ISSUE – Dec. 19 | How a cold call to a billionaire led this founder to sell his company for $225 million

On July 22, 2009, John Gabbert stared at the bank balance for his two-year old startup and took a screenshot. “We had $22,000 in the bank and we owed $100,000,” Gabbert, CEO of PitchBook Data, told Business Insider. “I told myself, ‘This is either the bottom or the end.'” The startup wasn’t exactly living large. “For the first two and half years we worked in a 200 square foot internal office with no windows, and we got up to 7 people in there. It was ridiculous,” he laughed. He had spent the first 20 months of the startup living away from his wife and two young kids to save money – they moved home to Seattle while he camped out at a friend’s house in San Francisco and worked 80 to 100-hours a week. He kept tabs of his hours on a sticky note.

PitchBook Data offers a database of private equity and venture investments. It was an idea he had after working as a research analyst for nine years for a San Francisco company called Venture One. Venture One sold a database product that focused on venture capital. His customers kept asking for one that covered private equity, too.

“I was there through four owners,” he said. The company ultimately wound up in the hands of Dow Jones, but “I could not get them to invest in new innovative products.”  [ Business Insider ]