Deal Sourcing Guide by TBI
The most comprehensive directory of online destinations to source your next acquisition. This latest guide is updated as of August 2021.
The Business Inquirer covers the most interesting tech-enabled business acquisition opportunities. Written for entrepreneurs, search funds, investors, and the curious. It’s completely free and you’re guaranteed to learn something new.
Excited to share the latest “Deal Sourcing Guide by TBI” updated as of August 2021.
In this guide:
New & Upcoming
The Big Ones
The Blue Chips
DFY Deal Sourcing
Groups & Communities
This guide is sponsored by…🥁…me. Well, my startup DueDilio. DueDilio connects business buyers and investors with vetted on-demand due diligence experts. Post project. Review proposals. Hire due diligence expert. Simple and free.
New & Upcoming
SwiftExits - newly launched marketplace for Shopify stores.
Tiny Acquisitions - projects selling for <$5k.
Acquireme - hasn’t launched yet. Been a while. Hopefully still coming. TBD
FlipWP - newly launched marketplace for WordPress businesses.
AcquireBase - a newly launched marketplace for side projects & SaaS apps. I really like their UX/UI.
Microns - Focus on “micro-startups”.
AcquireFlow - UK & Europe-based SaaS, e-commerce, and Amazon FBA.
UniAcquire - young marketplace that is still finding its niche.
The Big Ones
These are all about volume - listings, traffic, transactions.
Flippa - Founded in 2009, this is one of the largest marketplaces for digital assets. Flippa has a reputation for being a bazaar where you may be able to find some great deals but you’ll also see many unscrupulous sellers and listings. Buyer beware. Be extra cautious with your due diligence. Listings include everything and anything. You can find domains, websites, SaaS, apps, e-commerce, services, and other business types. Asking prices vary widely from as low as $300 all the way up to $15M. There is robust filtering to help in your search. They offer a due diligence service along with legal help. It’s worth mentioning that Flippa has introduced some new features to its marketplace recently to help buyers and sellers.
SideProjectors - Founded in 2013, this is a marketplace where people sell their side-projects. There is a large and varied amount of listings with minimal vetting. You can find websites, blogs, e-commerce, SaaS, themes, plugins, and other types of projects. Some of the listings are looking for a co-founder or investor. As is typical with a side-project, the listing price is <$10k and many listings are pre-revenue.
IndieMaker - Similar to SideProjectors but has a higher quality of listings. You can source any type of project including websites, apps, code, domains, SaaS, etc. Large selection but everything is DIY like most marketplaces. Easy to browse, view listings, contact seller. The typical price tag is <$50k.
BusinessesForSale - Founded in 1996 and claim to be the largest broker/marketplace with ~57k listings. You can find online and offline businesses including websites, services, franchises, brick & mortar. In addition to their own deal flow, they aggregate listings from independent brokers. Listing detail often depends on the broker. There is some vetting of listings but not robust and not always reliable.
WebsiteClosers - Founded in 1998, they focus on website properties including e-commerce, affiliate, and other content. Most listings have a detailed qualitative writeup that often reads like a romance novel :)
BizBuySell - Founded in 1996, BBS is one of the oldest and largest online business marketplaces. You can find a mix of direct listings as well as listings posted by local brokers from around the world. With upwards of 45k listings at any given time, you can find a wide variety of listings including online, offline, service, franchises, starter businesses, asset sales, retail stores, real estate, MLM, and more. Prices here vary widely depending on the listing. BBS is best for sourcing offline deals and is popular with a wide variety of acquirers including search funds, PE, and more.
MicroAcquire - Founded in 2020, MicroAcquire is perhaps one of the fastest growing online marketplaces to buy or sell a startup. Originally focused on SaaS, you can now find e-commerce stores, newsletters, websites, mobile apps, and many other types of listings. It’s free to list a business with minimal vetting and hand-holding. MicroAcquire itself is a startup and they are often rolling out new features. I’ve personally purchased a business from MicroAcquire and it was a smooth process.
