Monthly SaaS Deal Review (Feb 2024)

Welcome to our first monthly SaaS deal review!

Today’s webinar includes a special guest – Rainier Nanquil – one of our in-house M&A advisors. 

Rainier and I will share some of the best SaaS deals on Acquire.com and why we think they make great acquisition opportunities for the right buyers. 

You’ll also learn how to get matched with the best startups, where to find those under our guidance, and how to evaluate them. Then you can apply these lessons to earn a bigger return on your next acquisition. 

But if you’re here because you want to sell your business, keep reading because you’ll learn what buyers look for and could position your business for an even better exit. 

Ready to get started? Watch the webinar above, download the slides, or continue on to the recap.

Who Are Your Presenters?

Andrew Gazdecki, founder and CEO of Acquire.com

I’m Andrew Gazdecki, founder and CEO of Acquire.com. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I bootstrapped my first business, Bizness Apps, to $10 million in annual recurring revenue, which I later sold to a private equity firm in a life-changing acquisition. Since then, I’ve sold two more businesses, bought one, and founded the world’s largest startup acquisition marketplace.  

I’ve been on both sides of the M&A table, as a buyer and a seller, so I know how complex and difficult acquisitions can be. I started Acquire.com to fix the complex acquisition process and make it easier for founders to get acquired, and it’s my pleasure to share my knowledge with you today. 

Rainier Nanquil, in-house M&A advisor at Acquire.com

I’m Rainier, one of the in-house M&A advisors here at Acquire.com. I have over a decade of experience in M&A, capital markets, and investment sales. In that time, I’ve handled over a billion dollars worth of deal volume for various markets. I know a great deal when I see one, and I’m delighted to share how I evaluate businesses with you today. 

Where Will You Find These SaaS Deals?

Andrew Gazdecki: 

If you’re unfamiliar with Acquire.com, our goal is to build the best online marketplace to buy and sell SaaS startups. Today, you’ll learn how buyers approach the marketplace, but the information is equally as important to sellers. But first – what is Acquire.com? How is it different from other marketplaces?

We’ve been in business for about four years (since 2019). In that time, we’ve helped over a thousand startups exit, closed over half a billion in closed transactions, and registered over 400,000 buyers. Live internationally? No problem – we’re active in over 100 countries and in every continent except Antarctica. 

What Will You Learn From This Monthly SaaS Review?

Andrew Gazdecki: 

You’ll see some of our best deals and what makes them special. We plan on running these reviews monthly to explain how we vet listings, what we love about them, potential growth strategies, and so on. Since we know our market incredibly well, you can use our insights to make better choices about your next acquisition. Or learn the criteria by which buyers judge your business. 

How We Vet Your Deals

You’ll only find high-quality deals on Acquire.com. We know how frustrating it is to cold-email a bunch of founders only to find they’re not interested in selling. Or they want an outrageous price, or the business has mishandled its internal processes, or some other potential red flag. That’s why we’ve invested hundreds of thousands in a world-class curation and advisory team to publish the best listings only.

Strict Curation

Only around 45 percent of startups make it through our curation process. A real human reviews every listing before publishing it. We verify the seller’s ID and business, and review their goals – ensuring the business is safe to pursue. Trust is absolutely critical to a functioning marketplace, and you can rely on us to consistently provide high-quality dealflow so you spend more time on promising targets.

SaaS Specialists

We specialize in SaaS, with the biggest pool of SaaS companies and buyers in the world. I’ve built my career in SaaS and love the business model and the problems it solves. You can, of course, acquire other business types on Acquire.com, though our biggest market is SaaS for which we’ve built our tools.

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 evaluate every listing to ensure it’s as good as it can be for both the buyer and seller. 

For example, we’ll check the seller has completed their profile, uploaded a P&L, and connected their metrics, and so on. Then we’ll move on to the health of their business and the seller’s preparedness. Have they prepared everything you need as a buyer to evaluate that business and make an offer? Is this price within the recommended valuations we see on our marketplace? 

The listing scorecard benefits you and the seller, ensuring you’re aligned and primed when talks begin. You don’t want to educate the seller on how acquisitions work or wait days for answers to simple questions. Likewise, the seller wants to keep you engaged and interested to encourage a fair offer. 

What Does a Typical Listing Look Like?

How the Marketplace Works

Andrew Gazdecki:

Here’s a high-level overview of the marketplace. 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 often listings under our guidance – the cream of the crop.

But this isn’t the only way to find startups you like. 

