13 years ago, I began a version of this blog. You can even read that first post here (and if you scroll to the bottom of Navarland.com, you can read these early blog posts in chronological order). I called the blog Birth of a Startup, and it was going to be about the trials and tribulations of starting and running my company, Skimbit (later changed to Skimlinks).
So it is with quite a lot of significance that I share that today, I write the last post for that journey. For today we announce that Skimlinks has been acquired by Connexity!
When you start a company, you are told to hold this day as the entire point of your journey. This always struck me as weird. If you wanted to make wealth, there are a lot of easier ways to do it than slaving your heart and soul for over a decade. No, I started a company because I couldn’t not. I love the journey. I love working with a team of brilliant people on interesting problems. I love inventing things. I love turning an idea into something real, that helps people, that has an impact in the world. These are the reasons to start a business.
So the day it ends… the day you achieved your “goal”, is an odd one. Bucket list item: tick! End of an era: wow. Wow!
My overwhelming feeling now is pride and joy. We did it! An idea in my flat in Sydney turned into a global enterprise. We invented a technology and turned it into a market-leader in a category we created. Skimlinks technology is ubiquitous across the media industry. We created a team culture that was so great it even has its own hashtag (#skimlove forever!!). We survived all sorts of challenges and hurdles, and came out of it growing every year, our final year being our best, our final month (even with COVID) our best ever. What a way for it to end, bathed in glory, everyone did well, lots of ex/current-employees now have house deposits, and a brilliant destination for our legacy. Connexity is an incredible buyer for us, and Skimlinks will continue to serve its customers with a combined reach of $2.5 Billion in ecommerce annually through its platform.
So now it’s time for the thanks… first, to the man who took over 2 years ago and saw the deal to completion. Sebastien Blanc, you are an extraordinary CEO and I’m so grateful you took the reins when I passed them to you, and created a great final chapter for this amazing company. Thank you.
To our investors and Board members, who kept us grounded, supported, and driven. John Brimacombe from Sussex Place Ventures, who was our very first seed investor, our very first Board Member, and our very last Chairman. Your sagacity and operational excellence was always appreciated. Urs Cete from BDMI, who is one of the warmest and kindest VCs you’ll ever meet. Alex Hoye, our first Chairman, who helped me survive those stressful pre-investment months. Robin Klein from Local Globe, Ian Sigalow from Greycroft, Shirin Dehghan from Frog, Greg Coleman and Ben Barokas our latest NEDs… we had it so good.
To our customers who made us who we are. Too many to name, but to all of you, THANK YOU for never churning, thank you for believing us when we said commerce content was a great way to grow your business 🙂
But the biggest thanks has to go to the team. Oh what a team. The team that made it worth it to wake up every day and walk into that beautiful office and spend most of my waking day. The team that made me laugh a lot, who went the extra mile all the time, who knew how to celebrate, and worked their asses off. The greatest satisfaction I have throughout this whole process is that the name “Skimlinks” on their CV now means something: it should advance them in their careers, and it holds beautiful memories. So many people have walked past our #skimlove neon signage at our entrance, I can’t name them all. But here are a few… the first I have to call out is Employee #1, Matthieu Pivard. Never has a man with more class, integrity and kindness walked the earth. I got to work with him before Skimlinks, and he moved his life to London just to work for me again. He is every person’s favourite person at Skimlinks, the first SkimFellow, and a brilliant Operations & Product leader. I love you, Matt, thank you for EVERYTHING.
Employee #3 at Skimlinks was Tamas Szikszai. He walked in a gangly dreadlocked dude with no prior work experience. He is there today at Skimlinks leading our engineering team, our second SkimFellow, and a more honest, bright, and entrepreneurial engineer you’ll struggle to meet. Thank you for always telling it to me straight, and for making me so proud and honoured I could burst.
Jen Langdon was my COO and right-hand woman for many years, and I find it weird to not have her heckling me on a daily basis as she was wont to do. She is the kind of woman who got stuff done, and she is universally beloved by the team. I trust her with my life. Thanks Jen x
Then… everyone else… Liv, Tom, Jenny, Jamie, Geoff, Nayan, Carly, Amy, Catherine, Eddie, Mark, Buck, Angus, Jeff, Ciaran, Hannah, Jay, Hardip, Alessio, Sofia… so many people that left a mark on the company and on my heart.
But the final thanks goes to my partner throughout all this: the best fucking co-founder a girl could ever hope for… Joe Stepniewski. You joined when I needed someone to help me carry the burden, and your shoulders never faltered, and your heart always shone bright. We’ve been through so much together, a lifetime, and its a mark of the man you are that we have stayed the best of friends after 12 years of working side by side. Thank you for literally everything!
So that is it! The end of a startup, and the start of new chapters, all with a broad smile on our faces, and pride singing from our hearts. Well done, again, Seb, well done Skimlinks team, well done Connexity. You’ve gotten yourself a real gem there.
Now what will my next blog be called…