Startup Acquisition Stories with Mark Spera, Co-founder of GrowthBar

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A little over two years ago, Mark Spera and business partner, Hailey Friedman made a friendly wager. The stakes were their future careers. 

Hailey would run their digital marketing agency, Growth Marketing Pro for the next 12 months. Mark would run their fast-scaling SaaS tool, GrowthBar. Whichever business made less money by the end of one year would be sold.

Here’s how they became the founders of two profitable, bootstrapped businesses.

Mark and Hailey’s entrepreneurship journey started from a digital marketing affiliate blog Mark created in his free time. Harnessing the steady power of organic growth in the off hours of their day jobs, Mark and Hailey brought the blog to 50,000 organic monthly visitors over the course of a few years.

Running a blog on marketing with impressive organic rankings more or less marketed itself. Mark and Hailey had businesses clamoring for help growing their organic online presences. Eventually, these advisory chats became a full-fledged agency called Growth Marketing Pro.

To expand, Mark and Hailey created Growth Bar, an internal tool helping them automate SEO and SEM tasks. GrowthBar became so effective that they offered subscriptions to customers and experienced signup days netting them as much as $100,000 at the peak.

GrowthBar’s growth started to become a dilemma for Hailey and Mark – they were using too much time running both companies. Their focus was stretched and they decided they needed to sell one business and double down on the other.

Despite fast growth for the SaaS, Hailey’s business won their wager. They invested in their agency full time and sold GrowthBar on They sold their SaaS at its peak and managed to harness all of the hype surrounding AI. They got on’s Managed By Acquire program and secured a promising LOI in just four days.

Post-acquisition, Mark hopped on our Startup Acquisition Stories Podcast to talk to founder, Andrew Gazdecki about:

  • The dangers of trying to make your business do too many things
  • How he chose the right buyer out of a sea of interest (He received about 50 LOI requests in 48 hours)
  • The benefits of selling to experienced buyers and why sellers avoid overly complex deals
  • The importance of keeping books in order and why you need to limit CAC

Mark and Hailey are just getting started and you can follow and chat with them here:

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