Rather than browse 1,000s of listings, use the filters at the top to really zero in on startups you like. For example, you can filter for revenue or profit multiple, gross revenue, net profit, 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. These are all listings under our guidance. We’ve spoken to the founder, checked the financials, and understand the opportunity. 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 (Feb 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: Social Media Growth and Management SaaS

Highlights

  • Asking price: $1.2 million (3.7x TTM profit)
  • TTM revenue: $454k
  • TTM profit: $325k
  • Founded: 2018
  • Market: France and others
  • Growth rate: 45 percent
  • Customers: 700 recurring clients
  • Other: 30 hours/week, solo founder, low maintenance, 100 percent founder-owned, no debt
  • Listings link: Social Media Growth and Management SaaS

Commentary

Rainier Nanquil:

We have over 3,000 listings on our marketplace and over 400,000 buyers in our database. We know exactly what buyers are looking for – what multiples, deal structures, and so on. 

The profit multiple of 3.7x shows the founder is motivated to sell. We typically see 4-5x profit multiples close currently. In January alone, 53 acquisitions were transacted, and we have another 200-plus under contract closing in the coming months. The multiple is fair and in line with the market. 

The other positive sign is the profit margin of over 50 percent. This startup will get a lot of interest. If you look through the eyes of a sophisticated buyer, they want profitable SaaS businesses. Any listing with a profit margin above 50 percent will see a buzz of buyer activity. I’d move on this one fast.

Andrew Gazdecki:

I always like startups that help with social media growth. The market is crowded with competitors, and some say that’s a bad thing or a saturated market. But you’re essentially buying product-market fit. 

It’s low maintenance with one full-time employee. If I was going to sign an NDA to speak to the founder, I’d ask how to operate the business if the owner leaves after acquisition. 

I’d also ask why they’re selling. It appears this founder has taken the business as far as they can go, which is a very common reason. It’s 100 percent owned by the founder, so no debt or investors. No customer concentration risk. I’d say it’s a good business. 

Rainier Nanquil:

It’s also been going since 2018, and anything with over three years of operating history does well. The company is in Estonia, the seller is in The Netherlands, but the clients are all over the world. It’s the type of business you can operate from anywhere if you have a good wifi signal.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Also, the product is available exclusively in the French market, meaning there’s a big expansion opportunity if you moved into the US or other European markets. In my first startup, we offered our white-labeled product in 75 different languages. 


Deal 2: Parking Management Platform for Private, Public, and Municipal Spaces

Highlights

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki:

Looks like it’s won some awards, which is always good to see. Also founded in 2018. I’d usually research the competitors to understand the total addressable market (TAM), but they’ve listed the TAM here, so I like that. What do you think, Rainier?

Rainier Nanquil: 

Yeah, this is an interesting deal based in the US. A profitable SaaS founded in 2018 and making a ton of revenue. My question is about profit – where’s the low-hanging fruit? How can I increase that profit margin? That’s the first thing I’d look at. But overall, good fundamentals. 

The other question that comes to mind is, what’s important to the seller? Price? Timing? Transition? Obviously, price is important, but you can get creative with deal structures. Maybe offer some cash upfront alongside some conditional or delayed payments. Really, you want to know what’s important to the seller before you start putting a number on this because you can get creative to reduce your downside.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Yeah, I like that. They have 10-100 customers and my first question is how do they find them? The growth rate is 10 percent – how can I increase that? Just doing what’s already working is a simple strategy and the owner knows more than you. If I was going to acquire this business, I’d want the owners to stay on in a consulting capacity to help with the transition. 

And what I see here is a mission to save people’s time. I don’t go to San Francisco because I can never find parking. So it appeals to me personally. But I think there’s an opportunity to build upon the brand and try playbooks that worked for the competitors. I’m guessing by the customer count that this is an enterprise SaaS play, and I love enterprise for the average revenue per account. You only need 20 or 30 customers to get sales momentum and scale fast. 

But the fact it’s open to offers means you need to do your research first on what price the seller is looking for. What are your thoughts there, Rainier?

Rainier Nanquil: 

Yeah, that’s a great question. Again, you need to know what’s important to the seller. They might accept an all-cash deal below market to close in 30 or 45 days. Or, you can offer a multiple that’s a little bit above market but on a deal structure that repays over two to three years. 

It’s not as easy as slapping a multiple on this deal. You need to know what’s important to the seller to understand their valuation methodology and see how you can make it a win-win situation for both parties. In my opinion, it could be in the eight-figure range. But again, if you offered an all-cash price that could change things. So it really depends on what’s important to both parties.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Yeah, I would probably value this one in the low-eight figures, too. But again, everything is a negotiation. Speak with the seller, build that rapport, and create plans to grow the business. Maybe you can offer upside in the business as you acquire it. There are a number of different things you can do.

