The Ability to Pivot: A Home Run Exit Story

The Ability to Pivot: A Home Run Exit Story

00:00 / 01:21:01

The co-founder of HAAWK, Inc. Ryan Born joins me for today’s episode. Before HAAWK, Ryan was the founder and CEO of AudioMicro, Inc. AudioMicro was a media rights management company. Its most successful venture was AdRev. Ryan explains what that service was and why he felt it worked.

We take the journey with Ryan through AudioMicro’s beginnings, the pivots, the changes in the media rights industry, and what life was like after AudioMicro changed owners. This episode is a great example of the struggle and the hustle many entrepreneurs face on a daily basis.

What you will learn about:

  • Ryan’s early career as a CPA.
  • His time with WireImage and what it taught him.
  • The only two things that generate wealth.
  • The changes in the media rights industry.
  • The problems Ryan saw with the system.
  • How AudioMicro and microstock changed the system.
  • How Ryan raised the capital for AudioMicro.
  • The mistakes he made early on in the business.
  • Ryan’s advice for building an effective pitch.
  • Why EBITA is important and not important at the same time.
  • Other factors that buyers look at during a sale.
  • Why you need to break even as soon as possible.
  • The struggles AudioMicro had in the beginning.
  • The list of avenues AudioMicro tried that didn’t work.
  • Why you need to choose your investors wisely.
  • How AdRev worked.
  • Why Ryan didn’t hire an investment banker for his sale of AudioMicro.
  • The indicators that it was time to sell.
  • The dance Ryan and his investors did to get offers.
  • How getting the best offer is like playing poker.
  • The benefit of having a knowledgeable team around you.
  • What happened after AudioMicro sold.
  • The beginnings of HAAWK.
  • The thing Ryan is doing differently with HAAWK.
  • Ryan’s parting words for the audience.


Ryan had a great point in today’s interview. If you want to own a business, try. All you can do is try and see what happens. Know what you want in your business and take steps to achieve it.

Links and Resources:

Ryan Born’s Website
Ryan on Twitter

About Ryan:

Ryan Born started his career in the Atlanta office of Price Waterhouse Coopers’ (PwC) Assurance and Business Advisory Services Practice where he gained experience in an array of industries. He later transferred to New York City to broaden his experience in the firm’s Tax and Legal Services division. After PwC, he served as VP of Finance and Financial Controller at during which time the Company was acquired by Getty Images for $208 million. After WireImage, Ryan angel invested in Internet Marketing Inc. (a 2012 Inc 500 company) and, the largest one-stop resource for finding and comparing new condo developments, where he also served as CFO. Most recently, he relocated to Los Angeles and founded AdRev / AudioMicro, Inc, which ranked as the #5 fastest growing media company in the USA as part of the 2015 Inc 500, the #1 fastest growing company in the San Fernando Valley (by the SF Valley Business Journal in 2014), the #6 fastest growing company in LA (by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2014), and the #40 fastest growing company in North America (by the 2015 Deloitte Technology Fast 500).

In 2014, Zealot Networks acquired a majority the company for $20 Million and later increased its ownership position in mid-2015.  AudioMicro, Inc. operates 4 brands – AdRev (a YouTube asset administration service & multi-channel network), DashGo (a music distribution platform that distributes music to retailer such as iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music Key, Sound Exchange, Shazam and many more), AudioMicro (a micro stock music & sound effects licensing platform) and ImageCollect (a subscription-based celebrity photo library). The Company is backed by DFJ Frontier, part of the largest VC network in the world with over $7B under management, and Fotolia LLC, a leading stock photo marketplace with over 30 million images that Adobe acquired in December ’14 for $800 million.

Ryan graduated Beta Gamma Sigma with an undergraduate degree in Accounting/Marketing & Art history and a Studio Art minor from Emory University.  He possesses a Masters of Accounting Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds an active CPA license with the State Board of Accountancy of his home state, Tennessee.