WooCommerce has released WooCommerce Payments in a move that will allow the e-commerce WordPress plugin to establish a “SaaS-like feature parity with Shopify.” The program was built with Stripe’s merchant tools and will offer broad payment support for most WooCommerce users. Directly through the WordPress dashboard, the newly introduced tool can manage deposits, refunds and disputes. Store owners need a WooCommerce Payments account to run the program, but are not required to have a Stripe account. The payout schedule for merchants is on a rolling two-day basis according to Automattic’s General Manager of WooCommerce. Benefits of the new e-commerce tool include greater autonomy as “owners are always able to use all of the fully self-hosted, self-managed software they need for their business, and independent merchant services (among others) will always be an option too.”
Y Combinator has released a 70-page guide on raising a series A. YC has funded over $2B in seed rounds over 190 series A deals and is now aiming to help more companies raise venture capital in the earliest seed funding stage. The document released this week includes a tactical guide, advice on preparation, best practices for putting together investment materials including pitch decks and investor memos, process strategies, and a closing plan. In an interview with TechCrunch, YC partner Aaron Morris shared the seed accelerator’s reasoning for releasing the guidance and stated, “If YC can help companies build bigger companies and level the playing field, that’s just overall good for the rate of innovation in the world.”
The HMRC’s new IR35 for 2020 will heavily impact self-employed entrepreneurs operating through an organization by requiring them to pay the same level of tax as full time employees, a change estimated to generate an additional £3.1B in tax revenue within the next four years. These changes will not impact contact work carried out for companies that meet two or more of the following criteria: those with a turnover of less than £10.2M a year, balance sheet assets of less than £51M, or those with fewer than 50 employees. For contractors employed by such smaller companies, it is still up to the individual person whether IR35 is applicable to them.
In M&A news Credit Karma is set to be acquired by Intuit in a deal worth $7 billion in cash and stock, according to the New York Times. The personal finance company was predicted to pursue an IPO, but opted for sale instead in one of the biggest privately held fintech acquisitions on record. Intuit, which has a market cap of more than $77B and owns TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint, intends to utilize credit Karma’s host of services and customer base to develop a personalized finance assistant and upsell users to Intuit’s premium, paid services. Intuit’s share price jumped 2.21% on the news.
Apple hosted their annual shareholders meeting this week. Chief executive Tim Cook announced that after seeking special approval from the Indian government to open a store without a local partner. The tech giant is set to open their first physical stores in India in 2021. Apple investors also voted on a proposal to change the way Apple handles government requests to remove applications from its marketplace. While the measure was vetoed, it received almost 40% of the vote, up from the previous vote (and potentially a sign of things to come!)
In data protection news, cybercriminals are targeting vulnerable websites running on any of several WordPress plugins with known security flaws. According to Bleeping Computer, faulty versions of the following plugins are actively being attacked by two threat actors: ThemeGrill Demo Importer, Profile Builder and Duplicator. Users of any of these plugins are recommended to update their tools to the latest version to prevent their confidential data from being compromised.
New in FE exclusive listings, this week we have a B2B SaaS business in the Conversion Rate Optimization niche listed at $3,276,000. Launched in 2014, the business delivers market-leading software for e-commerce businesses looking to gather and showcase user-generated content to build trust and improve conversions. With compatibility across all major e-commerce platforms and extensive functionality, the software helps engage millions of consumers across dozens of countries monthly. The impressive functionality has resonated with users, helping the business secure stellar ratings across various third-party review sites. With expanding MRR, low churn, high LTV, and strong margins, a new owner will have plenty of resources to invest in growth. If you are interested in this business, please visit the link above to request a prospectus.
In events news, from March 31st to April 2nd in San Diego, FE International Founder Thomas Smale and CEO Ismael Wrixen will be attending the Traffic and Conversion Summit to meet with leaders and founders in the digital marketing space. Please feel free to get in touch if you will be in the area and would like to set up a meeting with Thomas or Ismael.
Here our list of the Top 100 Digital Conferences You Should Attend in 2020, if you would like to schedule a meeting with a team member, please reach out. Events FE will be attending are indicated.
Call for Entry: SaaS Mag has opened its application for the 2020 SaaS 1000 list! If you think you’re company deserves to be ranked among the top growing SaaS companies, then be sure to apply by February 29, 2020!