Rainier Nanquil: 

I just closed a deal with over a dozen offers, and the founder chose a lower bid because they got along much better with the buyer than the others. They felt the buyer understood the goal and mission, and would take care of their team. So while price is important, other factors can help you win a deal. 


Deal 3: SEO & AI Tools for Long-Form Content

Highlights

  • Asking price: $540k (3x profit, 2.3x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $230k
  • TTM profit: $179k
  • Founded: 2018
  • Team size: 2-20
  • Other: Bootstrapped, selling to seed a new venture
  • Listings Link: SEO & AI Tools for Long-Form Content

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki:

This one is based in California. I love the margins on this. Rainier, what do you think?

Rainier Nanquil: 

The first thing I gravitate to is the profit multiple. It’s a 3x profit multiple, showing a motivated seller. Today’s market supports 4-5x, so this seller wants to sell quickly. And a 50-plus percent profit margin means this is going to get plenty of eyeballs. It’s also been operating for over four years. 

I know Andrew mentioned this on the last listing, but what’s the reason for selling? Is it a want-to-sell situation or a need-to-sell situation? If they’re making more money in that other venture, spending time on this startup costs them opportunities. Maybe they’d rather get out quickly to focus on the other venture.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

If I acquired this business, I’d nuke the seven-day free trial. Oh, and a small tip, I wouldn’t touch any business I’d acquired for 90 days. You want to ensure all the assets get transferred and you’re comfortable running the business before making changes. But back to that trial. 

This business has many free users. What’s the conversion rate from free to paid, and how can you increase that? There’s your first growth opportunity. The customers are there – you just need to figure out how to accelerate what’s already working. What have the owners tried already?

Or maybe they’re not trying much at all and that’s another opportunity. Maybe this other venture takes up all their time and they’re not aggressively trying new marketing or sales channels. So I’d cut the free trial and try to increase the conversion rate. 

Remember that you can connect metrics on Acquire.com, meaning we can pull data directly from billing sources. So if you are looking at a listing and you’re unsure about the financials, ask the owner to connect their metrics. If they agree, you’ll get a real snapshot of their true financial health in real-time. 

My only concern might be the AI stuff. I don’t have too much knowledge about AI, so this could be one that goes through the roof or goes the other direction depending on your strategy with the business. I wouldn’t acquire this business if I didn’t have a plan in place to grow it, but I think there are some clear opportunities here. Lots of competitors, so good market fit.


Deal 4: Social Media CRM With Personalized Videos for Selling

Highlights

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki:

This one is based in Canada. Great profit margins. The multiple is also good. Rainier?

Rainier Nanquil:

One of our colleagues is running this one, and I know the founder is great to work with. He’s motivated. This is actually one of my favorite deals in the lineup today because I know the seller is open to different deal structures. Seventy percent profit margin – that’s stellar. 

It was founded in September 2022, so ensure it’s growing quickly and you can maintain that momentum. You don’t want growth to flatten or move in the opposite direction. How they are acquiring customers? How are they increasing revenue? How can you add grease to their lightning?

And again, as much as I look at the numbers, this is a great one because I know the founder is great to work with. Fair in the asking price and transition. So this is something that I would really recommend.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Only about 4 percent of SaaS companies ever reach $1 million in revenue, and it takes, on average, two years and eight months to get there. This founder did it in just one year. It’s very capital-efficient.

I also love the temperament of the seller. Warren Buffett said you can’t do a good deal with a bad person. We know the seller is easy to work with and that’s important. Can you get along with this person because you’re going to go through a 30 to 60-day due diligence process?

And in 6 months you might have a question to ask the seller. Being on good terms is key to a successful acquisition. It could be the best business in the world, but if you’re arguing all the time, it just won’t work.  I’ve been on certain deals where I have told the owner not to work with a certain individual because I knew their attitude and demeanor would later cause problems. 

Rainier Nanquil: 

Also, no listing is perfect. This one, for example, only offers lifetime deals. How can you turn this into a recurring revenue type of business? That’s not an easy fix. But if you can crack that puzzle, you add tons of value into a deal like this, where you’re getting it at a 2.9 x profit multiple and immediately increasing value. 

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Yeah, I like that. I offered lifetime deals at Bizness Apps and then transitioned new customers towards a recurring SaaS model. Recurring revenue helps predict how much you’re making each month, allowing you to forecast. You want your revenue to be predictable, repeatable, and scalable. 


