Few days ago, WordPress’ parent company Automattic acquired WooThemes, the leading WordPress theme and plug-in provider best known for its flagship product WooCommerce, the world’s most popular eCommerce plug-in for WordPress. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg and WooThemes co-founders Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester officially confirmed that Automattic has acquired the entire “Woo” brand including all its themes and plug-ins.
Although none of them have yet shared the actual value of the deal, but sources say this cash and stock deal is worth around $30 million. In his interview with VentureBeat, Mullenweg said that Woo acquisition is six times larger than anything the company has done till date. He also clarified that WooCommerce is now the third major line for Automattic after Jetpack and WordPress.com, which the company is best known for.
17 Acquisitions Made by Automattic Yet
However, this is not the first time when Automattic has acquired something. In the past too, it has acquired several people, products, services and businesses. Let’s take a look back at all Automattic’s acquisitions.
Gravatar, which stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, is a free service that provides globally unique avatars for users, developers and site owners. Created by Tom Preston-Werner, Gravatar was acquired in October 2007 by Automattic.
BuddyPress is popular open-source social network software created by Andy Peatling. In March of 2008, Automattic hired Peatling as a full-time employee and acquired the BuddyPress.
A feature-rich commenting system, created by Jon Fox and Isaac Keyet, was acquired by Automattic in September 2008.
Founded by David Lenehan in 2006, Polldaddy is a polling and survey software that was acquired by Automattic in October 2008.
Founded by Jim Winstead in 2002, the ping-update service was first bought by Yahoo! in 2005 and later transferred to Automattic in 2009.
After the Deadline
A grammar, style and spell checking service created by Raphael Mudge and acquired by Automattic in September 2009. Since June 2012, ATD is available as a module in Jetpack.
Plinky, created by Thing Labs, is a service that lets users easily create inspired content. Automattic acquired Plinky in June 2010.
A popular WordPress backup and security service that was founded by Peter Butler in 2010 and eventually joined Automattic in December 2012.
In January 2013, Automattic acquired Simperium, a data syncing service founded by Fred Cheng and Mike Johnston in 2010, along with its popular note-taking app called Simplenote.
A blogging app for iOS that was developed by Tom Witkin and bought out by Automattic in June 2013. After the acquisition, the app is no longer available for purchase.
Lean Domain Search
In July 2013, Automattic acquired Lean Domain Search, a domain name generation and registration service founded by Matt Mazur in 2012.
A free file-sharing service founded in 2010 by Guillermo Rauch and Thianh Lu. In September 2013, Cloudup joined the Automattic family to improve media library and co-editing features of WordPress.com.
Founded by Mark Armstrong in 2009, Longreads service is dedicated to help users discover and share the best long-form stories online. In April 2014, Longreads joined Automattic.
Acquired by Automattic in April 2014, Scroll Kit is a powerful visual editor founded in 2011 by Cody Brown and Kate Ray.
In August 2014, Automattic acquired Parka – the company behind popular security tool BruteProtect – to make WordPress more secure than ever. Sam Hotchkiss, who calls himself open source traveler, founded Parka in 2013.
Code For The People
A UK based WordPress development company with six employees was acquired by Automattic in November 2014. According to Mullenweg, CFTP’s Babble plug-in was the key part of this acquisition.
And now, WooThemes joined Automattic Family!
Why Did Automattic Acquire WooThemes?
Obviously, the main purpose of this acquisition is to bring eCommerce functionality to the WordPress. In the past few years, WooThemes established itself as a key player in the eCommerce space – where WordPress still lags far behind its rivals like Magento, Shopify, Squarespace and Wix. Like WordPress, not only WooThemes has developed an active community around its signature product WooCommerce but also fulfilled eCommerce requirements of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Let’s take a look at following interesting statistics:
- Recently, the WooCommerce plug-in passed 7 million downloads and 1+ million active installs, which itself is a really big thing.
- According to BuiltWith’s Ecommerce Usage Statistics, WooCommerce has been overtaken Magento, not only in the entire internet (24.56%) but also in the top million sites (19.64%).
- WooThemes itself confirmed that WooCommerce now powers more than 600,000 eCommerce websites – that’s more than 24% of the online store space.
- According to Magnus Jepson, Co-founder of WooThemes, WooCommerce makes up over 85% of their overall sales and processes.
- Above all, WooCommerce is one among the most popular plug-ins in the WordPress’ database.
- It’s now being used by many reputable websites – like Small Press Expo and Internet Systems Consortium – which regularly get a huge amount of traffic.
All these statistics make one thing clear: WooThemes now has prominent reputation in eCommerce world and there is no better complement than WooCommerce for Automattic to make WordPress more competitive against other eCommerce platforms. That’s the only reason; Automattic acquired WooThemes instead of building their own in-house eCommerce solution.
How Would the Acquisition Affect the Future of WordPress?
According to W3Techs’ CMS usage statistics, WordPress (either self-hosted or hosted) dominates nearly 24% of the entire web. As Automattic is working toward reaching a 51% CMS market share, WooThemes acquisition would definitely play a vital role in expanding WordPress capabilities. For years, WordPress has been working on publishing and now taking over WooCommerce, it will be focusing more on selling in future.
Automattic is currently staffed with 325 employees spread across 37 countries; on the other hand, WooThemes has 55 smart eCommerce focused employees distributed across over 16 countries. With the merger of WooThemes, Automattic owns a powerful team of 380 people who will be working together to take WordPress eCommerce to new heights. Concretely, bringing 55 talented people into the company provide users more accessibility to run an independent eCommerce store.
What Does It Mean for Existing WooThemes Customers & Products?
No, not at all! Regardless of which WooThemes product (theme, plug-in or anything else) you’re using, everything including your licenses will continue as usual as before and therefore, there’s no cause for you to be worried. Although in the next few months, you can expect some improvements to WooCommerce from Automattic because their focus for now is to make the plug-in as easy to install, integrate and use as possible.
When asked about bringing WooCommerce to WordPress.com, Mullenweg asserted that it won’t happen until next year. He also clarified that WooCommerce will neither be merged into the WordPress core nor be rolled into the Jetpack. It works great as a plug-in and needs a lot of improvements to be made. Besides, he assured that the Sensei courseware plug-in will also get special attention and extra resources from Automattic since the Woo team is extremely passionate about it.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, WooCommerce’s acquisition is the biggest and most profitable deal so far in the world of WordPress and it certainly would prove to be an amazing milestone for the Automattic. Rather than starting everything in-house, the company decided to go to the route of acquisition – because they know talent acquisition is much easier than recruiting – which is a very wise business decision.
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