How These Female Leaders Built a Multi-Million-Dollar Company That Actually Balances Success and Family. (It Is Possible!)
FounderMade's Meghan Asha and Lauren Everhart break down the company's acquisition by the Tarsus Group, and how they created a culture that puts a premium on work-life balance.
It’s the dream of nearly every entrepreneur: Six years after launching brand discovery platform FounderMade, CEO and founder Meghan Asha announced her baby is being acquired by global B2B media powerhouse Tarsus Group. The deal will position FounderMade, which hosts networking events for emerging wellness, beauty and health brands, as the anchor of the new Tarsus Health division. Asha and her team will continue to run the company.
“It’s extremely exciting and really interesting as a founder to be a part of this,” Asha told Entrepreneur. “This company started off as like a single flower, and over the past six years, we built a team, innovated, and that flower became a garden. And now with this partnership, it feels like the sky is the limit.”
On the day of the announcement, Entrepreneur spoke with Asha and FounderMade COO Lauren Everhart about how the company pivoted, adapted and thrived during the pandemic, and the advice they’d give to any entrepreneur just starting out on their journey.
Knowing when it is time to take the next step with your business
“When the pandemic hit, it rocked us to our core and made us step back and evaluate who we really were,” Everhart says. “We came up with this ‘trade show in a box’ concept that combined virtual events with discovery boxes that were sent to people’s homes, and not only did it help us weather the pandemic, but it was also extremely successful and profitable. Between 2020 and 2021, FounderMade grew our revenue 3X. It was an inflection point that made us realize that it was a really good time for us to explore a partnership with a larger business, and a larger international platform could really help us expedite the growth we were looking for.”
Asha adds, “It’s like a baker who starts off just loving baking cookies. At some point, to grow your business and get this product you love out to the masses, it's helpful to have different partnerships, whether it's with a seasoned executive who comes on your team or an acquirer who add massive value with decades of experience and success.”
Building a company that lasts
“You need to be able to recognize those moments when a partnership with someone who has done it before can get you to where you want to be,” Everhart says. “And at the same time, having a mission and staying true to it is vital to success. Really hone in on what your value is, and figure out how to continue to bring that to your customers.”
“The advice I give to entrepreneurs just starting out who don’t have a clear vision of what they want to do is to ‘follow the bread crumbs,’” Asha says. “I started this company as a series of dinners that were held in the basement gym area of my building. I had so much uncertainty; I was paying for these dinners, and I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it! But one of my friends told me she loved the events and that I should ‘follow the breadcrumbs.’ And what that means is that you take incremental steps that lead you down a path. You see what is working, and you eventually get to a place where you can turn your passion into a business.”
Leading with empathy
“We are a mostly female team, and I think there is something to be said about changing the ratio in the business world,” Asha says. “When I had my first company, I was raising money, and investors would ask, ‘Are you going to get married? And do you want kids?’ It was very judgmental and, you know, Lauren just had two babies. I just had a baby during the pandemic! We are working our butts off, and we are taking market share while we're building the families of our dreams. And I think it's a beautiful thing that you can truly have a work-life balance. Women don't have to pick one way or the other.”
Adds Everhart, “We wanted to create a company that is not just safe for women, but values them. And also a place that kills it in business, too. You don't have to choose — we built a business that gives us space to have both.”