Deal 5: Reforestation CSR SaaS Company

Highlights

  • Asking price: Open to offers
  • TTM revenue: $1.3 million
  • TTM profit: $136k
  • Founded: 2015
  • Team size: 2-20
  • Other: Bootstrapped, one client only, selling as needs fresh leadership
  • Listings Link: Reforestation CSR SaaS Company

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Quick note – when you see “Guided by experts” on the listing, our team is involved in helping the seller. That means they’ve undergone a higher degree of due diligence. These are motivated sellers who we’re helping get Acquire’d. Okay, so what does this one do?

“We curate, design, and execute one-for-one reforestation tree-planting programs for enterprise…” 

Okay, I’m getting excited. Again, I love enterprise SaaS. It’s so much easier to scale when your customers are large. This one has connected metrics too. If you’re working with a business owner and you want to see their real-time metrics? Just ask because this provides a lot of information.

What do you think, Rainier?

Rainier Nanquil: 

Let me give you guys some context on why Andrew loves enterprise SaaS… 

Many different buyers use our platform – private investors, investment groups, private equity, and even public companies. They salivate when they see enterprise SaaS. Profitable, $1-5 million ARR. A 3-5x multiple. Bootstrapped. Competitive landscape. That checks a lot of their “ideal listing” boxes.

Take a look at the profit margin. I know this seller has included personal expenses and other non-normalized expenses into their P&L. So this profit margin is actually a lot higher. Right off the bat, you’re uncovering hidden value by digging into the P&L. Many of these expenses shouldn’t be here. 

Another thing, too is the length of the business history. It was founded in 2015. It’s proven. It’s got product-market fit. The seller is great to work with and open to closing a win-win deal.

One thing you need to understand is the customer count. With just one client, revenue is concentrated and you’ll want to add more clients to reduce that risk. Also, it’s already making a 50 percent profit margin – how can you increase that? You’ll need to ask a lot of questions, but it’s a profitable SaaS doing good things for the world (reforestation). 

Andrew Gazdecki: 

What’s interesting about these businesses is they’re not as sexy as, you know, a social CRM. But few entrepreneurs will compete with these businesses because they’re so unique. That gives you a competitive advantage. 

Competition today is more about customer attention than the companies doing the same thing as you. With this business, I think there’s an excellent opportunity to level up the storytelling – outlining what they stand for. They’ve been in business for almost a decade. That proves product-market fit. 

Rainier Nanquil: 

One of the comments was, “Oh, that seems to be slow growth over the last 10 years.” That’s true. I know the founder spends less than four hours a week on the business. Some buyers are looking for that lifestyle business. And again, if personal expenses are being run through Quickbooks, that’s another sign that it’s a lifestyle business, where it doesn’t take too much time to maintain.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Yeah, one thing I’d also note, too, is if the business is profitable, growth is usually slower. When I was running Bizness Apps, it usually ran at break-even because we were pushing for growth. Everything was reinvested into growth. But these profitable businesses are a buyer opportunity. 

The seller hasn’t focused on growing the business. And my favorite stories are when people breathe new life into businesses. And I think this could be a great opportunity for someone who has those skill sets. I always think positive businesses like this are so much more fun to run and tell the story. 

Rainier Nanquil: 

The reason for selling sounds like a life event. Everyone has their reason to sell, and for this specific founder, they’ve worked on the business for eight years and realized someone else should take over so they can focus on their family.


Deal 6: Quickbooks Integration for Monday.com

Highlights

  • Asking price: $810k (4.3x profit, 3.3x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $249k
  • TTM profit: $190k
  • Founded: 2020
  • Team size: 2-20
  • Other: Bootstrapped, selling to focus on their other, bigger business
  • Listings Link: Quickbooks Integration for Monday.com

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki:

A Quickbooks integration with a 99 percent market share and growing. Less than 40 hours invested per month. And a fair multiple, too. I think this is good. I assume strong product-market fit since it’s been operating for over three years. And the first thing to go for me would be that 14-day free trial. 

Why is the founder selling? Lack of time. They want to invest all their efforts into their second, bigger company, which they expect to become an Inc 500 company. Sounds like a motivated seller. First, ask yourself: where can you find Monday.com customers? How are they attracting customers at the moment? You can probably just do more of what’s already worked. That said, they’ve already dominated the space with over 99 percent market share.

