My first exit as a solopreneur

A journey from Silicon Valley to a micro acquisition.

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Hi, I'm Marco 👋

I'm Chief Product and Technology Officer at a growth-stage company in Italy where I lead both product and engineering teams through big wins, tough failures, and all the dynamic moments in between.

On the other side I'm a solopreneur, or better say, an indie hacker: I design, build and grow personal projects.

I started this journal to capture everything I've learned, and continue to learn, about designing, building, delivering, and growing digital products.

If you want to follow me through this journey:

About a decade ago, I fell head over heels for the startup world, so much so that I headed off to work in Silicon Valley. It was an incredible experience.

I lived in Sunnyvale, just ten minutes from the famed garage where Apple was born, and worked at a startup incubated in Plug and Play, one of the most significant accelerators in the U.S. that helps companies grow and raise investments.

There, I had the chance to meet people - better say startuppers - from all over the globe and share ideas, thoughts, and stories that helped me grow. It was here that I learned what it means to launch a startup and where I started dreaming of having one of my own.

So, back in Italy, I opened a co-working space in my hometown, Pordenone, to recreate that atmosphere I breathed in the States, and began working on an idea.

The idea

At the time, a few friends were prepping for the med school entrance exam. For them, this test was a hurdle to overcome to become the people they dreamed of being, so I started helping them.

In each practice session, I tried to pinpoint the topics where they showed the most gaps so they could focus their study on the subjects they knew least.

At some point, the question arose: why not give this opportunity to all students preparing for the university admission test?

That's how I began developing the first application, the so-called MVP (Minimum Viable Product), a product with just enough features to be usable by the first customers, who could then provide feedback for future product development... it was literally a success!

Hundreds of students kept signing up for the application just through word of mouth and used it to practice for the admission test.

First landing page of Squezy (former
First landing page of Squezy (former

The Company

Two years passed, and the accelerator where I worked as a Product Engineer and Startup Advisor offered to help me establish a company to further grow the project. Thus, Squezy SRL, my first company, was born.

From that moment on, what started as a side project became something more serious. I was still working on that aside my 9-to-5 job so, this can be summed up in hours upon hours spent on design, code, data, books, accounting, grants... Hours spent by me but also by all the people who shared part of this experience with me, and the results soon followed.

Meanwhile, users continued to grow. At one point, one in four medical students were preparing with

...then Apple began featuring the app in the "School Essentials 🎓" category in the App Store for three consecutive years... su App Store

...then it reached the first place in the Education category and the 44th place among the most downloaded apps in Italy. su App Store

We had created a unique product, far superior to all the applications on the market, and that met the needs of a niche of students.

The Exit

Time passed, we were continuously working on the application and improving it until March 9, 2020, the first lockdown.

To adapt to this change, companies had to start a transformation process, and many industry players began showing interest in our company. They were asking for partnerships, advertising, sharing, acquisitions...

Among them, Testbusters was the one that struck me the most: young, active, fast, and above all, passionate about their product. They wanted to acquire my company.

This is the moment when I stepped out of my comfort zone and had to confront a world I knew little about. I had never sold a company: how do you do it? What does it entail?

It wasn't easy, but fortunately, I had the support of an excellent accountant and the CFO of Testbusters, who were by my side the entire time, explaining every step in detail.

So, after a few months of negotiation, we reached an agreement, and today is part of the Testbusters family.