Best SaaS Startups for Sale: From Shopify Apps to Interview Prep (June 2024)

Welcome to the June 2024 SaaS deal review!

When buying or selling a business, nothing beats an expert’s opinion – and you’ve got two of the best in our Director of Acquisitions, Christian Steverson, and Managing Director of M&A, Rainier Nanquil. 

Together, they’ve helped 1,000s of acquisitions close, participating in over a billion dollars worth of deal volume. Few have seen so many deals go down, so expect plenty of insights to apply to your own deal.

Watch the full webinar recording below or skip straight to the deals. 

Who Are Your Presenters?

Rainier Nanquil, Managing Director of M&A

Rainier has over a decade of experience in M&A, capital markets, and investment sales. He’s been part of over a billion dollars of deal volume sourced, analyzed, and brokered. Previously, Rainier was at Empire Flippers, Cushman and Wakefield, and Marcus and Millichap. Rainier’s goal is to help clients get the best price, terms, and transaction experience possible.

Christian Steverson, Director of Acquisitions

Christian is a seasoned leader across SaaS, technology, and sales. When not closing multimillion-dollar transactions, he’s helping founders navigate the trickier parts of the acquisition process and setting them up for success under the Guided by Acquire program. Christian is a renowned troubleshooter within the Acquire.com M&A team and regularly rescues deals using expert negotiation tactics.

Why Listen to Us?

In just four years since Acquire.com launched, we’ve marked some incredible milestones in the acquisition space, testament to the talent, services, and technology we invest in your acquisition. 

We’ve helped over 1,200 startups exit, closed nearly a billion dollars in transaction volume, and registered over 500,000 buyers since 2019.

Live internationally? No problem – we’re active in over 100 countries and in every continent except Antarctica, with a multilingual M&A team to support cross-border transactions.

What Will You Learn From This Deal Review?

You’ll discover our top listings, why we love them, and tips on how you might earn a return on investment. We know our market better than anyone, and you can use our insights to make better choices about your next acquisition, or if you’re selling, learn how buyers will assess your business. 

How We Vet Your Deals

We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a world-class curation and advisory team to publish the best listings so you don’t waste time on founders unwilling to sell or at a fair market price.

Strict Curation

Only around 45 percent of startups make it through our curation process. We verify the seller’s ID and business, review their goals, and prepare them for acquisition, ensuring you get the highest quality deal flow and founders who’re easy to work with and committed to closing.

SaaS Specialists

We have the biggest pool of SaaS companies and buyers in the world. We love the SaaS business model and the problems it solves. You can acquire other business types, but our biggest market is SaaS.

Expert Support

On the seller side, we offer expert support in-house. Our M&A success team helps sellers with everything from perfecting listings to navigating due diligence. Why? To help sellers succeed while ensuring you get all the info you need when you start acquisition talks. For example: is there a P&L? A confidential information memorandum (CIM)? Due diligence checklist? Transition plan? And so on.

Listing Scorecard

When you evaluate a SaaS startup for acquisition, you might not know where to start. The same is true of sellers listing for the first time. To help, we’ve developed the listing scorecard – a checklist we use to ensure sellers and buyers start from the best possible foundation. 

For example, we’ll check the seller has completed their profile, uploaded a P&L, and connected their metrics, and so on. Have they prepared everything you need as a buyer to evaluate that business and make an offer? Is this price within market expectations

The listing scorecard benefits you and the seller, ensuring you’re aligned when talks begin. You want the seller to understand the acquisition process and be ready to answer your questions quickly. Likewise, the seller wants to keep you engaged to encourage a fair offer. 

What Does a Typical Listing Look Like?

How the Marketplace Works

If you’ve entered your acquisition criteria, the first row is listings matching your criteria. The second row is listings receiving a lot of attention from other buyers. The final row, our top picks, are listings under our guidance – startups we’ve prepped for acquisition.

But this isn’t the only way to find startups you like. Rather than browse 1,000s of listings, use the filters to zero in on startups matching your criteria. For example, filter for revenue or profit multiple, gross revenue, net profit, startups under guidance, and other criteria. 

Just click All Listings and then you’ll see various filters at the top (see above). 

If you want to see our absolute best deals – of unrivaled quality – check “Guided by experts” under the Highlights filter to see those we’re helping get Acquire’d. You can also use the highlights filter to find deals pre-qualified for financing and with connected metrics (which means real-time data updates).

