Olin entrepreneurship chief sells firm he co-founded in 2007 for $30M | WashU Fuse


by Kurt Greenbaum

Doug Villhard, EMBA ’14, academic director of WashU Olin’s entrepreneurship platform, today announced the sale and acquisition of the $ 30 million startup he co-founded in 2007.

St. Louis-based Second Street, co-founded with Matt Coen, enables publishers and other customers to host contests, interactive content, and email to increase sales, database, and engagement. The company has more than 500 customers, including Gannett news publisher, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, and WGN-TV in Chicago.

According to a press release, Upland Software, which provides cloud-based tools for digital transformation, agreed to acquire Second Street at closing for $ 25.4 million in cash (net of cash acquired) that will be drawn from its cash on hand and 5 $ Million paid in cash, holdback payable in 12 months.

“At Olin, I teach students to fall in love with the customer’s problem first,” said Villhard, who is also a professor of entrepreneurial practice. “If you do this right, it can lead to amazing things.”

Villhard said he was working on the Second Street expansion while working on his MBA. “Every class I took I applied to the company I built,” he said.

“Our customers’ business will only accelerate with Upland, which is extremely gratifying for all of us who have been involved in building such a specialty product over the past 14 years,” said Villhard in a blog post on the Upland website. Founder and President of Second Street.

“At Olin, I teach students to fall in love with the customer’s problem first. When done right, it can lead to amazing things. “

Further highlights from the announcement of the takeover by Upland:

“Our customers need to deliver content experiences that consumers enjoy interacting with and benefit from,” said Jack McDonald, chairman and CEO of Upland (publicly traded on the Nasdaq: UPLD). “Contests and interactive content are a proven and effective way of attracting, attracting and retaining consumers, and Second Street is doing it on a large scale.”

Upland expects the acquisition to generate approximately $ 9.4 million in annual revenue, all of which will be recurring.

The Upland Cloud enables thousands of companies to connect with customers through critical digital channels, optimize sales team performance, manage projects and IT costs, and automate critical document workflows.

Villhard is also a partner of his brother at Villhard Growth Partners, a private equity firm that invests in, collaborates with, and grows in strong, technology-based business and healthcare services companies. He was involved in the establishment and operation of two other startups. And he founded Father McGivney’s Catholic high school in Glen Carbon, Illinois.

Pictured above: Doug Villhard on stage at one of the annual Second Street Customer Summit (photo courtesy Doug Villhard).

This article originally appeared on the Olin blog and is reprinted with permission.