achieve this, which vastly improved our sale, profitability, and most importantly, our quality of work.”
The agency also invested into their own marketing, “which most agencies miss,” Pindulic said. “SEO and paid search were critical for our growth beyond referrals and word of mouth.”
By late 2020, OpGen had reached 7 figures in revenue with what Pindulic described as “above-average profit margins for an agency.” But the founder realized his business had reached a pivot point, he said: he needed to either sell it or commit to hiring more people and running the company for at least another three years.
Why OpGen Media’s founder decided it was time to sell
After deliberating, Pindulic decided to sell OpGen. He was ready to take a break from the demands of running a business, but he was also curious about the experience of selling a company.
“I think if I had an exit under my belt already, I wouldn’t have sold,” he said.
Pindulic chose to sell OpGen through the agency-focused brokerage Barney, and wound up speaking with about 15 potential buyers. He knew he wanted to sell to an agency, rather than a private equity firm, as a strategic buyer who aimed to grow the business would likely be a better cultural fit for his team.
“We had way more interest than I thought we would, which was nice, and it made me realize what a great business we had built up,” Pindulic said.
In March 2021, he sold OpGen to Reel Axis, another tech-focused marketing company, for a 7-figure sum. Reel Axis also operates remotely, which was important for OpGen’s fully remote team of five employees, plus contractors.
As part of the deal, Pindulic stayed at OpGen for 16 months to support the transition. During the first four months he worked daily, after which he was kept on as a consultant for about a year.
Today, Pindulic is building a portfolio of media and SaaS companies through his firm, Spacebar Ventures.
Pindulic offered some cautionary words for entrepreneurs who are considering selling a business. Ask yourself if you really want to sell, or if you just need a break from the grind.
“Eight out of 10 times, if you have a business you like that cash flows well, it really isn’t worth selling, even when a big number is staring at you,” he said. “It is good to sell your first business, but the next one I build, I want to hold for as long as possible.”