Continue reading below for more on Woocommerce, Y Combinator, Credit Karma and more!
- Firm foothold with market leading brand in the User Generated Content (UGC) niche
- Steady growth with MRR rising at an impressive c.141% CAGR between 2017 and 2019
- Superb unit economics with net MRR churn of c.2.5% and LTV of $4,100
- Wide market reach used by over 21,000 brands globally, engaging 60 million customers each month
- Well trained and remote team staying on post sale
Yearly net profit: $588,000
Asking price: $3,276,000
- Scalable portfolio in the online surveys niche
- Steady traffic profile with over 1.3M visitors over the LTM
- Impressive c.53% Q4 growth YoY from 2018 to 2019
- Lean operations driving strong margins and low owner involvement
Yearly net profit: $204,000
Asking price: $591,000
- Firm foothold in the lucrative home organization niche
- Solid organic search presence with keyword rankings for c.2,100 keywords
- Boasting over 109 detailed articles on the niche
- Lean operating model with high net margins
- Strong presence on Pinterest
Yearly net profit: $35,000
Asking price: $112,000
In the News…
New E-Commerce Program – WooCommerce Payments
Select merchants are now able to apply to a new program provided by WooCommerce called WooCommerce Payments, a SaaS-like tool comparable to Shopify. The new program provides operates on a fee structure similar to Stripe; 2.9% + $0.30 per US-based transaction, as it was created with Stripes’s merchant tools. WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress, and the new feature will allow users to manage their Deposits, transactions, refunds, and disputes all from the WordPress dashboard, removing the need for store owners to manage another account through a merchant processor.
Y Combinator Releases 70-Page Series A Guide
In an effort to help entrepreneurs looking to raise series A funding for their startups, Y Combinator has release a 70-page guide on its website, which offers a detailed outline of how to successfully raise an A. Created by YC’s series A team Aaron Harris ans Janelle Tam, the guide provides users with series of sections and a detailed timeline mapping out the process of preparation, assembling investment materials, process strategy and tactics, closing techniques, plus steps to take after successfully raising VC funding.
HMRC’s IR35 2020 Changes
The HMRC has updated its IR35 tax rule which will result in self-employed entrepreneurs needing to pay higher tax bills. The rule will eliminate a tax loophole used by independent employees working through a company to avoid paying the same level of tax as permanent employees as well national insurance as it was up to their discretion whether or not they fell under the IR35. In a testimony provided by a freelance worker who will likely by impacted by the tax rule stated, “I work for several clients, and I don’t work the same days or hours. I choose when I work. According to HMRC’s guidelines, I fall outside IR35. However, the burden falls on companies to specify whether a contractor falls under IR35, and they don’t want to risk getting it wrong.” The chance will only impact larger companies within the private sector and will not be affected by the new IR35: those with a turnover of less than £10.2m a year, balance sheet assets of less than £51m, or those with fewer than 50 employees.
Intuit Acquires Credit Karma for $7B
Announced this week, Intuit will buy Credit Karma for a reported $7B. Credit Karma, which earned billions by pushing credit card deals to customers after developing their credit profiles, will join the list of successful fintech startups acquired by Intuit including QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint. With the financial data of average Americans increasing in value, Intuit will capitalize Credit Karma’s robust client base which is comprised of “a third of all Americans who have a credit profile” according to the New York Times.
Apple’s First Indian Store
Apple Chief Executive Time Cook announced that in 2021, the company will be launching its first online outlet and physical store in India, the world’s second largest smartphone market. At the company’s annual shareholder meeting held this week, Apple also conducted a vote regarding a proposal that would alter the way the tech enterprise approaches government issued requests to remove apps from the App store. The proposal was voted down but received 40% of the vote.
WordPress Plugins Vulnerable to Attack
After a number of cybercriminals going by the handles ‘tonyredball’ and ‘solarsalvador1234’ were discovered to be exploiting websites, it was discovered WordPress plugins ThemeGrill Demo Importer and Profile Builder have severe security flaws leaving users of these tools subject to attack. The estimated 200,000 WordPress sites running these tools are advised to update to the latest version to patch these vulnerabilities.