When Good Technology announced Friday that it had sold itself to its long-standing rival BlackBerry for $425 million in cash, it was a moment of triumph for Good CEO Christy Wyatt.
Good has one of the longest, craziest histories we’ve ever heard of, filled with exits, near-exits, pivots, and reinvention.
Today, Good Technology is known for its enterprise mobile security products, which helps enterprises track and protect fleets of smartphones and tablets.
But it began life back in 2000 as a company called SpringThings, an email reader device that got crushed during BlackBerry’s heyday.
By 2002, it had changed its name and shifted focus to software, plugging along until Motorola bought it in 2006 for somewhere between $400 million and $540 million.
Then Motorola sold it off, and shortly after, Good found its calling managing devices, an area where its old rival BlackBerry also competed.
Once a hot market, Good raised about $146 million in venture funding while its competitors were being snatched up by SAP, IBM, and even VMware, which bought AirWatch for $1.54 billion.
Throughout all those years, Good started and stopped various attempts to IPO.
In 2013, Good hired former Motorola executive Christy Wyatt to replace outgoing CEO King Lee. She promptly shook up the management staff and raised $65 million in private equity investment.
In May 2014, Good filed paperwork hoping for a $100 million IPO. It never happened.
Instead, Wyatt raised another $80 million in private funding and debated what an exit would look like.
When talks with the CEO of BlackBerry began, the two CEOs opted to keep an open mind. They didn’t know if their staffs would do the same, so they arranged a meeting at a “secret location” in Palo Alto attended by key product managers and engineers, Wyatt told us.
During the meeting, everyone jelled, she said — it was like each company was looking at “its twin across the room.”
So Good sold itself to its biggest competitor for a respectable sum and Wyatt doesn’t know if she’ll be joining the team at BlackBerry or not.
Whether this is really Good’s happy ending or just another chapter in its long, wild ride, we’ll have to wait and see.
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