In this episode I chat with Brett Crosby from PeerStreet and co-founder of Google Analytics. Brett co-founded a company called Urchin software which was acquired in April 2005 by Google and morphed into Google Analytics. He was on his honeymoon during his first day at google and he talked about how everything in his life changed during the 15 minutes he was about to walk the aisle to do his wedding vows. He talked about google a bit and he discussed in detail how after creating a business case for a two sided mortgage investment platform (soon to be PeerStreet) they went to Michael Burry (Christian Bale’s character from “The Big Short”) who predicted the crash of the subprime mortgage market, what he said during that meeting reinforced the notion that if Brew and Brett can do this at scale can prevent the next housing crash. Astonishingly they asked Michael to be an adviser and he said “no” I want to invest in your company. The reason Michael wanted to invest was because he felt PeerStreet was solving a systemic problem in the mortgage industry. Similar to the scale in how Urchin (now Google Analytics) solved a massive problem companies with websites.
But the road to get there started from the acquisition of Urchin by Google, and then transformed into Google Analytics, that road wasn’t so smooth. Urchin almost died on the vine early on when it failed to secure their series A. The deal was nearly done and the investor was flying up from Boston to bring the check and sign the final documents in person which was supposed to take place on 9/11/2001, the investor had to pull out of the deal. There were dark and difficult times ahead for Urchin, ironically, not getting that series A helped Brett and the other co-founders make the Google opportunity a reality but it happened out of necessity. What took place to make the deal come together with Google was fascinating.
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