My 3rd Startup Exit: At Capacity Sold to CAMP Digital

The announcement and backstory of At Capacity

I am excited to announce that I have exited my company, At Capacity. This is the third company I have founded and exited over the last twenty years. However, this one was unique because it was after 16 months!

Today, I will share more details about how the company came about and why we chose to exit the business.

All companies want to innovate. They also understand industry problems better than anyone else. 

They want to improve their products to keep them on the leading edge or create additional products to sell to their existing customers.

There is commonly one major challenge. 

They can’t innovate.

You need the right talent, funding, and time to focus on innovating. Innovating on something new can be seen as a distraction, especially in the short term, when trying to run an existing successful business.

This dilemma creates opportunities to bring in entrepreneurs who can take and execute these types of opportunities. 

At Capacity was born out of one of these types of opportunities!

The Origin Story

It all began with CAMP Digital, a marketing agency serving the home services industry - think HVAC, electrical, and plumbing companies. 

Also, I knew the CEO of CAMP Digital, Katie Donovan, from previous work with her. This created a great opportunity to collaborate.

They had developed an internal system to manage Google Ads with a unique twist: the ability to turn off ads when service providers' schedules were full or "at capacity.”

This prevented overbooking and ensured efficient customer service, a game-changer for their clients. It made their service offerings unique in the industry.

CAMP Digital has become one of the top marketing agencies in the home service industry. 

However, CAMP Digital faced a significant challenge. 

As a marketing agency, they lacked the expertise in software development, and the day-to-day operations of running their core business made it difficult to focus on evolving this tool. 

That's where my colleague Meg Stapleton and I saw an opportunity.

We proposed spinning this internal tool into a separate company, which became At Capacity.

Not only could we rebuild the software, but we could expand to other opportunities that CAMP Digital was not currently focused on.

We planned to service smaller companies in home services, franchise groups, and other industries, including automotive, medical, dental, legal, and more.

In March of 2023, we founded At Capacity. 

What is At Capacity?

We leveraged a small team of developers via Full Scale, and within about six months, we successfully built an MVP and had our first customers live on the new platform.

At Capacity provides these core functionalities:

  • Service catalog management of company services and promotions

  • Dynamic Google and Microsoft ads management

  • ROI reporting

  • Websites and landing pages

  • Integration with industry scheduling tools

By integrating with common scheduling systems, we could evaluate the companies' availability and dynamically control advertising for same-day service, discounts, and more. 

We not only did this in their Google ads but also provided websites for the customers. We essentially controlled all of the promotions or coupons across all of their service offerings.

After 12 months, we had successfully launched dozens of customers and expanded into other industries. We now had a team of 20 employees, and everything had gone smoothly. CAMP Digital was still our major partner, but we were starting to gain traction in other areas.

Then something unexpected happened.

Scale It or Sell It?

Another marketing technology company heard about what we were doing and offered to acquire the business so it could offer it to its thousands of customers.

That left us at an interesting crossroads.

Do we sell or keep growing the business?

We made a surprising decision after careful consideration and discussions with CAMP Digital. 

To sell the company back to them!

Why? The platform has become a huge strategic advantage for CAMP Digital. The combination of the tech platform and their strong marketing agency capabilities have positioned them as a top provider in home services marketing.

They would rather own and control the platform and keep its strategic advantages internally. They even have patents pending on the technology.

The product is now very mature and only needs ongoing maintenance. They can now hire a fractional CTO and continue to work with the existing development team to enhance the product.

CAMP Digital has traditionally focused on large home services companies. One of the goals of At Capacity was to use technology to make it possible to better support smaller home services companies. 

That capability was one of the biggest success stories of the At Capacity platform and was a major contributor to the growth of CAMP Digital in 2024.

Lessons from At Capacity

Overall, this experience taught us some valuable lessons. 

Non-tech companies often struggle to develop software due to a lack of focus and expertise. 

This creates numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and experienced software developers to execute ideas from non-tech companies.

The At Capacity story demonstrates how internal tools can be transformed into successful startups. 

The development of At Capacity also showed how a fractional CTO combined with a hybrid local and offshore development team is one of the best ways to build software affordably.

By recognizing the potential of CAMP Digital's internal system and having the expertise to develop it further, we created a valuable product that ultimately strengthened CAMP Digital's position in the market.

As we look to the future, I'm excited to see what CAMP Digital does with the product. Their newly enhanced capabilities will make them a formidable player in the home services marketing landscape in the foreseeable future. 

Sometimes, the best startup ideas are already hiding within existing businesses, just waiting for someone with the right expertise to bring them to life.


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