Seattle-based UX and design firm Blink has been acquired by Mphasis, a publicly-traded IT services giant based in Bangalore, India.
Founded 21 years ago, Blink works with companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, NASA, and Starbucks. The firm employs more than 130 people across offices in Seattle, Austin, Boston, San Diego, and San Francisco. It has earned $34 million in revenue so far this year, according to CEO and co-founder Karen Clark Cole.
Blink will retain its name following the acquisition, and all employees are staying aboard.
Founded in 1998, Mphasis reported revenue of more than $1.3 billion for its fiscal year ending March 31. It reached a market capitalization of $4.5 billion last year.
In 2016, Blackstone Group acquired a majority stake in the company from Hewlett Packard.
“The acquisition of Blink, consistent with our M&A focus, is in the forefront of providing well researched design and high impact digital experiences to our clients and their end customers,” Mphasis CEO Nitin Rakesh said in a statement.
Blink grew slowly for years before ramping up. Big corporations recently began knocking on the door, interested in buying Blink. Instead, Clark Cole and co-founder Kelly Franznick launched a strategy to themselves acquire smaller companies, aiming to become the biggest UX business around, Cole told GeekWire last year.
Blink did not raise any outside capital, Cole said.
“Designing products that meet needs, and are friction free, is how we delight customers and enrich their lives with technology,” Clark Cole said in a statement. “We are so thrilled to now have Mphasis’s engineering skills as part of our core, providing end-to-end services for our clients and following our designs through to launch.”
Publicly-traded photography giant Shutterstock has acquired PicMonkey, a Seattle startup founded nine years ago that provides online photo editing and graphic design tools.
Shutterstock paid $110 million in cash for the deal, which will contribute about 3% to the company’s annual revenues and add more than 200,000 subscribers.
Shutterstock, which went public in 2012, reported revenue of $189.9 million for its second fiscal quarter this year, up 16%, and 321,000 subscribers, up 44%.
The New York-based company launched nearly two decades ago. It is known as a global provider of stock photography but also offers creative tools and music/video clips.
Shutterstock said integrating PicMonkey will “further empower our customers, regardless of their skill level or expertise, to create beautiful, best-in-class content with efficiency and ease in just a few clicks.” It estimates the market opportunity for creative software and design tools at $8 billion.
Founded in 2012, PicMonkey targets small businesses and brands with its suite of cloud-based tools. The company said 10 billion images have been made on its platform. PicMonkey’s product will continue to exist for now; its stock photography will now be provided by Shutterstock.
PicMonkey employs around 50 people; all were offered equivalent or better roles with Shutterstock. The startup raised $41 million in 2015 from Spectrum Equity. It is currently led by CEO Frits Habermann, a former exec at Adobe, Lynda.com, and PopCap Games. Chairman Jonathan Sposato, the company’s former CEO, previously helped start another photo-editing tool called Picnik that was sold to Google.
Habermann called the acquisition a “great outcome” for investors. He said he will continue to work with Shutterstock for the near future.
“The explosion of digital marketing and social media has seen a great demand for easy to use and affordable tools for everyday creators, as well as the need for compelling pre-made content and templates for quick and professional-looking solutions,” he told GeekWire. “The combination of PicMonkey with Shutterstock allows us to provide a robust platform that combines visual tools and content that accelerates our current growth and profitability along with expanding into enterprise and international.”
In July, Shutterstock paid $35 million to acquire three AI entities: Pattern89 Inc., Datasine Limited and assets from Shotzr, Inc.
Editor’s note: GeekWire chairman Jonathan Sposato is chairman of PicMonkey.
Opendoor, the online real estate giant that lets people directly buy and sell homes online, has acquired Seattle-based startup Pro.com and San Francisco-based Skylight. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. Both platforms, which offered digital home improvement services, will be discontinued.
“The additions of the Skylight and Pro.com teams will bring on like-minded founders and teammates who care deeply about transforming housing,” Opendoor CEO Eric Wu wrote in a blog post. “While their platforms will be sunsetted, the talent and technology of each team will help us scale and accelerate our roadmap.”
