Why We Sold Our Media Company to a SaaS Business (PartnerHacker)

Why We Sold Our Media Company to a SaaS Business (PartnerHacker)


PartnerHacker announced last week that they merged with Reveal. Isaac Morehouse, Co-Founder of PartnerHacker, wrote this piece telling the story of how he and his co-founder, Jared Fuller, built and sold their media company in just nine months.

Why We Sold Our Media Company to a SaaS Business

We went from website launch to acquisition of our media company in nine months.

Yes, nine months!

We just announced last week that PartnerHacker, a media company in the B2B partnerships space, just merged with (aka was acquired by) Reveal, a tech platform for leveraging Nearbound leads.

I say “merged”, because both entities will continue to operate with independent brands, teams, databases, and initiatives. My PartnerHacker co-founder Jared Fuller and I are both continuing to run PH and taking on executive roles at Reveal. This isn’t a move where a SaaS company just buys a big lead list from a media company, or a move where the founders take an exit and move on.

This is a doubling down by both companies on our mission to transform B2B Go-To-Market with the concept of Nearbound selling.

So why was this deal attractive to a profitable, fast-growing media company?

Jared and I are scrappy, independent entrepreneurs at heart. We’ve both built multiple companies, both bootstrapped and venture backed, and we love the zero to one phase and the challenge of, as Jared puts it, taking things from an opportunity to a responsibility.

We took on a small amount of strategic investment for PartnerHacker, but have been profitable from day one and basically run it like a bootstrapped business. We published over 800 pieces of content, a best-selling book, the number one podcast in the space, number one newsletter, and ran the largest ever B2B Partnerships event in our first year.

We have a great market, great momentum, and a great team. Neither of us have any interest in losing our independence and PartnerHacker is not slowing down.

So why merge with a SaaS company?

For us, the attractiveness of the deal came down to one thing: the opportunity to take a bigger swing.

Creating and winning a category = media + solution

When we set out to build PartnerHacker, we didn’t just set out to create a partnerships media business. We had a much bolder goal. Our goal was to transform B2B GTM forever. We wouldn’t be doing this for anything less ambitious.

We knew that to really create a new category in GTM requires not only transformational conversations, content, and community, but transformational technology that can help people put these ideas into practice.

We were making a category bet.

We were confident that this decade was going to be defined by a transformation in B2B GTM. Previous decades saw revolutions in Outbound, then Inbound, creating some true category giants along the way. We believed that a partner ecosystem led approach - a Nearbound approach - would win this decade.

But we didn’t know which tech solutions were most likely to lead the charge.

So we decided to build an audience and community first. We wanted to start conversations around this new approach, live and learn in market, build trust, and start defining and expanding the category. We thought we could either roll out products to this audience, or join forces with someone who already had a market-leading solution.

Reveal was one of our top partners from day one, and the more we worked with their team and their tech, the more we came to realize what a great partnership this was, and that there was a chance for something even bigger. Their platform has a chance to be category defining.

The Nearbound category requires a stack of tech - account mapping, TCMA, PRM, and more. - and Reveal is at the bottom layer of that stack. This allows us to continue to partner with all the other layers, and evangelize the category as a whole.

A SaaS business has a lot more upside than a media company. Both are hard, but different kinds of hard. We know the media biz, they know the product side. Combined, we get a chance to lead the market on both fronts.

Expanding our time horizon

It also means we have a chance to think bigger and on longer time horizons with PartnerHacker. We’re still operating it as an independent business unit, still partnering and bringing in revenue. But without the need to focus solely on month to month cash flow, we can invest even more in bigger initiatives to drive the conversation forward and reach new markets.

For us, it was a chance to expand and accelerate our vision.

How’s it going to work? Can we maintain trust and independence?

The good news is, we’re not the first media company to get purchased by a SaaS business (and won’t be the last!).

Many who have gone before have done a great job of keeping independent brands, audiences, operations, and trust. Sales Hacker and Outreach, The Hustle and HubSpot, etc.

As I mentioned at the outset, PartnerHacker will continue to have its own team, brand, initiatives, and database (aka, we’re not just a lead gen arm of Reveal). We have some guardrails in place, like an independent Ecosystem Council to ensure we are staying true to our principles and audience.

Our motto is Trust is the new data, so we understand how important it is to maintain and grow the trust we’ve built in the partner ecosystem, and we will continue to do so. We’re still working and partnering with all the players there.

This was a must for us, as PartnerHacker is our baby, and we love and cherish the vision, team, partners, and audience we’ve poured so much blood, sweat, toil and tears into. (And gotten so much more back from!)

This acquisition works because our missions are aligned and do not require either company to break their promises to the market, but build on them. PartnerHacker will continue to expand and evangelize the category, and Reveal will continue to provide a solution for one slice of the stack in that category.

Kicking it off right

When we announced this merger, we decided to use it as a lightning strike for the category, instead of just a PR moment for the companies.

Like it or not, people pay attention to money moves. Mergers, acquisitions, funding rounds - these get eyeballs. We decided to use that and channel it into attention for the message we’re bringing to GTM teams everywhere.

We announced the merger with a live event and simultaneously announced the launch of nearbound.com and the release of a highly tactical guide on running Nearbound Sales processes.

We brought in industry heavyweights to not just talk about the merger, but the industry as a whole and the task before us of educating the market on how to implement Nearbound.

This was a huge win, and signaled right out the gate that we’re about more than turning PartnerHacker’s audience into Reveal leads. It’s about market transformation.

Parting advice

This was a decision we spent a lot of time thinking about. This was not a fast or easy move (there were months of talks). There are very few companies we believe would be worth merging with. It took a lot of time and trust with the Reveal team for us to be assured this was the right move.

If you’re a media company or community considering a deal like this, don’t take it lightly. What you’ve built is valuable, but only if you continue to treat it like an independent entity that can’t burn trust at any cost.

SaaS companies are likely to come calling as they realize the new buyer’s journey is more about trust and influence than funnels and demos.

My biggest advice is to partner with them first. Work together, drive value together. If you can do it in a way that is a win for your audience and their customers without compromising either, and you love working together, you can explore something more.

Isaac Morehouse | About the Author

CMO at Reveal

Isaac Morehouse is the Co-founder and CMO of PartnerHacker and the CMO of Reveal.


Why We Sold Our Media Company to a SaaS Business (PartnerHacker)

PartnerHacker announced last week that they merged with Reveal. Isaac Morehouse, Co-Founder of PartnerHacker, wrote this piece telling the story of how he and his co-founder, Jared, built and sold their media company in just nine months.

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