Biro Florin and Nikola Závadská met in the summer of 2017. Both had a background in project management, and they shared a disdain for boring apps and tedious processes.

Before the end of the year was up, the U.K. couple began building their own project management app — one that was easier to use, even fun.

In March 2018, they launched Jexo. Soon it became a portfolio of project management plug-ins for Jira, a project tracking platform from the folks at Atlassian.

Less than five years later, the life partners found another perfect match: a buyer.

Growing Jexo into 6 apps and a team of 13

Jexo’s portfolio consists of six apps. It started with Swanly, launched in March 2018.

Swanly helps teams plan, track and report across projects in Jira. It can be used to run marketing campaigns, manage product development, deliver change programs and more. The app is free for up to 10 users. For larger teams, it’s $1.50 per user.

The app hit the Atlassian marketplace in September 2018, and a year later, had 100 customers, a key milestone Jexo shares on its website.

The following year, the co-founders added to the company: another Jiro plug-in, this one called Octo, built for component management, and their first team member.

In early 2020 and then again in 2021, Jexo scored funding — a total of $450,000 from re:solution, an Atlassian marketplace vendor, and Atlassian itself. The funding opened up more opportunities and allowed Jexo to grow into a portfolio of six apps and a team of 11 contractors based around the world.

Florin shared that another big key to Jexo’s growth was its content. Their blog, with 15,000 monthly readers, features ultimate guides, tool and app roundups, and product news. Jexo also hosted a podcast, “Monday Coffee with Jexo,” which had up to 2,500 monthly listeners.

“[Content] got us into the right partnerships and helped us open doors to opportunities to accelerate growth,” Florin said.

Finding a culture fit with Appfire

Come 2022, Florin and Závadská were looking to sell.

“We wanted to leverage more resources to accelerate what we were doing,” he said. “And Nikki, my business and life partner, and I wanted to settle down, build a house and have a more comfortable life.”

At that point, its apps had more than 5,000 users. Although the co-founders couldn’t disclose revenue, Florin did share that Jexo was an Atlassian Gold Market Partner, which requires a minimum of $500,000 annual gross sales with 25% from cloud or a minimum of $3 million annual gross sales.

They found a buyer through their network — “friends from our ecosystem that approached us,” he said. Bamburgh Capital, a corporate advisor, brokered the deal.

The buyer was Appfire, an enterprise collaboration software company based in Massachusetts. Its solutions range from IT service management to workflow and automation. Appfire has the widest portfolio of Atlassian apps, according to Business Mondays, with 200,000+ active installations.

In 2022, Appfire announced a record year of growth with more than $150 million ARR (annual recurring revenue). In January 2023, a month before the Jexo announcement, Appfire shared it had acquired 20-plus apps from ServiceRocket.

In addition to tapping into additional resources, Florin was excited to join forces with Appfire “because both cultures fit perfectly,” he said.

Appfire co-founder and CEO Randall Ward reiterated the sentiment in a video announcing the acquisition: “We have a real shared sense of culture, core values and our sense of belief.”

Appfire also sees the acquisition as a way to amplify their creative approach to provide educational value to their customers using Atlassian, Microsoft, Slack and other platforms they serve, according to a company blog post.

The sale closed in December 2022 and was announced in February 2023.

Florin and Závadská both joined the Appfire team after the sale. Závadská works as a lead project manager and host of the “Monday Coffee by Appfire” podcast. Florin worked for a year as a content director then a community director before closing out his time with the company in January 2024. Now, he’s focused on his podcast Misfit Founders, a podcast and community for aspiring founders.

His parting piece of advice for founders looking to sell: “Figure out the reason why you want to sell and have that as a guiding principle while going through the process.”