To view the full listing and chat to the founder, request startup access by signing a mutual NDA. You can only do this with a paid subscription to one of our buyer plans

Premium and Platinum buyer subscriptions give you access to closing tools such as LOI and APA builders, free escrow, and unlimited access to deals within your plan’s limits. To find out which buyer plan is right for you, check out our pricing page

Monthly SaaS Deal Review (June 2024)

Please note that the deals we discuss below may no longer be active on the marketplace. As some of our best SaaS listings, they’re in high demand and typically go under offer within a few days. 

Deal 1: Shopify Apps For Social Media Tracking and Analytics

Highlights

  • Asking price: $575k (4x profit, 3x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $194k
  • TTM profit: $143k
  • Growth rate: 15 percent
  • Founded: 2018

View full listing

Watch the breakdown

Deal 2: Rapidly growing digital growth solutions for doctors and therapists

Highlights

  • Asking price: $570k (1.9x profit, 1.4x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $394k
  • TTM profit: $301k
  • Growth rate: 149 percent
  • Founded: 2022

View full listing

Watch the breakdown

Deal 3: The only conversational AI appointment booking solution for a $3 billion calendar SaaS platform

Highlights

  • Asking price: $5.1M (6.4x profit, 2.5x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $2M
  • TTM profit: $793k
  • Growth rate: 172 percent
  • Founded: 2020

View full listing

Watch the breakdown

Deal 4: Automated interview prep for career readiness organizations

Highlights

  • Asking price: Open to offers
  • TTM revenue: $258k
  • TTM profit: $110k
  • Growth rate: 100 percent
  • Founded: 2023

View full listing

Watch the breakdown

How Do We Prep Founders for Acquisition?

Debunking Misconceptions

Highlights

  • Bringing valuation expectations in line with the market
  • Preparing founders for your expectations and questions
  • Explaining the acquisition process and deal stages

Watch the breakdown

Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM)

Highlights

  • We prepare a comprehensive marketing package for the business
  • You’ll see sales trends, competitors, complementary products, and so on
  • Gives you enough detail so you’re comfortable making an offer
  • Review the CIM before speaking to the founder to show you’ve prepared

Watch the breakdown

Profit and Loss Statement

Highlights

  • At minimum, we ask for a trailing twelve-month P&L broken down monthly
  • Helps to reveal the ebbs and flow of revenue and can indicate seasonality
  • Use with the CIM to understand the primary drivers of income and expenses

Watch the breakdown

Financial Recasting

Highlights

  • We have a professional finance team who can help recast financials
  • Helps standardize expenses so discretionary items are excluded from the transaction
  • Gives you a clearer picture of ongoing expenses than the P&L alone
  • Lenders will require a recast when approving acquisition financing

Watch the breakdown

Transition Steps for the Buyer

Highlights

  • Gives a high-level overview of operations and tech stack
  • Helps buyers transition seamlessly with no interruptions
  • Can help negotiate longer or shorter transition periods

Watch the breakdown

Building the Data Room

Highlights

  • A repository for the business’s most sensitive information
  • Goal is to get all the due diligence and supporting evidence ready and in one place
  • We provide a data room framework and help the founder populate it
  • A well-organized and complete data room helps shorten transaction timelines

Watch the breakdown

Deal Timline

Highlights

  • Helps keep expectations the same for buyers and sellers by standardizing the process
  • Involves preparation, evidence, coaching, and marketing stages
  • Ensures both buyers and sellers have everything they need to do business

Watch the breakdown

Q&A

What guidance do you have on pursuing international acquisitions for a US-based buyer?

We recommend speaking to our international M&A team about acquiring a company overseas. Not only have we helped several international acquisitions close, but the team is also multilingual and experienced in overseas transactions. Email us at support@acquire.com and we’ll connect you with the M&A team.
How do we track interest in particular company?

If a listing has had multiple requests, you can see how many buyers are interested under the listing highlights. Otherwise the founder will keep you abreast of new interest and offers using their deal schedule, which is a timeline they set with our help for different stages of the acquisition.
How do you get the real story of the business, beyond what appears in the financials?

By speaking with the founder and comparing their financials with the details in their listing. Use good judgment when evaluating a business and don’t be afraid to ask founders difficult questions. If something doesn’t add up, ask for an explanation or evidence to back up their claims.
Is inventory always included in the listed asking price? 

