DocuSign announced that it has agreed to acquire SpringCM, a cloud document generation and contract management platform for $220 million in an all-cash deal. The document-signing market leader has positioned the acquisition as a step towards growing beyond electronic signatures to creating a complete system for agreements. While the two companies have worked together in the past, DocuSign CEO Dan Springer has stated the SaaS giant is excited to “connect and automate the entire agreement lifecycle.” SpringCM brings with it 600 commercial and enterprise customers as DocuSign’s first acquisition since its IPO in April.
The e-commerce world saw Brandless, a “no-brand” online merchandise startup which sells more than 300 home-goods staple products, raise a $240 million investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The brand’s mission is to keep items and shopping simple by selling only one version of a given product. The products typically cost less than inventory available on Amazon, though the company does not view themselves as a direct competitor of the e-commerce market leader.
In App business news, Apple has discontinued its affiliate program for apps, citing a revamped App Store which will now have human editors to seek and discover new, high quality apps. The affiliate program, which allowed third-party websites to test and write reviews for Mac and iOS apps and receive commissions for in-app content, will be discontinued beginning October 1, 2018.
In digital marketing news, Twitter has shared how it ranks search results in response to accusations of “shadow-banning” accounts. This is a practice in which an account’s content would be hidden from everyone except for the person who posted the content. Twitter has since resolved a glitch in the system, and shared that the search function works by displaying accounts the searcher is interested in higher up in search results, in addition to popular tweets connected with the search topic. Also in digital marketing updates, Google has confirmed that it has released a new broad core search algorithm update, without comment on the type of sites that will be affected and stating that producing quality content is the best way to improve rankings. While Google releases updates of this nature several times per year, SEOs and webmasters have generally noted that this recent update has improved traffic to the higher quality pages and decreased traffic to “deeper” pages.
New in e-commerce business listings this week we have a $411K kitchen and dining accessories business, with a market-leading brand with hundreds of five-star reviews and an average product rating of 4.9 stars, secure foothold in a large and growing industry, scalable cost structure driving strong net margins, and automated and robust operations allowing for low owner involvement.
New in affiliate business listings this week we have a $47.1K women’s organic health and beauty business, with years of operational history leading to an authoritative and well-known brand, high traffic with over 500,000 unique visitors and c.1 million page views in the past year, strong backlink profile and keyword rankings for over 8,000 keywords, and simple operations allowing for plenty of time and cash flow to focus on growth.
Finally, new in SaaS business listings this week we have a $27.3K B2B affiliate sales tool, with years of operational history allowing for a strong position in a growing niche, robust and effective software allowing for low net MRR churn of c.4.2% in the past year, lean and simple cost structure allowing for high net margins of over 80% in the L12M and low owner involvement allowing for plenty of time to focus on growth. If you are interested in any of the above businesses, please follow the links to request a prospectus.
In events news, CEO Ismael Wrixen and Founder Thomas Smale had a great time attending Affiliate Summit East in New York this week, where FE hosted a post-conference networking and drinks event for clients and members in the industry. Thanks to all who joined! Photos are live on the FE Facebook page, so please tag yourself and friends.
Continue reading below for more on DocuSign’s acquisition of SpringCM, Brandless’ new funding round and Twitter’s shared ranking insights.
- Market-leading brand with hundreds of five-star reviews and an average product rating of 4.9 stars
- Secure foothold in a large and growing industry
- Scalable cost structure driving strong net margins
- Automated and robust operations allowing for low owner involvement
Yearly net profit: $144,000
Asking price $411,000
- Years of operational history leading to an authoritative and well-known brand
- High traffic with over 500,000 uniques and c.1 million page views in the past year
- Strong backlink profile and keyword rankings, with the site ranking for 8,000 keywords
- Simple operations allowing for plenty of time and cash flow to focus on growth
Yearly net profit: $17,000
Asking price $47,100
- Years of operational history allowing for a strong position in a growing niche
- Robust and effective software allowing for low net MRR churn of c.4.2% in the past year
- Lean and simple cost structure allowing for high net margins of over 80% in the L12M
- Low owner involvement allowing for plenty of time to focus on growth
Yearly net profit: $9,000
Asking price $27,300
In The News…
DocuSign Acquires SpringCM
DocuSign has announced that it will acquire SpringCM for $220 million in cash.
SpringCM and DocuSign have been frequent partners in the past, offering solutions that DocuSign customers have requested to complete the document signing and contract management process. Of the acquisition, DocuSign CEO Dan Springer cited the two companies’ previous partnerships, stating “DocuSign pioneered the e-signature category, and has built a strong SaaS business around that capability. We’ve also started to offer solutions that connect and automate the entire agreement lifecycle. We’ve done this with Spring CM as a partner across hundreds of joint commercial and enterprise customers. And we have many more DocuSign customers asking us to provide these capabilities natively as part of our platform. That’s why we believe today’s announcement makes such great business sense.” SpringCM automates, manages and stores its clients’ documents and contracts, and has more than 600 commercial enterprise customers which DocuSign will bring on with the acquisition.
This is DocuSign’s first acquisition since going public in April.
Brandless Raises $240M in New Funding Round
Brandless has raised $240 million from SoftBank in a new round of funding to offer an alternative to Amazon for home basics.
In the pursuit of creating a simple shopping experience, Brandless sells approximately 300 items on its website on which every single item costs $3. The site’s offerings range from household basics to more upscale merchandise, like extra virgin olive oil and nontoxic dish soap, which almost all cost less than their Amazon equivalents. Brandless does not see itself as a direct Amazon equivalent, as CEO Tina Sharkey stated “Amazon is the everything store. We’re a highly curated collection.” This investment, which valued Brandless at over $500 million, is not the e-commerce startup’s first. Before this most recent round, Brandless had raised $51 million from NEA, Redpoint, GV, and NBA champions Steph Curry and Nick Young. The brand is focused on building a community among its shoppers, posting customer recipes which include its products on the site and hosting pop up stores.
While competition with Amazon and resellers may pose hurdles for the company, Sharkey says she is looking to work with other companies in SoftBank’s portfolio, while currently working to improve logistics and expand the range of delivery.
Twitter Shares Search Ranking Insights
Following accusations of “shadow-banning” accounts, Twitter has revealed insights into its search algorithm.
“Shadow-banning” is a practice which involves hiding an account’s content from everyone except for the original poster. Twitter has stated that it has identified and resolved a bug in the system which caused problems with the social platform’s auto-suggestion search function, meaning certain accounts failed to appear in search results even though their names matched the search query. The glitch prompted Twitter to offer some insight into the way their search algorithm works: tweets from an account the person searching is interested in rank higher in search results, while accounts considered to be “bad-faith actors”, or accounts associated with malicious behavior, rank lower. It is not perfectly clear what determines whether an account is interesting to the searcher, but Twitter’s Head of Product, Kayvon Beykpour, has shared that the company is focusing on search functionality, stating “We’re definitely investing in search! Lots of focus across quality/relevance.”
Hundreds of thousands of accounts were affected, though not limited to a particular political or geographic affiliation, and the issue was resolved the same day.
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