How to sell a startup for a $1B, Automattic, WeWork craziness, Kobalt, Netflix, Blackstone, and ClimateTech

Editor’s Note

Apologies for not getting this roundup newsletter out on Saturday — I was on vacation this weekend. So this newsletter covers the back half of last week and the first half of this week, and some of the articles are summarized more aggressively to keep this email at least somewhat reasonable in length.

How founder and CTO Dries Buytaert sold Acquia for $1B

Earlier this week, Acquia (the company behind content management system Drupal) announced that it had been acquired by Vista Equity for $1 billion. It’s a big exit for co-founder Dries Buytaert, who built out the original version of Drupal almost twenty years ago as an open-source approach to CMSes.

Our enterprise reporter Ron Miller talked with Buytaert about why he sold, what it feels like to exit a startup after building it for so long, and what’s next for Acquia and Drupal.

“We were born out of open source. All of our customers use open source. We give back to open source. It’s part of our DNA. It’s what we do. And so making sure that any new investor understood that and was aligned with was critically important, and Vista is very excited about the open source community around Drupal and Mautic (two open source projects Acquia is the steward of), and has even agreed to invest more in them,” he said.

It was more than aligned values around open source though. He says that Acquia is competing with some big companies like Adobe and it needs more capital, especially for larger M&A projects, and Vista provides that financial backbone that they have been lacking. While they have been able to make a couple of smaller acquisitions, being part of Vista should open the door for far more substantial ones.

How Automattic wants to build the operating system of the web

Speaking of content management systems, Automattic, which owns and recently bought the remnants of Tumblr from TechCrunch parent company Verizon Media, has a major vision for the future of content (and of course, how it fits into that world).