April 21, 2011


Backwards I came to an interesting conclusion about Return Path recently.  We’re building our business backwards, at least according to what I have observed over time as the natural course of events for a startup.  Here are a few examples of what I mean by that. Most companies build organically for years…then start acquiring others.  We’ve done it backwards.  In the first 9 years of our company’s life, we acquired 8 other businesses (SmartBounce, Veripost, Re-Route, NetCreations, Assurance Systems, GasPedal Consulting, Bonded Sender, Habeas).  Since then, we’ve acquired none.  There are a bunch of reasons why we front loaded M&A:  we were working hard to morph our business model to achieve maximum success during the first internet downturn, we knew how to do it, there was a lot of availability on the sell side at good prices.  And the main reason we’re not doing a lot of it now is that there’s not much else to consolidate in our space, though we’re always on the lookout for interesting adjacencies. Most companies tighten up their HR policies over time as they get larger.  We’ve gotten looser.  For example, about a year and a half ago, we abolished our vacation policy and […]

December 6, 2008

Next One is the Big One, a.k.a. Nine is Fine

Next One is the Big One, a.k.a. Nine is Fine Today, Return Path turns nine years old.  What an exciting year we’ve had, too.  As I mentioned a couple months back, we completely reorganized the company this year, marking a major transition and a new stage in the life of the business.  We acquired our largest competitor, Habeas, consolidating our space and further establishing ourselves as the leader in email deliverability and whitelisting.  We marched right past our 1,000th client milestone and now are well on our way to our 1,500th. Thanks again to our fantastic team and our great […]

October 30, 2008

Charting A New Path: Focus is Our Friend

Charting A New Path:  Focus is Our Friend When Return Path turned six years old a few years ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog (OnlyOnce) titled You Can’t Tell What the Living Room Looks Like from the Front Porch. The essence of the post is that flexibility is a key success factor in starting and growing a business, and sometimes the business turns out different than what you thought when you wrote that business plan. At the time, I was commenting on how different Return Path turned out – operating five businesses – than we did when […]

August 12, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks When our friends at Habeas announced that they were exploring a sale of the company a few months back, we were intrigued.  While fiercely competing in the marketplace does create some degree of tension or even mistrust between two companies, that activity also creates a lot of common ground for discussion about the market and the future. So we are very excited today to announce that we are acquiring Habeas in a deal that is signed and should close within a couple weeks.  Cutting through all the PR platitudes, here’s what this deal really means for our stakeholders: […]