I always love businesses that integrate with another ecosystem because they have built-in distribution. When you’re building your go-to-market strategy, you need to know who your ideal customer is. And this one is Monday.com users. So figure out a way to get a list of Monday.com users and then email or call to offer your solution. I’d hop on the phone and say, “Do you have this problem?” I’d also raise pricing because some Monday.com customers are enterprises. 

My favorite acquisitions are those where the founder has only focused on one distribution channel. It appears this seller is only marketing on the Monday.com app store. That opens up other opportunities in paid ads, social, email, conversion rate optimization, and more. 

Rainier Nanquil: 

Yeah, this is a good one. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but its profit margin is again over 50 percent. Private equity and investment groups will go crazy for these metrics. B2B, profitable SaaS with a 3-5x multiple on EBITDA. Those are the criteria that get buyers excited.

That said, private equity and investor groups tend to stick to the $1 million ARR and above deal range. This could be a good deal for a private investor since you won’t compete with the larger consortiums. You know, the guys that can pay all-cash or majority cash and outbid you on this transaction.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Yeah, I agree. And I think this one would be fun to grow and experiment with. Also, it won Monday.com’s Editor’s Choice award. This is a great product. It just needs a new owner to breathe fresh life into it. Set up another got-to-market strategy, another customer acquisition channel, and I think you could double, triple, or even quadruple revenue. 


Deal 7: SaaS for Building Internal Work Apps & Digital Assistants

Highlights

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki: 

Every business wants to be more capital efficient, to improve productivity, so I love the problem this business solves. It’s value-based pricing too. And side note, if you’re doing outbound sales, you want your lifetime-value-per-customer to customer-acquisition-cost ratio to be around three to one. 

Another point in this business’s favor is that it was founded in 2017. That’s six years of lessons.

Rainier Nanquil: 

I usually look at the reason for selling first to know if it’s a need-to-sell or want-to-sell situation. This one is interesting because the founders say they’ve done well in startup mode. But they also know another team with a proper sales and marketing campaign could take growth to the next level. 

The current team has done very well in seven years to build a profitable SaaS. It features all the fundamentals that we look for, and at this point, I’m open to seeing who can take this to the next level, and who would be a great fit. Price is important, but a supportive transition will make it a win-win for everyone.

Andrew Gazdecki: 

I agree. And if you’re getting excited about these deals, visit our pricing page. Premium gives you access to all startups up to $250k TTM revenue, while Platinum gives you access to everything, including the types of deals you’ve seen here. Both plans also give you access to our LOI and APA builders, free escrow, and instant notifications of listings matching your acquisition criteria. 

If any of these deals look interesting, upgrade to Premium or Platinum. Once the seller approves your access, you’ll see the business name, P&L, and other docs, plus you’ll be able to contact them in chat. 


Deal 8: Suite of Bubble.io Plugins (17)

Highlights

  • Asking price: $695k (6.5x profit, 6.1x revenue)
  • TTM revenue: $114k
  • TTM profit: $107k
  • Founded: 2019
  • Team size: Solo founder
  • Other: Bootstrapped, selling as the founder has another full-time job
  • Listings Link: Suite of Bubble.io Plugins (17)

Commentary

Andrew Gazdecki: 

This is a suite of 17 popular web development plugins on Bubble. With thousands of paid and free subscribers and an asking price of about $700,000, which is around 6.5x profit. Revenue has grown 48 percent year over year. Highly profitable with a 97 percent profit margin. 

Rainier Nanquil: 

With a profit margin of 97 percent, they’re justified in asking for a higher-than-average profit multiple. Been operating since 2019. It’s a little too small for private equity, so you’d have less competition in the buyer pool. Great fundamentals. 

Andrew Gazdecki: 

We see this kind of reason for selling often. Life hits, and you have to sell because you want to pay off debt. You want to buy a home. Acquisitions help achieve these goals. When you buy this business, you can change these people’s lives. That’s what I love about acquisitions. And there’s a lot of upside potential too. If you converted just 5 percent of its 50,000 free users into paid, you’d double revenue.

Easier said than done, but I’d want to speak to the founder and ask why people upgrade and when. What is the conversion potential? Would a discount or new feature convert them? Is there an email nurturing campaign in place? What strategy would encourage people to upgrade to a paid plan? 

Rainier Nanquil: 

We coach our founders to be as transparent as possible. Is there a reason why the founder hasn’t converted more of his 50,000 free users? Learn what obstacles the founder has faced and whether you can overcome them with your skill set. Surprises kill acquisitions, so we ask our founders to be open about the downside – because in many cases, it’s potential upside for the right buyer.


Webinar Q&A

How does Acquire.com vet deals?

