Own Your Own Micro-ISV: DotNetInvoice is For Sale

I write this post with mixed emotions. I acquired DotNetInvoice (an asp.net billing system) 15 months ago, fixed loads of bugs, added 50+ features, provided support, turned the customer base around (they were close to mutiny), and grew revenue by 6x. This program has become part of me as much as any code you work with for over a year. My intent was to turn it into a full-time Micro-ISV, but it appears that life has other plans.

I’ve come to realize over the past year that the time I’ve spent developing and supporting DotNetInvoice (DNI) has virtually replaced the time I used to spend working on my blog. Long-time readers will notice that my posting frequency dropped pretty substantially at the start of 2007 (due to my acquisition of DNI).

Debating this internally for the past several months has forced me to evaluate my goals and plans for the future. Through this I’ve decided to invest more time into growing this blog, and into an opportunity that I’ve been chasing for years (more to come later)…all of this means I have to make sacrifices to create room in my life.

So I’m selling DotNetInvoice.

Own Your Own Micro-ISV
Those who know me personally know I am not a fan of marketing language (nor am I good at writing it). So believe me when I say:

If you’re a .NET developer and dream of owning a Micro-ISV, this is a rare opportunity.

DotNetInvoice is a mature product with a substantial customer base, recurring revenue through support contracts, a high price point ($295), existing sales channels and partnerships, a highly tuned Google Adwords campaign, an existing sales site with 1000+ monthly visitors, #1 ranking in Google for many key terms, a monopoly in its niche, and everything in place to continue sales growth.

DotNetInvoice is a web-based application written in ASP.NET (VB.NET) 2.0/3.5 and SQL 2000/2005, and heavily utilizing MS AJAX. Customers download and install DotNetInvoice on their web server or shared hosting account to perform invoicing and billing. The best way to get a feeling for the functionality of the product is to try the online demos, and take a peek at the feature list.

This sale is not going to function like a Sitepoint auction where we exchange product for money and the deal is done. I will provide you with access to the DotNetInvoice Subversion repository so you can pull down the source, including bug fixes and features added since the last release, and I will provide you with 2 months of access to my FogBugz on Demand account so you can see all of the bug fixes and feature requests implemented to date, and feature requests in the queue for future releases (most of them requested by customers), and have plenty of time to transfer them to your own tracking system.

I have invested a lot in this product, and it’s in my best interest (as a public figure in the developer community) to ensure DotNetInvoice continues to thrive.

If You Are Interested
Based on revenue, the sale price will be 5-figures ($25k-65k). If you are a serious buyer and are interested in discussing it further, please email me at rob -at- softwarebyrob dot com and I will provide you with the NDA. Once you’ve signed it I will answer all of your questions and send over every bit of detail you can imagine about the product.

[Update]: The deal has closed. I’ll be posting about it soon.

[tags]asp.net, microisv, micro isv, dotnetinvoice[/tags]

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13 comments ↓

#1 Dan on 04.29.08 at 10:03 pm

Good luck & best wishes w/ the transfer of the product & company.

Looking forward to more frequent blog entries as well.

#2 Eric on 04.30.08 at 9:09 am

I’m suddenly wishing I was a .NET developer and had significant extra cash on hand. Best of luck with the sale/transfer. Selfishly, I’m looking forward to the blog being more active again.

#3 Jonathan on 04.30.08 at 2:17 pm

The problem is, if someone like _you_ couldnt get this thing off the ground, chances are no one else can 🙂

#4 Rob on 04.30.08 at 2:51 pm

I have to disagree with you, Jonathan – DotNetInvoice is well off the ground. The problem is, maintaining an invoicing product, even a lucrative one like DNI, no longer fits into my life goals.

I’ve learned what I can from the experience of owning DotNetInvoice, and I’m ready to place it in a good home where someone has the motivation to take it to the next level.

#5 James on 04.30.08 at 9:24 pm

Can you be more specific about what you expect for such a product.

Five figures is a bit generic. (10,000-99-999)

Thanks
James

#6 Rob on 05.01.08 at 9:23 am

@James – My asking price is based on annual revenue, and it’s a range so the market can determine where it should be. But to narrow it down a bit, think $25k-$65k.

#7 C.E. on 05.01.08 at 12:48 pm

Rob,

I admire you for this. So many people grasp at whatever comes their way and they don’t let go. After all, how can we let a great opportunity slide? But you have taken the time to prioritize personal goals and streamline activities so you can be more effective.

It is something I am currently working on and I find it admirable that you are taking the time to do that instead of being drawn by the lure of so-called success.

#8 Grant Palin on 05.01.08 at 2:03 pm

I read up on your acquisition of the software – it was a very interesting read. I am in no position currently to be running a startup, but it could be something interesting in the future if I have the skills and a product.

#9 Chris Weber on 06.03.08 at 4:22 pm

So did you sell DNI or is it still for sale?

I don’t see an update (unless I missed it).
Thanks

#10 Rob on 06.03.08 at 5:08 pm

@Chris – The deal has closed. I’ll be posting about it soon.

#11 Chris on 06.03.08 at 5:24 pm

Good for you.

I’d really like to read about how you go about transferring the IP (code, etc) to the other party. I’m assuming you sold it to someone you didn’t know.

What I’m curious about is how you handle the payment and exchange process. Is there an escrow of some sort involved?

I’m looking to buy an existing software product, so I’m very interested in the topic (as you can tell).
Thanks!

#12 Lessons Learned “Selling” My Micro-ISV | Software by Rob on 06.27.08 at 10:12 am

[…] 16 months ago and after putting in hundreds of hours cleaning up the code and growing revenue, I offered it for sale to free up time for this blog and pursue another potential opportunity (that has since gone by the […]

#13 47 Hats - A Tale of Selling a MicroISV on 07.23.08 at 3:13 pm

[…] two months ago I put my Micro-ISV, a web-based invoicing system, up for sale. The sale played out exactly as I expected except for one detail: I didn’t sell it. Instead, […]