As we’re primarily a SaaS marketplace, we don’t see too many businesses listed with inventory. The easiest way to find out if inventory is included in the asking price is to view the listing or ask the founder.
What are your thoughts on owner financing, and can you provide some tips on how to structure the deal in terms of the down payment percentage, interest, and so on?

Seller financing is increasingly common and helps to mitigate some acquisition risk for the buyer. Typically, the deal involves a portion of the purchase price to be repaid in instalments after the closing date, with a closing payment of 70 to 80 percent, for example, and the remaining repaid over 12-18 months. Sellers usually accept a higher purchase price when offering seller financing given they shoulder more risk.
Is market outlook a consideration for the niches in which SaaS products are developed?

Yes, market outlook matters when considering SaaS acquisitions. For example, is the SaaS addressing a need in an established or emerging market? Is that market growing or contracting? These are just a sample of the questions you should ask when acquiring a SaaS company.
How to make a deal using acquire.com platform if you're a broker? 

Check out our partnership program for details on how we can help you close more deals using our team, technology, services, and access to over 500k qualified buyers.
What kind of deal structures are you commonly seeing in your deals?

We see all kinds of deal structures including seller financing, holdbacks, earnouts, and more.
Would it be possible to remotely manage an acquired company if the business is located in other country?

In theory, yes, especially if it’s a SaaS business. But if the business has offices, staff, and assets located abroad, it might be harder to manage it remotely, if not impossible. For more information, contact our international M&A team by emailing support@acquire.com.
What questions should I ask when there's a negative growth rate?

The first question to ask is why. The more history the business has, the easier it’ll be to tell if that downturn is an anomaly or part of a bigger trend. Always read the CIM, evaluate their financials, and dig deep into the P&L. If it’s broken down monthly, year over year, you can see the month when the downtrend began and ask the founder what happened. It might be that they turned off marketing spend or something similar, which is an opportunity to turn the business around for the right buyer. 

You can then assess the cost of remedial action – what work would you need to do to get growth back on track? Often, you can ask the founder what they’d do, and potentially ask for seller financing to reduce the risk. Many founders are designers or developers who didn’t expect the business to grow fast, and when that growth stagnated, they lacked the skills to push growth further. It’s quite common, and again, is an opportunity for the right buyer.
What are the risks of acquiring a SaaS company in an emerging sector like AI?

Minimizing the risk of acquiring a company in an emerging sector comes down to predictability and limiting your downside risk. The longer the business’s history, the easier you can see trends. AI, for example, is an exciting industry with lots of founders making money. But the buyer has to put up several years cashflow to buy the business, so they’re thinking about how long it’ll take the business to make a return. As a result, they may not want to invest in an all-cash offer but ask about seller financing or earnouts to offset the risk of the speed at which the AI sector is moving right now. AI startups sell, it’s more a question of deal structure – how is that downside risk being managed? Prepare to have these conversations.
How much of a startup's IP (code, for example) can I reasonably ask to vet pre and post offer?

It depends on what you want to see and how proprietary or unique the asset is. No seller wants to reveal their company secrets to a potential buyer. Usually, proprietary code, client names, vendor names, contract agreements, and so on are sensitive and unlikely to be revealed pre offer. But if you’re nearing the closing date, committed to the deal, and have built goodwill with the seller, you should be able to ask to see anything you need to reassure you of the business. In short, the closer you get to closing, the more you can reasonably ask to see. Ask our M&A team if you’re unsure.
What's the typical transition period for SaaS companies? How long can I realistically expect the founder to help me get set up and succeed?

Transition periods vary from deal to deal and it’s vital to set expectations early. A buyer who’s already a subject-matter expert might only need the seller to stay on for a few months. Typically, one to six months is the average transition period for straightforward acquisitions and assets. You want to be as flexible as possible with founders but also bear in mind that transition periods are negotiable. If the seller staying on a few extra months is the difference between success and failure or paying their asking price, ask the founder and explain why the longer transition period is important to you.

Equally, you might find the seller wants to stay on longer if you’re including creative deal structure components like an earnout or holdback. In that sense, the seller still has skin in the game and may want to protect their payments under post-closing conditions by remaining involved in the business longer. They might even throw in some consulting or additional services – or even stay on as a paid contractor.

The content on this site is not intended to provide legal, financial or M&A advice. It is for information purposes only, and any links provided are for your convenience. Please seek the services of an M&A professional before entering into any M&A transaction. It is not Acquire’s intention to solicit or interfere with any established relationship you may have with any M&A professional.

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