TubeBuddy and BEN: Tools for YouTube Creators

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December 1, 2020
TubeBuddy & BEN

TubeBuddy is now part of the BEN family which is 250 strong and still growing. They have all been amazing to work with and endlessly entertaining during all-hands company meetings. Each interaction reiterates how well the two companies’ cultures align and it has been fun being part of a larger family while still maintaining the tight-knit TubeBuddy crew day to day.  

In this letter, I will share with you a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what the TubeBuddy acquisition by BEN actually entailed. The TubeBuddy you know and love isn’t going anywhere. I just wanted to take this quick opportunity to repeat it one more time 🙂

Back to the story….

It all started with a phone call to Ricky Ray Butler, CEO of Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) back in February. It was a call just like any other I’d had with many companies – until Ricky Ray talked about how Bill Gates owns BEN and they were looking into expanding their business and considering acquisitions of like-minded companies. 

BEN, TubeBuddy, and the YouTube Community

BEN was far from the first company to ask us about investments or acquisitions and as a self-funded company who avoided venture capitalists like the plague, we had never seriously considered an acquisition before. That was until we realized what a great team BEN had and saw how closely our values aligned as far as empowering the creator community.

The following 8 months were some of the most stressful months of my life. Were we making the right choice? How will employees react? How can we ensure that everything continues running smoothly? Everyone *seems* amazing at BEN but how can we be sure that’s actually how they will be post-acquisition? Will this process ever end?? 

The due diligence process of acquisition was as big of a nightmare as people warned me about. When I saw the amount of information we had to put together and provide, I think my jaw literally dropped. It took months of work to complete and reminded me of the Ironman triathlon that I completed 10 years ago. In that race, I started at 7:30 AM and finished 15 hours 21 minutes later. In that same way I ran that race, it was one foot in front of the other, and eventually, all of a sudden you look back and realize how far you’ve come.

This mentality can be applied to so many aspects of life – including building your YouTube channel. 

Through the discussions, I always tried to put myself in my own shoes post-acquisition and think about how I’d feel. Any concerns I had as far as what would happen to employees, I wanted to be addressed and resolved so that I knew I’d have a clear conscience.

Acquisition was the Right Choice for TubeBuddy

If I knew that if any employees (or contractors/partners/affiliates) would be treated poorly or even any less awesome than we treated them, I’d be miserable for the rest of my life. I also knew that although I’d be happy and excited for the future once the deal was completed – it wouldn’t be a moment I’d necessarily be celebrating. I knew it would be bittersweet at the time but better for everyone in the long run. 

Those realistic expectations have helped me through the last couple of weeks. Having to tell employees about the decision was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in the business world. I was a nervous wreck all week, having trouble eating and sleeping.  But as hard as it was for me to tell them, I can’t imagine the shock on their end. 

Luckily I knew we had done everything humanly possible to ensure a smooth transition. All employees kept their jobs and received a bonus from us to help financially. The TubeBuddy team remains an independent and tight-knit crew.

So there you have it. Only time will tell how things pan out but one thing I’m sure of is how incredibly grateful I am to all our employees along with our affiliates, partners, and customers, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for TubeBuddy.

Phil Starkovich
TubeBuddy Co-Founder & Strategic Advisor