By Alicia Morga (Founder & CEO, Refleta)
I ran Consorte Media for five years before it was acquired. When I started Consorte Media in 2005, it was verboten to say when fundraising that you were building to flip a company. Today, many angels are looking for just that approach. But every business, no matter the original idea or approach, needs time to figure out what it’s going to be –- especially if it’s going to be big. It also needs time to make mistakes, and we made plenty.
My initial idea was not to build an ad network.
But that’s often how building a company goes – the business always morphs and grows, and never ends up looking like the original vision. My vision of connecting Hispanic consumers with service providers who could offer their services to them in Spanish was inspired by my own culture, having seen the incredible lack of services addressing the Hispanic market.
We were approached several times to be acquired.
The first time was right as we raised Series B with Sutter Hill Ventures. It was as if others could smell the money! Later we received interest in the summer of 2008 and then the economy fell off the cliff and along with it all auto advertising – the largest advertisers in the Hispanic market. It was a stressful end of 2008 and 2009 as we hung on during one of the roughest online advertising periods many had seen. When we were approached again at the end of 2009, we explored it seriously and agreed to be acquired in 2010 by Audience Science, a large general market ad network who valued the relationships we had built with Hispanic focused and Spanish language publishers.
Exiting the business after all the sweat and tears was tough, but I knew it was the right thing for the business and my employees – who at the end of the day, mattered the most to me. What follows is a post I wrote before we were acquired. It’s a tale of how my business evolved and the industry with it.
About the guest blogger: Alicia Morga is Founder & CEO of a new consumer startup Refleta. Formerly, Alicia was Founder & CEO of a venture-funded digital marketing company focused on the Hispanic market, Consorte Media (acquired by Audience Science in 2010). She is a writer for Fast Company, the Huffington Post and the Christian Science Monitor. In her spare time, she created the iPhone app gottaFeeling and blogs at www.AliciaMorga.com. Follow her on Twitter at @aliciamorga.