Skip to main content

A Denver private equity firm has bought a controlling stake in Vancouver’s Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc. for $52-million.

Crest Rock Partners picked up between 69 per cent and 75 per cent of the 11-year-old marketing automation software company in the deal, with early investors receiving about two-thirds of the total for their shares and the balance going into the company, according to sources familiar with the deal. 

Unbounce managed to secure the same terms it had negotiated with Crest Rock prior to the pandemic shutdowns in March, although the deal only closed last Friday. Unbounce co-founder and CEO Rick Perreault declined to confirm the terms of the deal.

Story continues below advertisement

Unbounce’s software allows small and medium-sized merchants to create dedicated landing pages on the internet that prompt visitors to buy their products and services. The 200-person company, which generates US$24-million in annual revenue, is “the clear market leader in conversion optimization” – maximizing the number of website visitors who become revenue-generating customers – said Crest Rock partner Steve Johnson in a statement.

The Vancouver company, one of the city’s largest startups by employee count, had previously raised less than $1-million in outside equity funding. But as private equity investing hit record levels in recent years, successful tech startups such as Unbounce were overwhelmed with unsolicited entreaties from private capital firms.

The company, which has seen revenues increase about 20 per cent annually, began hearing from private equity firms two years ago – about the time its founders decided to invest in building machine learning-powered bots to help its time- and cash-starved customers pinpoint which types of landing pages – it offers more than 100 options – and marketing approaches would maximize their returns.

“That for us was a pivotal moment where we started focusing on evolving the business from a productivity tool to a solution that would allow small businesses in an increasingly competitive world … get the highest conversion rates possible,” Mr. Perreault said in an interview.

“There was definitely an appetite to move faster. It was about finding a partner who could help us accelerate growth” and whose values were similar to the company’s, he said. “That led to the decision” to sell control to Crest Rock. Mr. Perreault will remain CEO; chief revenue officer Felicia Bochicchio has been appointed president.

Mr. Perreault co-founded Unbounce in 2009 after noticing a lack of options in the market for non-technical small business people to build simple, targeted web pages that could increase their sales. Unbounce, which says its product has been used to convert more than a billion web visits into transactions, now operates in an increasingly crowded field of online marketing automation tool providers, including Mailchimp, HubSpot and Instapage. As such, it must contend with much higher customer turnover than subscription software companies serving corporate and government customers.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies