Today we are excited to introduce you to Laurits Just, a highly accomplished individual with a strong background in information systems and economics. With his extensive experience in the fintech industry and successful launch of a fintech venture, Laurits brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Furthermore, he has also made significant contributions in the fields of venture capital incubation and asset management software, demonstrating his versatility and ability to thrive in diverse environments.
TechAcute Profile: Laurits Just
I studied for my Bachelor’s in Economics across Europe, Asia, and North America. After graduating, I worked at Rocket Internet in London before enrolling in two Master’s programs at the London School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School where I studied Economics and Information Systems. I then took an offer at BlackRock where I worked in the Aladdin team as a Client Engagement Manager doing system implementations, IT projects, and front-office analytics. After 3 years I quit and moved to Berlin with a German friend from college. He had worked at Facebook and Google in Dublin prior to quitting and moving. Together we started BitsForDigits, a startup acquisition marketplace for internet businesses to be bought and sold through.
Our mission was and remains to make business owners and founders liquid through full and partial acquisitions. After speaking with several serial entrepreneurs, investors, and acquirers in the space we understood the needs. We kept the platform anonymous for sellers such that buyers can read information about the business without knowing the identity of that or the team behind it. With a single platform, we have made it easy to make offers, sign NDAs and transact with escrow. David Heinemeier Hansson is an alumnus of our university and inspiration for BitsForDigits. We spoke with him about his deal with Jeff Bezos in which he and Jason Fried sold a life-changing stake in their business to take some money off the table and gain some personal financial security. Their company, Basecamp, is a bootstrapped SaaS business that has been profitable since day one. That is the business archetype on BitsForDigits today.
About your company
BitsForDigits is a startup acquisition marketplace for internet businesses to be bought and sold via. Our mission was and remains to make it safe, simple, and free for business owners and founders to get liquid through full and partial acquisitions. No sales commission, listing fees, or middlemanning. M&A is often a painful process but doesn’t need to be. We keep things straightforward. The platform is anonymous for sellers such that buyers can read information about their businesses without knowing the identity of that or the team behind it. We have also made it possible for the sell side to view the buy side of the platform through what we call “acquirer profiles”, which every verified buyer needs to make in order to contact sellers.
With a single platform, we have made it easy to make offers, sign NDAs and transact with escrow. David Heinemeier Hansson is a fellow alumnus from our university in Denmark and was a big inspiration behind BitsForDigits. We spoke to him about his deal with Jeff Bezos in which he and Jason Fried sold a life-changing stake in their business to take some money off the table and gain some personal financial security. Their company, Basecamp, is a bootstrapped SaaS business that has been profitable since day one – and still is. That is the business archetype on the BitsForDigits marketplace today. Apart from SaaS, we have a lot of other marketplaces, fintech, agencies, eCommerce, and content businesses listed for sale.
What problem in the world are you trying to solve?
- Illiquidity for business owners and founders;
- Discovery process for both sellers and buyers;
- 10-15% sales fees charged by business brokers.
How are you trying to solve this problem?
- We enable buyers to approach sellers with offers;
- Our two-sided platform enables sellers to broadcast their business anonymously to buyers;
- BitsForDigits only monetises the buy-side of the marketplace with subscriptions and success fees to keep it free for business owners and founders to sell.
How does technology support you to achieve this goal?
The software enables the platform to function. We have business listings, acquirer profiles, account memberships, user messaging, valuation calculators, transaction escrow, advisor directories, digital resources, and other functionality that makes BitsForDigits run 24/7 with near-zero downtime. We connect with APIs from our partners and technology vendors to offer the process end-to-end. The internet is what brings it all online, of course.
How does the technology work?
Our tech stack is comprised of a lot of third-party low-code plugins and vertical SaaS tools. It’s fairly simple and a full list can be found here: https://builtwith.com/bitsfordigits.com
What are the milestones in your journey so far?
First 100 businesses on the marketplace, first 1000 registered buyers, first revenue, first transaction.
How do you plan to grow and scale in the next 5 years?
We are thinking about raising a round to grow and scale the platform inside and outside of Europe.
How do you think will your market develop in the near and far future?
In the far future we expect the market to consolidate but near term, the brokers will get outcompeted by marketplaces and platforms like ours.
What challenges do you think might need to be addressed in your company very soon?
Virtual data rooms are the number one request we get from both buyers and sellers.
(Editorial explanation: A virtual data room (VDR) is an online repository of documents, designed to facilitate secure file sharing for sensitive information. It is mostly used in the context of mergers and acquisitions where both buyers and sellers need to securely share due diligence documents. VDRs provide several advantages over traditional “brick and mortar” document rooms, including improved security, better collaboration between parties, faster turnaround times, and increased transparency. By providing a secure platform to store, share, and collaborate on confidential documents in the context of M&A activity, VDRs make it easier for businesses to conduct quick and successful transactions.)
How do you plan to overcome these challenges?
We might have a functionality announcement to share soon about a new feature on BitsForDigits.
What does your business model work like?
Subscription and success fees are charged to the acquiring side of the marketplace.
Bootstrapped so far.
If you could give your younger self a word of advice, what would you recommend to yourself?
Acquire and grow an existing business. Don’t build one from scratch.
What would you suggest to someone who is yet to start their career in your industry?
Buy and build on top of something existing.
Finding out what your business is worth by listing it for free, anonymously on a platform like BitsForDigits is literally without downside.
Thank you, Laurits, for your contribution to TechAcute Profiles. Your unique insights and thoughtful approach are genuinely valued. We eagerly look forward to your future contributions, which we anticipate with great enthusiasm.
Photo credit: The photo in the feature image has been provided by Laurits Just with permission to be used by TechAcute.
Editorial notice: The contents from the submitter for the TechAcute profile were minimally edited for style and for grammar.