Scaleworks has bought SearchSpring, a technology company in the e-commerce space and first acquisition from the San Antonio private equity firm’s second $80 million fund. SearchSpring provides search and navigation technology to direct consumers to the websites of consumer brands using artificial intelligence-powered algorithms.
Gareth Dismore founded the company in 2007 in Denver, CO using private funds to bootstrap its growth. Dismore has deep expertise and experience in software engineering, machine learning, and e-commerce and will leave the company now that is has been acquired.
“After 11 years of operating independently as a bootstrapped company, SearchSpring will now have the backing of a team of technology veterans that share our passion for search, merchandising and helping brands and retailers succeed online,” Dismore wrote.
Scaleworks has named Peter Messana, who has over 20 years’ experience in retail and technology, as SearchSpring’s new CEO. Messana previously worked for GroupBy, Home Depot, and was CEO of Summit Sports/Austin Kayak.
“When I ran Summit Sports/Austin Kayak, the only technology we outsourced was search, it is the most difficult piece of e-commerce,” Messana wrote in Scaleworks’ blog post Thursday. “After learning more about SearchSpring I was very excited with the placement of the product and how it is aligned to SMB, which tend to have the most difficult time competing against the larger e-commerce companies.”
SearchSpring has refined its deep machine learning algorithm over the past 12 years, building quality search experiences for the ever-changing inventory of different companies. They offer online shopping tools and offers reporting and analytics services that small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) typically do not have at an affordable price point. The service starts at almost $500 per month according to its website. Since its founding in 2007, SearchSpring stated it has powered over 9.2 billion searches.
E-commerce sales are projected to skyrocket to $5 billion worldwide by 2021, so incorporating a quality search experience will be instrumental to capturing that growth, Messana wrote. With an overall customer base growth of over 50 percent in 2019, the company has international clients such as Moen, Kate Somerville, Volcom, Wet Seal, and Natori. Competitors include companies such as Swiftype, Algolia, Elasticsearch, and Amazon CloudSearch. SearchSpring specializes in the direct to consumer brands market.
“While Amazon dominates e-commerce in many ways, the rise of the small, direct to consumer player is a massive trend,” Scaleworks general partner and co-founder Lew Moorman stated.
Scaleworks acquired eight businesses with its first fund and has since had three companies exit its portfolio. FollowUp was acquired in May 2018, Assembla was acquired in November 2018, and Scalewworks sold its stake in Mailgun in April.
The company has about 40 employees and plans to stay in Colorado for now. Plans are to hire new employees out of San Antonio, according to Scaleworks’ blog post.
On acquiring SearchSpring, Moorman noted that the company has “great tech with opportunity to enhance the go to market approach. It’s a great size and there is opportunity to specialize.”
Featured image is of a screenshot from SearchSpring, the latest acquisition for Scaleworks. Courtesy image.