Tim Clipsham wasn't prepared for a phone call from Atlassian inquiring about buying his start-up.
"I was really surprised, it wasn't something I had considered," the founder of analytics company Good Software says. "I had a 10-year vision ahead of what I wanted to achieve."
The 31-year-old software developer launched Good Software just over two years ago and sold the business to Australian software giant Atlassian for an undisclosed sum last month.
Sydney based Good Software created applications that worked with Atlassian products.
Its most popular product was an app called Analytics for Confluence which provided statistics and insights for users of Atlassian's popular Confluence product, a content collaboration tool.
Starting as a side hustle
Clipsham started Good Software after seeing an opportunity in Atlassian's marketplace, particularly on the cloud side to help solve customer problems.
"I have always had a desire to build a business and I saw Atlassian's marketplace as a great way to do this," Clipsham says. "It started as a side hustle doing a couple of hours every morning to chip away at the problem and test the ideas before making the jump [to running the business full time]."
Clipsham says he was not concerned at the dependency of his entire business on Atlassian.
"I think it's really important to focus on a specific niche as a business and do well at it and I saw a huge opportunity on Atlassian marketplace," he says. "With any business there are many risks you have to face whether on a platform like Atlassian or whether it is other competitors, but I believed the benefits outweighed the risks."
His costs of starting up the business were minimal with Clipsham initially working from his home.
"In terms of a software start-up there are not many large upfront costs you just need a laptop which I already had," Clipsham says. "The main challenge was how to reduce personal expenses to put more into the business, rent was a big expense so my wife and I moved house to a cheaper place."
Clipsham says while there were challenging moments building Good Software but demand for its apps grew steadily enabling him to hire a team of four.
Things were going according to plan until Atlassian "reached out" to him.
"The Atlassian team really talked through the circumstances we were in and the benefits of joining a greater team," Clipsham says.
"I was looking at what is the best outcome for the customer and for my team, I wanted to make sure they were looked after, and obviously for my wife and me for all the hard work we put in. The more I thought about it, the more Atlassian made so much sense. I thought the way to have maximum impact with what I had created was to join the team."
Clipsham and his team moved across to Atlassian just over a month ago and he has been given a role as a senior product manager.
"It's been surprisingly smooth to tell you the truth because we really knew the Atlassian culture from being part of the ecosystem," he says. "I am really excited for the growth opportunities that are here not just for me but also for the team members."
Clipsham won't disclose how long he is contractually required to stay but says the sale was "a really good outcome" for him.
"It wasn't my goal to be acquired, it wasn't something I was thinking of," he says. "There is benefit to having a plan but the most important thing is building a really good team and doing great work for your customers. If it distracts from that then you are working on the wrong area."
Fuelling Atlassian's growth
Good Software is Atlassian's most recent acquisition with the Australian tech giant paying $US295 million for OpsGenie last year and $US166 million for planning software provider Agile-Craft in March this year.
With a valuation of more than $US30 billion, the workplace software business continues to grow, both through acquistions and organically.
Atlassian's marketplace is one of the keys to its success with over 25,000 developers on the ecosystem, many more than the number of developers in the company.
Atlassian co-founder and co-chief executive Mike Cannon-Brookes is enthusiastic about the Good Software acquisition.
"The Atlassian ecosystem is full of brilliant ideas and products," he says. "Companies like Good Software understand our customer needs inside out, and it’s great to welcome them to our team."
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