Benchmark International - Sell-side only broker with offices across three continents. They source the deals directly with a strong focus on offline businesses. You can find listings in a wide variety of sectors from Waste & Recycling to Agriculture. Typically has 200 to 500 listings at any given time. As a full-service broker, they offer a lot of value-add services.
LINK - One of the largest global business brokerages focused on offline businesses. Typically has anywhere from 500 to 1k listings. Very wide range of business types and transaction sizes.
First Choice Business Brokers - Founded in 1994, FCBB is one of the largest business brokers. They have local brokers throughout the US who source deals. The focus here is on traditional offline businesses such as restaurants, manufacturing, services, and more. Full-service broker offering many value-added services.
The Blue Chips
These are quality over quantity. They may not have the largest volume of listings but there is a relatively robust vetting process and many offer M&A advisory services.
FE International - Founded in 2010, they provide brokerage and M&A advisory in the US and UK markets. They do curate their listings and you’ll see higher quality and higher valuations. Not a high volume of listings but you’ll find a variety of content, e-commerce, and SaaS businesses. Typical asking price is $80k - $15M. As a full-service brokerage, they offer a lot of resources and will help you with your acquisition.
Empire Flippers - Established online broker specializing in websites. Curated selection of websites including e-commerce, content, and affiliate. They typically have 80 - 150 listings available. You won’t find any starter websites here as prices range from $35k - $10M. The valuation multiples tend to be on the higher end compared to marketplaces. For the higher multiple, you get full-service transaction management.
Quiet Light Brokerage - Founded in 2006, QLB is one of the most recognized and respected full-service brokers. They typically have 10 - 20 highly vetted listings available at any given time. They specialize in online businesses including e-commerce, content, SaaS, and more. Pricing varies widely from $50k to $15M. They have a nice selection of resources including blogs, a podcast, articles, and guides.
Motion Invest - Co-founded by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits, Motion Invest is a well-respected marketplace specializing in content and affiliate websites. They typically have 10 - 20 websites for sale with a wide range of price points. Easy to use website with a good amount of detail in their listings.
Latona’s - Founded in 2008, this is a boutique M&A broker specializing in cash flow positive digital assets such as websites, e-commerce, SaaS, domains, and more. They typically have 40 to 80 listings at any given time.
SMERGERS - Private network for businesses, investors, acquirers, lenders, M&A advisors, and boutique investment banks. The listings here come directly from sellers as well as participants in their network. There is vetting of all listings. You can find businesses for sale, investment opportunities, business loans, assets for sale, and franchises. Listings mostly include offline businesses but you can find some online businesses as well. Prices range from $40k - $50M and tend to be on the higher end.
Investors Club - Members-only marketplace for buying and selling websites. They typically have 15 - 50 listings at any given time. Highly vetted marketplace that offers a lot of value-add services such as legal docs, transfers, inspection, escrow, and due diligence. Buyers must be verified with proof of funds in order to join. Wide range of pricing from $10k - $300k.
These are niche brokers or marketplaces that focus on a particular geography or type of asset.
Frameswap - Instagram accounts & YouTube channels
barney - Marketing agencies
Shopify Exchange - Shopify stores
Blogs for Sale - Blogs & starter businesses
Letterxchange - Newsletters. Not a lot of listings.
Duuce - Newsletters. A lot of listings.
bizdaq - UK focused marketplace for online businesses
Otonomy - Canadian businesses.
Buy And Sell A Business - Canadian businesses.
Acquisafe - Micro-acquisitions in Europe.
DotMarket - Based in France. Mostly websites.
AIM Digital Group - Advertised as UK’s #1 business brokerage.
AppBusinessBrokers - Mobile apps.
SellMyApp - Mobile apps.
Expired Domains - Domains. Search engine for expired domains.
dentaltown - a publication/community that has dental practices for sale
DDSmatch - dental practice
Car Wash Advisory - car wash business
Accounting Practice Sales - accounting practice
STARK - Brazil lower and middle-market M&A
TradeX - European & Romanian businesses
Car Wash Advisory - US car wash brokers
There a lot of online brokers and marketplaces. These are all great destinations to source your next deal.