We use several layers of curation to ensure high-quality deal flow. The first is our automated onboarding process. We ask about revenue, profit, industry, and so on, and we run a website SSL check. Then, once the founder submits their listing, our curation team takes a deeper look into the business. 

The curation team checks the performance metrics make sense (and are connected), that no shady stuff is going on in their listing, and that they’re selling a valid business (not just a website built yesterday). They also edit listing headlines and chase founders about incomplete or misleading information. 

Finally, before we take listings live, our M&A success team reaches out to the founder to discuss their goals and plan a go-to-marketplace strategy. Our expert advisors help sellers navigate the acquisition process and prepare for exit, which saves more time for dealmaking and encourages a faster exit.

How should I tackle a listing that’s “open to offers”?

Ask the seller what is most important to them. Is it price? Timing? Transition support? Then you can get creative with different deal structures where price isn’t the most important part. 

Then ask the founder for a guide price to get you started. What valuation methodology are they using? Most founders have an ideal purchase price in mind. If the seller thinks you’re a good fit, they’ll open up about their pricing expectations.

Does Acquire.com help with buyer financing?

We work with different financing partners. Just email support@acquire.com and we can connect you with a preferred partner.

Also, given our SaaS specialization, we can arrange creative deal structures between you and the seller too. You can get financing with an SBA lender, or we can also help you negotiate seller financing. Many of these conditions and payment structures are options in the LOI and APA builders, like earnouts, holdbacks, and seller financing.

Where can I find startups receiving expert help from Acquire.com?

After logging into your buyer account, click All listings to see the filters. Click Highlights and choose Guided by experts. You can also select startups with connected metrics and those pre-qualified for acquisition financing. Click Apply to see all startups under our guidance.

The startups we help are typically the best deals on the market. They’ll have a CIM, trailing financials, and a transition guide. We guide sellers in market positioning and pricing expectations, so your acquisition will be more seamless than if they didn’t get any help.  

Our team has saved many acquisitions from failing due to one issue or another. A big part of our job is to bring serious sellers and buyers together and ensure you negotiate a deal that works for both of you.

How do buyer recommendations work?

When you enter your acquisition criteria, we’ll notify you by email or on-platform (both if you prefer) when we list a startup matching your criteria. Say you want to acquire a SaaS in the $1-5 million range. Enter your criteria, and we’ll notify you immediately of any matches. 

Is profit more important than revenue when evaluating deals?

Profit is increasingly important. If a business isn’t profitable, it must grow really fast to prove it’s capital efficient. But what we've seen over the last two years is a flight to safety in terms of capital efficiency and profitable growth, likely because of the tougher economic climate.

The seller is reluctant to share certain information with me – what should I do?

Transparency is critical. You need to know the business you’re acquiring otherwise it’s impossible to evaluate it. First, check your request is reasonable – can you justify needing to know that information now? If it’s super sensitive, the seller might be concerned. 

But generally, a seller who’s holding information back or not being totally open is probably not worth pursuing. Find out what’s behind their reluctance by asking them, and then you can either overcome the issue or abandon acquisition talks.

Any tips for negotiating with sellers stuck on a certain price?

Ask the seller what matters to them beyond price. What are they going to do after the acquisition closes? Would a short transition and all-cash offer help them achieve their goals more than waiting for a better offer? Consider how you might bridge the gap between your expectations and theirs – would they consider seller financing, for example, or an earnout? Have an open, frank discussion about the price and if all else fails, move on to another opportunity. 

What are the red flags in a listing I should watch out for?

Hopefully, you won’t find many red flags after our team has vetted and supported the founder. It’ll likely come down to fit and rapport. Do your goals align? Are they easy to work with? Would you enjoy working with the seller on due diligence and during your transition? If the answer is no, consider whether the business is worth acquiring in spite of your feelings. A little crankiness is understandable when the stakes are high, but if the seller is difficult to work with, imagine what due diligence will be like – and whether you might be better off with another deal.

Any advice for if the seller asks me to move the deal off-platform?

Don’t do it! Moving off-platform means leaving the safety and security of our platform which we’ve designed to protect you from fraud. It doesn’t help the seller either – once they’ve met you on-platform, they’re still due to pay their closing fee whether they close off-platform or not. Politely suggest staying on-platform to retain security and a smooth, safe closing process.

If I’m interested in a listing, what steps come before making an offer?

Assuming you’ve already asked the seller for access to their full listing, the first step is to get on a call to discuss their goals and yours. You can then send an initial, non-binding offer or LOI using our builder to move into the next phase of your acquisition. 

