This Founder Sold His Startup, Bought it Back for Pennies, and Resold it on for 6 Figures

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If someone told you they did what you just read in this title, you’d probably think they’d committed a crime.

But Qayyum Rajan’s good fortune was a surprise twist of fate.

Early in 2023, Qayyum sold his business, ESG Analytics, to a private equity firm. But, his acquirer ran out of money and offered the business back to him for next to nothing a few months later.

Qayyum got back in the driver’s seat of his startup, spent $10,000 to redesign its website, and then listed it on for another sale. 

ESG Analytics was popular with buyers. Its clients were mid-level private equity firms and portfolio managers who needed to evaluate environmental social good (ESG) performance across large numbers of businesses. 

No other tool provided affordable ESG industry reports at the time. Within days of listing on Acquire, Qayyam was pitting a handful of small PE buyers against each other in a bidding war.

He finally sold for five figures, spent 20 percent on a vacation for himself and his wife, and set the other 80 percent aside for savings.

Post-acquisition, listen to Qayyum’s Startup Acquisition Stories Podcast episode with Andrew as they discuss:

  • The huge ESG industry problem Qayyum capitalized on
  • The advantages of selling a business multiple times
  • What founders need to do to increase their sale valuation
  • Why future sellers need to be extra careful when applying for a business credit card

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