Aggregators collect and organize deals from other brokers or marketplaces. Some of this is done through relationships and other times it’s through web scraping. Keep in mind, each aggregator has its limitations.
Centurica Marketwatch - aggregates from major online brokers
PrivSource- online brokers and lower and middle-market deals. affiliate link. I’ll get a few shekels if you sign up.
Axial - lower and middle-market deals
Dealflow MicroAcquisitions - major online brokers
BizNexus - lower and middle-market deals. They offer additional services as well as sourcing deal flow.
Biz Screener - just launched. Aggregate from the usual major marketplaces. Add their own “deal grade”.
Interexo - lower and middle-market deals
DealFeed - content websites
STARK Capital - Brazil lower and middle-market M&A platform. Axial/PrivSource but for Brazil.
DFY Deal Sourcing
Done-for-you deal sourcing services offer to do direct outreach to potential acquisition targets on your behalf. This could include building a list of acquisition targets, reaching out to inquire about a sale, brokering the transaction, and more. Typically used for lower and middle-market as well as corporate transactions. Pricing can range from $1k - $6k a month for this white-glove service.
barney - focused on marketing agencies
Facebook Groups, Newsletters, & Online Communities
The Business Inquirer - This is the newsletter community.
Searchfunder - this one is great for offline businesses. Subscription includes access to a lot of databases, deals, valuation tools, etc. Affiliate link.
Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (EtA) - similar to Searchfunder. There’s a community and some deal flow. I believe it’s free to access using the invite code in the link.
The Website Flip Facebook - great community for website buyers, owners, operators.
The Website Flip Online - amazing content for website buyers, owners, operators.
Alternative Assets - the “Motley Fool” of alternative asset investing. Great newsletter and private online community.
Succession Matching - online community of business buyers, sellers, and succession planning professionals
SMBAcquire - an e-mail newsletter with deal syndication, operator opportunities, and more. Typically for SMB and off-line businesses.
Trends by The Hustle- incredible community of entrepreneurs. Changed my life. Not focused on deal flow but I see more and more members posting deals. Affiliate link.
DueDilio - marketplace connecting business buyers & due diligence experts. Post your project. Review proposals. Hire due diligence expert. Simple and free. Includes articles and free document templates such as asset purchase agreement, due diligence checklist, LOI, NDA, and more. I’m the founder.
MarketplaceApps - enriched data on Shopify Apps, WordPress Plugins, Chrome Extensions, and more.
SourceScrub - a database of bootstrapped companies.
Grata Data - a modern company search engine for proprietary deal sourcing and targeted B2B campaigns
Cyndx - platform for deal origination. Search the world’s largest private company data set for emerging companies, growth opportunities, and investors in any sector.
ContractsCounsel - legal marketplace to source an attorney to help with your legal docs
UpCounsel - legal marketplace to source an attorney for any legal project
ProjectionHub - great resource for financial modeling. They have tons of templates you can purchase to do financial analysis and projections for most businesses.
Interexo Brokers - extensive directory of local brokers.
Paratus Business Resources - launched in 2020, PBR helps buyers and sellers of Mainstreet businesses. For sellers, they have DIY software for valuation and CIM creation. For buyers, they help them source traditional SMB acquisitions.
Unconventional Acquisitions- course by Codie Sanchez on how to buy small businesses. Haven’t heard any reviews on this one but Codie knows what she’s doing.
Micro Acquisitions - Ryan Kulp’s course on how to buy, grow and sell small companies. Have heard good things about this one.
Acquisition Lab - an 8-week course designed to help searchers accelerate the process of acquiring a business. Heard good things.
INDIE PE - a micro-PE course by Colin Keeley who’s the founder of Verne, a SaaS PE firm. The course goes over sourcing, closing, growing, and selling a business. Includes legal docs and other material. Great value from an experienced investor.
Financial Due Diligence Course - this course just launched and is from Pierre Heurtebize who runs a PE fund focused on SaaS. It’s interesting because it focuses on the area that is most difficult for people - finance.
ETA Twitter - I created a list on Twitter of folks in the entrepreneurship-through-acquisition (ETA) space. It’s not a big list. It’s not a complete list. It’s a work in progress.
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