Is it normal for the seller to work with several potential buyers? 

Yes, it’s normal for the seller to consider several buyers and offers for their business. You’re one of over 400k registered buyers, so competition is high for the best listings. That said, it’s not a race to the bottom on price – sellers respect a great many other things like fit, deal structure, transition period, and lots more. And you’ll find 1,000s of other listings if another buyer snaps up your preferred deal. Ensure you’ve entered your acquisition criteria to get matching startups delivered to you instantly so you can move quickly on the best deals.

What are the trends around buying agencies from Acquire?

Although buyers do occasionally acquire agencies on our platform, our biggest market is SaaS. We haven’t reported on agency multiples because there’s not enough data from which to draw any meaningful conclusions. If you’re interested in acquiring an agency, filter the marketplace and review listings using the above principles. Focus on client profiles, renewal rates, revenue repeatability, and so on.  

What advice do you have for working with founders new to navigating a transaction? 

I’d refer them to our acquisition success team for one-to-one coaching. We can explain how acquisitions work, discuss their goals, optimize their listing, and help them gather all the necessary information to share with buyers. Since this usually results in a better exit, they should be happy to speak with us, and it avoids any potential conflict of interest on your side.

How would you advise individual investors using SBA loans? Do sellers only like doing deals with buyers who have cash on hand?

Be honest with the seller about how you’ll finance the transaction. Ask us to verify your funds, which reassures sellers you can acquire their startup. You might also share a loan approval letter or some other documentation. The seller will take you more seriously if you’ve already been approved than if your application is pending. 

Is Acquire a fiduciary? How do you ensure incentives are aligned between yourself and buyers and sellers?

No, Acquire is not a fiduciary.

Do you have advisors, GBP escrow, and an LOI builder that follows UK law?

We don’t have advisors in the UK or a GBP escrow currently (though we might be able to find a suitable escrow partner for you). 

The LOI and APA builders use legal wordings that are usually suitable for all countries. You might need to add UK-specific things, but they’re likely to be minor. To be sure, set the governing law in the builder as the law of whichever UK jurisdiction you reside in.

Who else should buyers bring on to their team to be successful?  

That depends on what you’re comfortable doing on your own. In many cases, you don’t need a team unless you’re unsure of something – a legal issue, for example. You might consult with counsel in that case. Or, you might need a co-operator – someone with skills you lack but need to make the business grow. (Maybe you’re a marketer with no coding experience, for example.) 

Any plans for a monthly option on your membership?

No plans, currently. 

How does valuation vary by company size?

For our latest data on the valuations of recently acquired startups, check our multiples report

Is there a way to see operating expenses per month/quarter/year and so on? Fixed costs core to the business?

Yes, you can ask the founder to share any data missing from their full listing. 

How easy / hard is it to get a loan for some or all of the purchase? What are the going rates for such a loan?

It’s relatively easy to obtain acquisition financing from our preferred partners. Reach out to us at support@acquire.com and we'll help connect you.

I am a sales leader interested in acquiring a business but lack a tech partner to run the stack. Do you guys introduce partners?

No, but you can easily find partners in many of the most popular startup communities like IndieHackers, GrowthMentor, and so on.

How do you establish the growth rate?

You’ll find the growth rate on most listings. To calculate it manually, divide the difference between this year’s and last year’s revenue by this year’s revenue. That’ll give you the percentage growth rate in the startup’s current year. 

What is your experience with low- or no-revenue companies where the technology is the core attractor?

We don’t tend to list pre-revenue businesses since buyers aren’t so keen on acquiring them. The technology has to be extremely useful, the market opportunity extremely convincing, and the asking price extremely reasonable for us to consider listing a pre-revenue business. Other markets such as Flippa and so on are better when revenue is zero or low. Or you could make some money first and achieve a much better exit on Acquire.com.

How do you transfer a website or blog if that’s the only asset?  

Our escrow partner, Escrow.com, can safely escrow domain names. But in any case, you, the buyer, get to inspect and approve assets you’ve acquired before escrow releases your funds to the seller. That way, you only pay once you’ve received and are happy with the assets.

Do you see earnouts often? What type of earnouts? How do they affect the price?

Yes, earnouts are very common. Buyers use them to bridge the gap in pricing expectations by making a portion of the purchase price conditional on performance targets. For example, you might pay 70 percent of the purchase price in cash at closing, but the other 30 percent only if the business achieves its growth targets. 

Sellers aren’t so keen on earnouts as they bind payment to business performance over which they have little control after closing. If you suggest an earnout, the seller is likely to agree if they’re staying on in the business for the duration of the earnout period.

