Behind the Scenes: Meet Flippa’s Founders

Flippa’s founders,  Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz, with the Founder of the Internet, Vint Cerf, at the 14th Webby Awards

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the people behind the scenes who make Flippa happen. There’s information about Flippa on our About Us page, but what about the individuals that bring it all together?  Today, we thought we would start by telling you a little bit more about the two people who started it all: Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz.

Meet Mark

Mark lives in the world’s most livable city, Melbourne, Australia, and is a regular fixture at our Melbourne and San Francisco offices.

Mark is one of Australia’s most respected start-up entrepreneurs. He was recently named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by BRW Magazine, Australia’s most prestigious business publication, and regularly advises (and sometimes invests) in startups in both Australia and the US.  Some of the more recent coverage on Mark includes this article in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Newspaper, and features on Shoestring Startups and Dynamic Business Magazine.

Like most Australians, Mark loves the beach and sport and can generally been found waterskiiing or jetskiiing through summer on his weekends or attending Australian Rules Football games through the winter.

You can follow Mark on Twitter at @daxatron

Meet Matt

Matt still lives in the second most livable city in the world (sorry Matt), but  equally beautiful, Vancouver, Canada. He regularly makes the Top 30 Under 30 lists, including Forbes Magazine’s Technology list,  Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30, and the recent Smart Company 30 under 30. He’s a regular contributor to a number of business publications including Forbes,  Business Insider and Entrepreneur.  You can find links to more of Matt’s articles on his personal blog. He’s an avid wine collector (no word yet on whether he prefers Australian wines!) and traveller, who visited 9 countries in 2011, including Kenya where he watched a pride of lions take down an eland.

Over the past couple of years, Matt has spoken at numerous conferences including Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Underground Online Seminar, and Conversion Conference. Anyone in San Francisco next week can meet up with Matt when he teams up with the likes of oDesk.com CEO, Gary Swart, to discuss building online marketplaces – http://marketplaces.eventbrite.com/

Matt tweets interesting links about startups and business at @sitepointmatt.

How Mark and Matt Ended up Founding Flippa

Many of you know that Flippa originated from SitePoint and quickly became the #1 marketplace in the world for buying and selling websites. What you may not know, however, is that SitePoint was created in 1999 by Matt and Mark, and quickly became the go-to place for best of breed, cutting edge web development resources.

Sitepoint.com has consistently been ranked by alexa.com in the top 1,000 most visited sites in the world and has been ranked as high as the top 100. Matt was only 16 and Mark 26 when the pair partnered and decided to take Matt’s existing site, webmaster-resources.com, and re-launch it as sitepoint.com. In this interview for Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, Matt describes taking calls from ad buyers on his late-90s cellphone, between high school classes, and explains how the partnership came about.

Growing and growing

As SitePoint’s traffic went through the roof and its community forums grew, it wasn’t long before webmasters began offering their sites for sale to other SitePoint community members. This activity led to the creation of the SitePoint Marketplace, which in turn led to the launch of a new business, Flippa.com in 2009.

Flippa is not the only company to have grown out of SitePoint: 99designs, Learnable, and Wave Digital also started life at SitePoint.

The most well-known of these companies, 99designs, has attracted some great attention in the last few years, including winning the prestigious Webby Award in 2010, beating out Dropbox and Tumblr.  In 2011, 99designs announced $35 million in funding from the Accel Partners (Investors of Facebook, Groupon, Dropbox).  Investing alongside Accel were Flickr Co-founder Stewart Butterfield, SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg and ex-eBay exec Michael Dearing. This was one of the largest tech funding deals in Australia in recent times, and helped put the Australian startup scene on the map for international investors.

As you can see, Mark and Matt have been around, and know their stuff when it comes to internet startups and business in general. Want to take advantage of this? Leave your questions for them in the comments. We’ll pick the best ones for an upcoming Q&A session with them.

  • Would be great to hear about the conception of flippa. Where the idea originated and how it grew to become flippa.

  • Joe Correia

    Totally jealous…. So many people try building an online business and few succeed. Ironically, this is what makes flippa so successful. Nice job guys. When are you putting flippa.com up for sale on flippa? Wouldn’t matter, I couldn’t afford it……

    Sincerely, Joe

  • I want to meet they too, and want to ask how they build this huge and success site, and waiting for their biography about the first time the build flippa from zero. Wandering What are they’re Success secrets?

  • I always thought both Mark and Matt are from the same country – as I thought otherwise how could they team-up for such huge projects as SitePoint and Flippa! I joined sitepoint way back in 2006 and saw the marketplace grow by leabps and bounds. Also ‘m one of the starting members of Flippa by virtue of being a member of sitepoint! 🙂
    But seems everything is possible in this super-information high-way. They are the leading lights indeed.

  • Matt was one the guest speakers at E-Commerce 2000 Conference & Exhibition on the Big Island of Hawaii. Look what he has accomplished in 12 years! I remember him as being one of the best presentations at that conference and I am not surprised he has achieved so much in his career. The Flippa concept is a testimony to his talents and insight. Congratulations, Matt… and thanks a million for coming to the Big Island and helping make our conference a success!

    Thom Reece, Producer
    E-Commerce 2000

    • Oh wow, I remember that conference… I don’t think I was even 18 years old at the time.

      If you ever decide to resurrect that conference, I’m always up for a trip to Hawaii 🙂

  • Great article!!! Impressive accomplishments!

    I would like to know what are Mark’s and Matt’s most influential business and life mentors?
    If they were to attribute their success in life and business to a person or a way of thinking, who or what would that be?

    The world seems to be full of aspiring entrepreneurs, the successful ones are a rare find.

    Thank you,
    Val

  • How cool is that photo, eh!

  • Great read … Thanks for sharing !

  • It’s always neat hearing about how a business got it’s start. It’s certainly more interesting when you see that the founder(s) of a very successful website such as Flippa.com are so young. My hat is off to the two of you, well done!

    http://www.howtobuyawebsitebusiness.com

  • that’s totally awesome to see how it all started
    with SitePoint! i am sooo addicted to FLIPPA!

    onto buying more ready made sites 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing…… Awesome

  • TechGeck.com

    i have also dream of selling my site through flippa at very higher price