Bootstrapped startups and the shit I learn in therapy

In June we signed the paperwork to join GreyNoise Intelligence. Everyone on the team received an offer to join GreyNoise, with all but one deciding to join their team. We’re incredibly excited to be a part of their incredible team and to continue the work we’ve done together!

We started Krit more than 8 years ago. At the time, we were three college kids with a little bit of talent, and no clue how to start a business. Last year we crossed $1 million in revenue. Over the years we have worked with more than 50 clients, two of which have had successful acquisitions, and in total they have raised more than $120 million. More importantly, in that time we built a culture and team we could not be more proud of. 

So why sell?

Building Krit has been an incredible privilege and, at times, an absolute blast. We love our team, our clients, and the work that we have done. But it has also been a grind. 

It's been difficult to unplug. 

While we have tried to model a healthy work-life balance, as an owner you almost never truly unplug. We have been able to build our business without working ridiculous hours, but the stress and the pressure have still been there at night and on weekends. Will we be able to close that big new client and end our dry spell? Will we be able to find a new engineer in time to staff the project?

Agency stresses piled up.

In particular, the stresses of running an agency have started to wear on us. While we have made huge strides in recent years, revamping our time tracking process and increasing revenue while reducing the number of active clients we maintain, the challenges of running an agency were still there. Any time someone got sick or went on vacation, we felt it. 

Salaries rapidly increased and we struggled to keep up.

It weighed on us that we weren’t able to profitably pay people what they could earn elsewhere. 

Something's always around the corner.

It started to feel like even when things were going well, we couldn’t trust that feeling. There was always something waiting around the corner. And while we were profitable, we were barely taking any money out of the business. 

Still, we didn’t have any plans to sell. Until we got a call one day from Andrew Morris (CEO of GreyNoise). As soon as the chance to sell was real, it forced us to look long and hard at what we wanted. And we both realized that we were ready for a new chapter. 

Why GreyNoise?

When we got the call from Andrew, it was quite literally a dream come true. Whenever we were having a particularly rough day at Krit, we would often fantasize about GreyNoise buying us. In many ways, Krit and GreyNoise are a perfect match. 

  • Both teams care deeply about our people. This was always going to be requirement number one for any partner. 
  • Both teams value and invest in design. There aren’t many security companies the size of GreyNoise who are building out such a large and talented design team.
  • Their team as a whole is incredible. We got to spend last week in Denver meeting everyone, and it was amazing the level of talent and character that was in that room. 
  • The opportunity is massively exciting. GreyNoise has the potential over the next few years to radically change the way companies secure their perimeter (the outside of their networks). Joining this work is really exciting. 
  • We've been a part of each other’s journeys for years. Andrew Askins was living with Andrew Morris when he built the first versions of what would ultimately become GreyNoise. Krit designed the UI and owned the frontend for 3 years. We have a ton of trust and knowledge of each other already, which is hugely valuable in a deal like this. 

We are incredibly excited for the work we’re going to do together, and grateful for the chance to be a part of something so special. 

What’s happening to our clients?

At the time the deal closed, we had four active clients including GreyNoise. We have worked with everyone to find partners to help them continue the work we were doing and to try to leave them in the best possible place. It meant the world to us that when we told all of our clients the news, their first reaction every time was to congratulate us and share how happy they were. It was a mark of the depth of the relationships we have built in our work together. 

Thank you

We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has played a part in this wild journey. 

Thank you first to everyone who ever worked at Krit. We are so proud of the team and culture that we built, and the work we did together. You are all incredible people, and if there’s ever anything we can do for you, you only have to ask. You will always be a Kritter, and we are here for you for the rest of your life. 

Thank you second to our clients. You trusted us with your life’s work, your hopes and dreams. You put your livelihood and the livelihood of your team and your clients in our hands. You weathered many of the ups and downs with us, and I will always be thankful for your trust.

Thank you to the former partners of Krit, Bill and Kevin. There’s no way Krit would have made it this far without all of your sacrifices in the early years. 

Thank you to GreyNoise, for betting on us yet again. 

And finally thank you to our friends and family who helped us along the way. So many people have played an important role in our journey. People from USC, 52inc, Tminus6, the Columbia and Charleston startup communities, the Bureau of Digital, our families, and so many more. 

Cheers to the next adventure.

Andrew and Austin

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