A couple of years ago networking giant Cisco bought a startup called Flip for $US590 million, because it was making waves with an ultra-hip video camera. Which sounds like every startup's dream. Except that it's all just gone horribly wrong.
Just two years after spending $US590 million to acquire Flip and its groovy video camera range, networking giant Cisco has binned the product and its investment.
It must be a bitter day for the folks at Flip, who two years ago were touted as having created a whole new category of video camera thanks to a fantastically easy to use device that was cheap, easy to use and shot great video.
So why has Cisco dumped the Flip?
The company's roots in business to business sales are probably to blame: few organisations can pull off the trick of selling to business and consumers at the same time. And the Flip was far and away Cisco's most consumer-oriented product and, to be frank, looked a bit out of place in its lineup.
It's also easy to imagine that demand for simple video cameras is waning now that most smartphones do a decent job of capturing moving images.
But perhaps a bigger question to ask is how this incident makes you feel about your own exit strategies. Of course it would be nice to sell your business to a global whale like Cisco for hundreds of millions of dollars. But what if the sale looked risky and you felt that your business, and all the years of work you had put into it, could disappear in a puff of balance sheet smoke? Would you look for a sale to another entity that offered greater chance of a personal legacy? Or would you take the cash straight to the yacht showroom?
Let us know how you feel about selling your business in the comment space below.
Taking digitisation out of the ‘too hard’ basket for SMEs
By Jason Brouwers
The insanity of consumer expectations
By Jason Dooris
Forget how big you are: always have a start-up mentality
By Simon Larcey