At Windward my (our actually) focus has always been to: create a really interesting, useful, & unique products, be a great place to work, & provide a great solution to our customers. And through the years I think we’ve by and large done well by those goals.
But key to all of these goals is to insure that we will not just survive, but grow and improve as a company. I’ve received countless offers to acquire Windward. A few of them I’ve discussed in detail. But before now, none were one that I felt would not only continue forward with Windward, but would improve on it.
I’ve had 17 years to show what I could do with Windward. We’ve been successful, but not a blow out success that I think is possible with our products and our team. And PDFTron, after much investigation, strikes me as a company that can take Windward to the next level. And do so staying true to our priorities of product, employees, & customers.
In addition, selling the company provides a life changing payoff to the Windward employees (and those ex employees that exercised their options when they left). For recent graduates, it means paying off their school loans. For employees who have been with us a longer time, it means things like paying off their mortgage in full. This is life changing for people and well deserved by all of them.
One other piece I am very proud of, we did all this never taking an investment. Not only no venture capital, but I did not have to invest anything either (aside from writing the initial program for free). We have always been profitable and built us up to a very good position solely from cash flow. It’s incredibly rare but a company can be created and grown to significant success without funding. And because of that, the payout from the sale goes 100% to employees, ex-employees, and the advisory board members, undiluted by investors.
So one hell of a ride and it ended quite nicely. And while I never need to work again, those of you that know me know that I will continue working. Right now helping make the acquisition a success as an employee of PDFTron. But after that, something different. Something very different.