Thank you buySAFE!

Buysafelogo
Today, I am starting a new chapter in my entrepreneurial story. It is with both a bit of sadness and a lot of excitement that I share with you the news that I have left buySAFE to pursue other start-up and entrepreneurial interests. In addition, I have joined buySAFE’s Board of Advisors so that I can continue to assist the company in whatever fashion is necessary.  Click here to see buySAFE's announcement on the buySAFE blog.

After almost nine years of building buySAFE, I am leaving the Company in very capable hands, with fresh funding, and the brightest future that the Company has ever had. It has been a deeply satisfying experience to create something valuable, and I want to sincerely thank our customers, our partners, my colleagues and the many investors who made buySAFE possible. I am obviously looking forward to my next adventure, but I am also very much looking forward to buySAFE’s continued success over the coming months and years.

I founded buySAFE after getting burned in an online transaction on eBay. As a student, I didn’t have any extra money to lose to ecommerce fraudsters, and so I decided that there had to be a better way to buy and sell products online. buySAFE was born!

This adventure started for me while I was earning my MBA at Wharton in 2000, and as with all start-ups, there have been huge successes and great challenges. For me, both have proven to be invaluable learning experiences.

Developing buySAFE’s early business/technology plan, acquiring our major financial institution and strategic partners (including two major strategic partners to be announced in the coming months), and raising our $30 million in venture capital financing were all challenges that I ultimately found to be great learning experiences. Over time, I was able to lead almost every aspect of buySAFE’s business operations, and all of these experiences were amazing for me personally and professionally. I plan to share with you many of the lessons I learned at buySAFE over the coming months.

Perhaps the thing I am most proud of at buySAFE is our team. Early on, I recruited Jeff Grass, Tim Woda, and Hans Dreyer to buySAFE. Today, Jeff is buySAFE’s CEO, Tim is the VP – Sales, and Hans is the VP – Operations. They are the core of our team even to this day. The rest of our team is amazing as well, and it has been a pleasure working with each and every one of them.

I never intended to spend almost a decade working on my Wharton class project, but along the way, buySAFE provided me with an amazing opportunity to make great friends, to learn important new skills, and to see that anything is possible with persistence and creativity. It also taught me that you can’t build a company by yourself.

Although I could never hope to name all of the folks that deserve my thanks, I wish I could. A few folks in particular – my wife, my brother, and buySAFE’s employees, customers, investors, and advisors – have all obviously been invaluable to both me and buySAFE. To all of you, thank you! I sincerely appreciate your investments in time, capital, expertise, and support. There would be no buySAFE without you.

As far as the next chapter in my entrepreneurial story, I am not ready to share the details quite yet, but please stay tuned. I will share my adventures with you here on my blog, so if you are interested, please make sure to subscribe using the form below.

Thank you buySAFE!

Related posts:

"Steve Woda, Founder and Chairman of buySAFE, Pursues New Entrepreneurial Ventures" on the buySAFE blog

"Founder of buySAFE, Steve Woda, Steps Down" on AuctionBytes.com

Shopping Advisor approved by Mozilla for Firefox

Sa_firefox_addon
After two months of testing in Mozilla's developmental sandbox,
Mozilla approved the buySAFE Shopping Advisor for public distribution
via the Firefox Add-on site starting this week.

If you aren't already using Shopping Advisor with your Firefox
browser, you should install it as an add-on today.  You can check it
out on the official Mozilla Firefox Add-on site here… https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9009

I am obviously excited about this big milestone, and as always, I hope you will continue to provide us with your feedback, insights and ideas on
Shopping Advisor over the coming weeks and months.

Have fun, and happy new year!

Steve

Dancing with First Round Capital

Firstroundcapital
First Round Capital's 2008 Holiday Card (video) proves once again why every early-stage entrepreneur wants to find a way to meet with this terrific investor group.  Check it out! 

These guys are creative; they have been in the trenches themselves (multiple times!); they have been successful (multiple times!); and most of all, they like working with entrepreneurs because they are entrepreneurs.

I have had the pleasure of working with and knowing lots of technology investors, and along the way, I have learned a thing or two about who you want to try and work with (and what you want to avoid).  These guys are good.  Period.  In addition, their holiday video is brilliant,
low-cost, and fun, and it highlights their strengths in an intangible,
yet powerful manner.

Let me share one quick story that illustrates why I like these guys so much.  Although they won't likely remember it, both Howard Morgan and Josh Kopelman provided me with a helping hand while I was trying to get buySAFE launched back in 2001.  I was introduced to Howard via a mutual friend, John Tedesco, and Howard offered to meet with me in NYC and provide me with feedback on my business plan.  At the time, the venture was called BondMyAuction.  I was not ready for primetime, and yet, Howard spent two hours listening to me and coaching me on how I could improve my plan.  Howard also introduced me to Josh Kopelman.  At the time, Josh was an executive at eBay because he had recently sold his business, Half.com, to the ecommerce giant.  For no reason other than to be helpful to me, Josh also spent almost two hours on the phone giving me feedback and advice on how to proceed. 

I will be forever grateful for their assistance since I was no more than an aspiring entrepreneur with a paper napkin business plan.  Their help was both gracious and inspiring.  In many ways, they (along with a few others like them) gave me the extra motivation and confidence that I needed to stick it out through the inevitable challenges of getting a business launched.  Since then, I have tried to return the favor with other aspiring entrepreneurs because of their good example (although I am quite sure that I could never be as helpful as they were for me).

Again, check out First Round Capital's holiday video, and I think you will agree with me.  These guys are authentic, and entrepreneurs clearly have good reason to want to work with them.

Nice job Howard and Josh!  For everyone else, enjoy!  http://holiday.firstround.com/

Daily Roundup for 2008-04-21

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-04-21”

Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16

  • It’s a question marketers are still grappling with years after the first waves of corporate blogging flooded the web. But for better or worse, it seems corporate blogging — and the title of chief blogger — is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak all have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.
  • These days, online consumers and companies are collaborating on a range of activities, including R&D, marketing and after-sales support.  Here are a few examples of how brands and consumers are working together online.

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16”

Daily Roundup for 2008-04-04

  • Can fewer clicks on its search ads lead to more revenue for Google? That is the question investors, analysts, and the company itself are trying to answer. The debate was launched after a Mar. 26 report from researcher comScore (SCOR) showed a decline in the number of clicks from the prior month on Google’s search-related ads. According to the research firm, clicks on ads declined 3% in February from the prior month and were up just 3% compared to last year. Some analysts cautioned investors against buying additional Google (GOOG) shares; Google’s stock declined 3% on Mar. 27, to $444.
  • Mashups–online applications that combine data and tools from different websites–are becoming increasingly useful. Although they started out as simple consumer programs, such as a tool that placed housing listings from Craigslist onto Google Maps, mashups have grown in complexity and are becoming popular with corporations, too. As a growing number of tools are released to help people easily build mashups, experts are also taking a look at how to head off the security risks.

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-04-04”

Daily Roundup for 2008-03-19

  • A woman who claims the recording industry’s anti-music piracy campaign threatens and intimidates innocent people has filed a new complaint accusing record companies of racketeering, fraud and illegal spying.
  • One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you are considering trying, whether it is a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.  This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?  The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. But a startup called RatePoint Inc. begs to differ. It wants to play referee, giving consumers more clarity into a business’ reputation and protecting the business from unwarranted blights on its credibility.

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-03-19”