San Francisco-based Opendoor is a leader in the growing iBuyer market that includes others such as Seattle companies Zillow Group and Redfin. They aim to digitize the homebuying experience from start to finish, and take a share of the nearly $2 trillion real estate industry. The pandemic has helped spur an iBuying spree with the acceleration of digital adoption such as virtual tours, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
Opendoor makes money on fees, similar to a real estate commission, as well as the difference between what it buys and sells a home for. It also offers ancillary services including home repairs and mortgage.
The company, which went public last year via a SPAC deal, is now operating in more than 40 markets and acquired a record 8,494 homes in the second quarter of 2021.
The acquisition of Pro.com gives Opendoor a presence in Seattle for the first time; the move could help the company mine talent from Zillow, Redfin, and Compass, which has a sizable operation in Seattle.
Founded in 2013, Pro.com was a tech-powered general contracting platform. It aimed to streamline the home renovation process, such as a pricing engine that makes sure bids are accurate, a mobile-friendly quote tool, and other project management services.
The company’s original mission was to transform the way homeowners find, book and schedule home improvement professionals such as plumbers and painters. But it later pivoted its business model from a home improvement marketplace to a general contractor itself, with a full roster of in-house construction personnel.
More recently, Pro.com released “Benchmark Quote,” which analyzed multiple bids from general contractors.
Pro.com co-founders Matt Williams and Raji Subramanian will join Opendoor as a result of the deal, but some employees will not be transitioning. Opendoor is bringing on more than 50 total employees from both Pro.com and Skylight; Pro.com currently has approximately 70 employees, and Skylight has around 37 employees, according to LinkedIn. Skylight launched five years ago.
Pro.com laid off 52 employees at little more than a year ago, or about a third of its workforce, due to what it described as impacts of home construction from the pandemic.
The startup raised a $33 million round in January 2019. Total funding to date was north of $60 million. Investors include WestRiver Group; Redfin; DFJ (Threshold Ventures); Madrona Venture Group; Maveron; Two Sigma Ventures; Redpoint Ventures; and Bezos Expeditions. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman joined the company’s board after Redfin invested in Pro.com in 2019.
At the time, Williams said Redfin and Pro.com were exploring a partnership for Redfin Now, Redfin’s iBuyer program, to help speed up renovation projects. Now it appears Opendoor is using that strategy.
Williams previously ran Seattle-based LiveBid.com, which was acquired by Amazon in 1999. He stayed at Amazon until 2010 and later spent two years as CEO of Digg before launching Pro.com in 2013. He was inspired after a painful experience remodeling his own home, and watching his stepfather manage a construction firm.
Subramanian worked at Amazon from 1999 to 2006. She did a short stint at Yahoo and launched a engineering outsourcing company called Radien Software.
Tech services giant Intrado has acquired Hubb, a Vancouver, Wash.-based startup that makes technology for virtual and in-person events. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2012, Hubb has been riding tailwinds from the pandemic as companies were forced to move events online. The startup last year quickly expanded into virtual events technology, after focusing largely on in-person events before the pandemic. Its business grew 500% in 2020. Customers include companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, Hubspot, and others.
Founded in 2015, Hubb had raised $9.44 million in funding, according to PitchBook. Its largest funding round was a $6.3 million investment in October 2018, led by Five Elms Capital, with participation from previous investors Oregon Venture Fund and Elevate Capital.
Hubb was ranked No. 119 on the GeekWire 200, our index of the Pacific Northwest’s top privately held companies. The startup has 75 employees who will join Intrado’s Digital Media team. Hubb’s brand will exist for now but will be integrated into Intrado’s tech over time.
Magyar, a veteran of the events industry, will become chief product officer at Intrado as a result of the deal. Intrado, formerly known as West Corporation, was acquired by Apollo Global Management in 2017 for $5.2 billion. It offers various software services across cloud communication, digital media, safety, education, health, and other verticals.
Microsoft announced today that it has acquired Peer5, a Bay Area-based startup that helps companies such as Turner and Deutsche Telekom with large-scale video streaming quality. Microsoft will use Peer5’s mesh networking technology for its Microsoft Teams collaboration software that has surged in usage amid the pandemic and shift to remote work. Peer5’s software is described as a WebRTC-based “Enterprise Content Delivery Networks” solution, or eCDN, that runs in-browser and optimizes bandwidth usage. Founded in 2012, Peer5’s last funding was a $2.5 million seed round raised in 2017.