Sold on Flippa in 30 days for six figures: How one entrepreneur turned passion into profit

Dr Kerstin Oberprieler has decades of design thinking and management consulting experience. She fell in love with gamification, enjoying the ability to bring fun into people’s lives. 

Helping teams through the use of gamification, she became intensely curious about its potential. 

She took this emerging field to the next level, co-founding and building PentaQuest— a SaaS business that helps teams and organisations thrive using cutting-edge behavioural science and gamification.

After four years, Kerstin decided to sell PentaQuest and use Flippa’s marketplace to connect with potential buyers from around the world.

The business sold within 30 days. 

Kerstin shares her founding story and how she navigated the process of selling a business close to her heart.

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Where It All Began

Kerstin has always been interested in people, business, and how they work together.

She began experimenting with gamification as a business consultant and quickly saw the potential for combining high performance and psychology to boost performance.

“It was a lightbulb moment,” Kerstin said. “I thought this is it, this is how you connect the two.”

She decided to undertake a PhD in Gamification to further her research.

Flippa success story pentaquest
Source: Twitter

“I designed an experience for my colleagues to encourage a range of team behaviours. From daily irritants like tidying a mess and submitting a form, to strategically critical behaviours like sharing knowledge and building culture of appreciation.” 

For example, one game mechanic to help colleagues reframe daily behaviour like cleaning up a mess was called “Mess Monster”.

“You would place them on a mess to signal that this area of the office needs cleaning and to empower someone to clean it— even if it wasn’t their own” Kerstin explained.

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Kerstin talks about the concept of Mess Monsters in her TedTalk 

She put together a physical leaderboard as a way of tracking progress and motivation. 

Kerstin’s approach to gamification and her systems were so popular that her consultant clients began asking if she could create similar systems for their teams.

It was time to take her proof of concept and turn it into a minimum viable product (MVP). 

From MVP to a Fully-fledged SaaS Business model

Kerstin partnered with the Australian National University to develop a MVP for a gamification platform through their Tech Launcher program, which pairs undergraduate students with real-life projects. 

The MVP was built in 2016 and was tested in multiple offices, including Kerstin’s own workplace.

Kerstin got talking with a client, who expressed interest in building their own HR gamification platform. Kerstin was able to use the MVP she had already developed as the foundation. 

PentaQuest was born.

The name PentaQuest came from the idea of a quest or game with the goal of striving towards a high-performing team with five key attributes. It was also a nice nod to the positive gesture of high fives.

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Representing PentaQuest at the Canberra Innovation Network Source: Twitter

Growing & Selling PentaQuest 

PentaQuest grew through word-of-mouth and through speaking at events. One event in the US led to Amazon becoming a client. The company also had a strong presence in multiple teams of the Australian government in Canberra.

“At first I thought ‘can I survive doing this?’ and then you let your mind wander and think ‘maybe this could be Australia’s next million dollar unicorn!’ Kerstin beamed.

While Kerstin saw herself building the business and working in it for 10 years, the exit plan was always a sale or acquisition. 

After four years of building PentaQuest and with her first baby on the way, Kerstin decided it was the right time to sell PentaQuest.

Kerstin googled marketplaces for selling businesses and came across Flippa.

“If you don’t have buyers in your network, where do you find them? Flippa made it easy to connect to potential buyers all over the world,” Kerstin said. 

She listed the company on the platform in early January and received a valuation from Flippa’s calculator. While it was in the same ballpark of Kerstin’s initial gut feel, they had to take into consideration the huge amount of IP baked into the business.

At the time of listing, the business was turning over six figures in annual profit with a 72% profit margin.

The Process of Selling on Flippa

The selling process was both validating and vulnerable for Kerstin.

“We listed it early January. There weren’t too many bites (messages/interest) in the first week. However, when we were featured in Flippa’s monthly newsletter, I woke up the next morning and there were 30 messages in my inbox!”

🔥Hot tip for other sellers: Kerstin generated a word document with common responses to make the process faster.

After receiving several offers from Australia, Kenya, US and UK, Kerstin narrowed down the list of potential buyers to a shortlist of eight. Evaluating them based on criteria such as location, cultural fit, their proposed use of the platform, and terms and conditions. 

They accepted an offer from an Australian-based company who was the best cultural fit.

“In some ways, PentaQuest was my first baby,” Kerstin explained. ”I didn’t want it in the hands of someone who didn’t get the values of it.”

From the time of listing, PentaQuest sold in under a month. 

Looking back on her experience Kerstin said, “I had no idea what to expect with selling a business, but Flippa has scaffolded that process nicely. I felt supported every step of the way.” 

Kerstin was still in touch with the new owner after the sale and even worked with them on a short contract to assist with the transition. The client transfer process went smoothly, with the buyer regularly meeting with clients to ensure they were happy.

As for building another business to sell, Kerstin says nothing is off the table “never say never!”

Inspired by this story? Read up on others who have successfully bought and sold their businesses here.

If you’re ready to sell, check out our First Time Seller’s Guide.

Like this buyer and seller, you too can master proper buyer and seller communications etiquette. We’ll show you how to that here.

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