#SpotlightSeries: Why Michael Hyatt turned down $17 million in BlueCat’s early days

michael hyatt

Is it better to maintain full control of your company and potentially crash and burn — or bring in renowned talent that promises to scale your company in exchange for that control?

During a Spotlight Series conversation with Razor Suleman in Toronto, BlueCat founder Michael Hyatt explained how he tackled this dilemma when he and his brother and co-founder, Richard, went down Silicon Valley to raise funding in the company’s early days.

Hyatt ended up pitching to Kleiner Perkins, one of the top VC firms at the time — and in the room with Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems. After pitching BlueCat, the Hyatt brothers were offered $17 million — on the condition that they would move to California, become VPs, and turn over control of the company to Kleiner Perkin’s “people.”

“You turn it down because — here’s the thing about control. I want the right to build my company, and crash it straight into the wall on my own,” said Hyatt. “If I was going to destroy the company, I wanted to destroy it on my own terms.”

So how did Hyatt manage to find success with full founder control? “You do something called ‘revenue’ and ‘profit’,” said Hyatt. “The arbiters are people buying your stuff… it’s not even us investors.”

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Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.