Man Who Sold His Company to Microsoft for N83 Billion Says He Regrets Doing So

Man Who Sold His Company to Microsoft for N83 Billion Says He Regrets Doing So

  • An entrepreneur who sold his app to Microsoft said he felt he lost his child immediately after because he was not prepared to
  • Christian Reber, a German-based entrepreneur said went into depression after the sale and could not celebrate
  • He said he is building a successor kind of app he calls Superlist and raised about N1.2 billion

When Microsoft bought Christian Reber’s app, a to-do list platform he called Wunderlist for the sum of N83 billion in 2015, he was not prepared for what he will feel afterwards.

It was a watershed moment for Reber as a great amount of money in his life but it left him feeling worse.

Man sells Company to Microsoft and Regrets
Man sells Company to Microsoft and Regrets Credit: SOPA Images / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Reber said selling his invention, Wunderlist was a strange experience for him, he told CNBC.

The feeling of loss

According to him, he felt like he had lost a child in a way a father loses his child. He got depressed in the process and was really unhappy.

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According to him, Wunderlist was a simple app that has gathered about 16 million users in its entire life. One of the biggest selling points then was that users could have access to the app on their phones and computers.

Wunderlist was a big part of his life and giving it away was not easy.

He said he felt disconnected from his family, his team and the company that he created.

He now believes he was not psychologically prepared to offload Wunderlist, which he had been trying to build as big as possible for five years.

When Microsoft came to buy the app, his partner, Charlotte Prevot was expecting a child. She co-founded Wunderlist with Reber and four others.

Reber said he had to make a choice as a founder to either raise a growth round and try to turn Wunderlist into a profitable venture, or he sells this for a lucrative amount of money and his family gets independence.

The founders, Reber and Prevot eventually made up their minds to step down from the startup, which had seen their business go down on several occasions.

He said was completely burnt out and was tired and felt like it was the best decision for all involved to sell the company.

Reber stressed that when he sold Wunderlist, he neither celebrated nor partied. He muted his emails and felt like he was sad. It took a year or two to come to terms with his actions, he said.

Plea to Microsoft to buyback Wunderlist

A few years after he sold his app, he still finds it hard to handle.

Three years ago, Microsoft announced plans to shut down Wunderlist and replace it with Microsoft To-Do.

In September of 2019, Reber bided to buy the app back from Microsoft,

He tweeted that he is still sad that Microsoft wants to shut down Wunderlist even though people still love and use it.

He pleaded to Microsoft to buy it back, directing his request to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella and Marcus Ash, vice president of product and engineering at the company.

His bid failed and Microsoft went ahead to sell Wunderlist in 2020. What a nightmare it was for Reber.

He was not ready to quit, however.

In 2021, he founded another to-do list called Superlist that he describes as the successor to Wunderlist

Superlist is Wunderlist’s ‘unofficial successor’

One of the main reasons Reber felt frustrated when Microsoft shut down Wunderlist was because he felt that the app never became the product he wanted to build.

According to Reber, Superlist is meant to be a bridge between personal to-do apps and enterprise partnership software. It is meant to help users scale a project from one user to 100 or 200 people.

Superlist now employs 200 people and has raised about N1.2 billion with another funding coming soon.

How 32-Year-old built a business from scratch, sells it to target for N226.5 billion has reported that a company, Shipit, built by a school dropout has been acquired by Target, America’s big-box department store for a whooping N228,500 billion.

Shipit, which specialises in same-day delivery was founded by Bill Smith, a secondary school dropout and a serial entrepreneur with perseverance.

According to CNBC, Smith said his father was an entrepreneur and so he grew up seeing him doing different businesses from the time he was 5 years old. Smith says he wanted to understand business and its workings. He said his father was into the cell phone business.


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