An investor-free company has flexibility to adapt, grow and succeed

I’m often asked about who’s investing in Geebo and my response sometimes catches folks off-guard.

Geebo isn’t a company that was built out of big outside investment dollars. It started modestly as a grassroots effort and has built itself, some 10 years later, into a solid business. More importantly, it’s a company that answers to its users, not its investors. And I think that makes it even stronger. 

Certainly, I’m not looking down on companies that take investors’ money to grow their businesses – quick cash can be a way to fuel some quick growth and hopefully some traction in a competitive marketplace. But, I’ve also always subscribed to the theory that an investment of your own sweat and money will make you work harder and offer more rewarding returns. Plus, there’s no guarantee that those investment dollars – and the investors breathing down your neck for results – will actually do anything to advance your mission. Some hard work and determination – and your own money – will make you work. 

Over the last several years, many of my competitors have collectively raised more than $100 million to challenge Geebo, Craigslist and others in this space. But that hasn’t necessarily given any of them an edge. One of those sites, Edgeio, for example, has since failed, despite an injection of $6.5 million in capital. 

Meanwhile, Geebo remains on solid ground, growing the way we intended when the site was launched more than 10 years ago and taking some risks that might impact the bottom line in the short-term but will create greater value for the long-term. 

Deciding, for example, to remove personals ads from Geebo at a time when that part of the business was becoming quite lucrative for other sites, was a bold move for us. It was a moral move that allowed us to go home at night with a clear conscience about our impact on the safety of the users. Others, whose users have been the victims of violent crimes, cannot say the same. 

One of the reasons Geebo can take such risks is because it has never been influenced by outside investors whose interests are in making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. From the beginning, Geebo employed a “percolation” strategy for growth and set our sights on building value for our users. 

That’s not just some marketing message at Geebo – we don’t just “talk the talk,” we “walk the walk” when it comes to our commitment to customer satisfaction and social responsibility. We don’t make our business decisions lightly – whether adding a safety feature, venturing into a new partnership or killing a section like personals – and try our best to be transparent with our customers. 

We want them to hold us accountable. 

Related posts:

Why won’t Geebo’s competitors take steps to keep their users safe?

My challenge to Craigslist: Keep criminals off your site