Matt Coffin

Babson Professor William Bygrave, Case Director

Carl Hedberg, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2006.

Abstract

Matt Coffin is in the money, to say the least. His company, LowerMyBills, is worth in excess of $400 million. But should he sell? Is he crazy to be thinking that life is good as is; why risk changing all that with a harvest? Ever since he began starting businesses, Matt Coffin’s primary motivation was to create something big enough and exciting enough to draw in the best and the brightest. His two earlier ventures were profitable, but he tossed them aside the moment he saw they weren’t ‘amazing’ opportunities. At the peak of the Internet wave in 1999, the 30 year-old entrepreneur hit upon his first big opportunity: a Web business to help consumers lower their monthly household bills. He put together a first round of investment from friends and a professional investor group and launched LowerMyBills.com. It grows rapidly, but when the Internet bubble bursts, Matt nearly goes under because his bank demands repayment of its credit line in full. Fortunately, unlike most other dot-com entrepreneurs at that time, Matt has been frugal and has focused on profitability. The company puts together a second round of financing, grows rapidly, and turns profitable in 2002. In 2005, Matt is inundated with offers to take LowerMyBills.com public, to refinance the company with a partial buyout, or to have LowerMyBills acquired by a billion dollar parent. He loves the life and work environment he’s created, so what should he do?

Teaching Objective: To present an example of a driven entrepreneur who was motivated to build a profitable, 2 super high-energy enterprise—a winner in all respects that would attract the best and the brightest.

Keywords: Web Business, Online marketing, Opportunity recognition, Bootstrapping, Fund raising, Bank credit lines, The Internet wave; late 1990s, Sustainable vs Unsustainable business models, Harvest strategies

DVD

There is a 87-minute DVD available for this case. Please place orders through ecch.

Teaching Notes

An 11-page teaching note written by Bill Bygrave is available for this case.