Where can you find the listed date on Acquire.com?

We don’t state time on market on listings because it can skew buyer perceptions. Some startups take a little longer to sell because they’re more complex not because no one’s interested in them, for example. 

That said, we ask sellers to connect their metrics to ensure you’re always viewing real-time data. For those who don’t or can’t connect metrics, we ask them to periodically update the data manually.

Do the net profit numbers that make it through your vetting process typically include paying for the sellers’ work? Or does it assume the sellers work for free?

The profit attached to each listing is net profit (or income). 

Do you review what the seller inputs compared to the actual reports so that buyers/sellers aren’t wasting time?

If we’re working with a seller to help them get acquired, we check that their financials are accurate and up-to-date to the best of our ability. That said, always do your due diligence on listings as we can’t guarantee the financials are accurate. 

You mentioned that SaaS on Acquire has most often been trading at 4-5x TTM profit.  What multiple range have you seen on one-time-pay companies? 

Our multiple reports don’t drill down to pricing models, unfortunately. Our largest market is SaaS, where we also have the most data, and those companies typically use a recurring revenue pricing model. 

How concerned should we be when we see there are already 50+ buyers in conversation on a deal? 

High-demand startups typically involve tens or even over a hundred buyers reaching out for access. Some buyers will move on after seeing the full listing if it doesn’t meet their criteria, and others later when the seller decides not to pursue further talks. 

We encourage sellers to pursue every buyer as if they were THE buyer because you just never know who’s the best candidate until you know. If you’re one of 50 buyers vying for a business, don’t worry about the competition, but show the seller why you’re the best fit.

How can individual buyers win against sophisticated buyers like public companies and PE?

Sellers aren’t concerned with how sophisticated you are but whether they like you, you’re a good fit for their business, and you can offer a deal structure that achieves their goals. 

Yes, PE might have more cash to splash, but not all sellers prize money above everything else. If you get on well and your goals match, you can beat any buyer, sophisticated or otherwise.

I want to acquire a SaaS business but don’t have technical expertise – any tips to get started? 

Without technical expertise, look for low-maintenance, low-complexity businesses. Ask the seller to walk you through a product demo and how to make simple changes. That would tide you over in the short term, but long term, you’ll need to learn the tech stack, find a technical cofounder, or hire a technical employee to squash bugs and develop the product. 

If we see a business worth acquiring at a lower price, is it worth a conversation? 

Absolutely! Sellers aren’t always the best at objectively valuing their businesses. Just as the founder sells the business to you, you must also sell your offer to them. What can you offer beyond the price to convince them the deal is worth taking? How can you help them achieve their acquisition goals or post-closing plans? The seller might accept a lower purchase price in exchange for a quick transition or all-cash offer, for example.

If a business is so simple to run and printing cash, why would the founder sell it?

While making a passive income sounds easy, it’s seldom as easy as it sounds. Delighting customers takes effort. You can only tread water for so long before a bug, competitor, or lack of innovation forces customers away. Not all sellers want the additional work, little though it might be in the short term, when they could focus their full attention elsewhere (like on family or other projects).

What recommendations would you have for European buyers who want to expand a SaaS into North America and other markets?

Research the market. Learn how people behave. How do people in that market experience the problem you’re solving? Who else is solving the problem for them? How can you do it better?

These are just a sample of questions to ask before expanding into a new market. There might also be benefits to incorporating in the new market if that’s where you’re usually based.

Does Acquire.com provide any services to get equity investment from investors or PE?

No, unfortunately. We recommend pursuing the usual channels to raise funds for your newly acquired business.

How does multi-year contract revenue impact multiples?

Buyers currently favor profit multiples when valuing businesses, usually applied to TTM profit. Your revenue is only important if you’re growing extremely fast and reinvesting everything to fuel further growth. A buyer might ask for a quality of earnings report if they’re concerned about multi-year contacts.

We are in the beginning phase of a B2B Saas company with less than 10 paying (and very happy) customers.  Fast forward a few years to set up a sale, what advice do recommend in the early stages of growth to avoid the biggest pitfalls at sale?

Document everything. Your sales process, operations, code, HR, finances – everything. The most common mistake founders make when selling their businesses is not realizing just how much preparation it takes. This can result in them leaving a bad impression on buyers, delaying their acquisition. It also adds stress to an already high-stakes situation, so if you start preparing for exit now, even if you don’t plan to sell for a few years, your exit will be much faster, easier, and more rewarding.

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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