I’ve had a few conversations with people inside the SaaS accounting industry in the past few weeks and there is something of a crescendo of voices predicting the next couple of years will see a real consolidation in the space. There are so many vendors, many of whom haven’t got clarity around their monetisation strategies. Add to that the fact that the incumbents (Sage, Intuit, MYOB) aren’t gaining significant traction with SaaS and you’ve got a recipe for a bunch of acquisitions.
Until now we’ve mainly seen investments – the founder of MYOB buys a large stake in Xero, the ex-Chairman of Sage invests in a SaaS company – but no outright acquisitions. Until now… Just the other day I was talking to once founder who had received an exciting offer and then this morning news comes that Blinksale has been acquired outright by DoubleWide Labs.
I spoke with Brian Oberkirch from DoubleWide Labs who will now be stepping into the role of Managing Director of Blinksale and asked him about the acquisition. He explained that since Blinksale was created in 2005 in the typical web app story of providing a service for the founding business itself, and only later growing to become a public facing application. Over time however the founders have moved on to different areas and development of the Blinksale product has languished a little.
Blinksale boasts “tens of thousands” of users and was apparently profitable at the time of acquisition. Oberkirch sees some obvious areas for deepening the product offering – the ability to update invoices by Twitter, By IM or by SMS being an obvious one but also functional areas such as expense tracking, time tracking and estimate generation.
Oberkirch expressed a desire to connect with the emotional component that Blinksale users have, bringing some game playing attributes to the application and allowing them to express some emotion around their invoicing activity. In essence they wish to fill out and extend the invoicing lifecycle to bring value to their users, and build more monetisable services on top of what they already do.
This is DoubleWide Labs first acquisition and it’ll be interesting to see how Blinksale develops under their ownership. It’s a pretty competitive market out there with FreshBooks getting the lion’s share of the online invoicing pie – Blinksale will be looking to take some of that share back.