The Business Inquirer #013
In this week's issue I highlight resources for deal sourcing, due diligence, and legal work.
Every week I highlight interesting online businesses which are for sale adding my own commentary. This newsletter is for those who are interested in business, finance, and entrepreneurship. Subscribe below to receive it directly in your inbox.
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In this week’s issue:
Deal Sourcing - Marketplace List
Due Diligence - Technical & Non-Technical
Event Announcement - Opportunities from Micro-PE
We’re seeing a rise in micro-PE. Seemingly everyday there are new funds being formed to acquire digital assets in the $500k - $2M range. This growth in micro-PE will affect digital asset prices as well as create opportunities for entrepreneurs. Please join us in Clubhouse as we discuss this important trend and how to capitalize on it.
When: Saturday January 30th, 3pm ET
Where: Clubhouse (https://www.joinclubhouse.com/event/Gxo2eR5P)
💵 Deal Sourcing - Marketplace List
I receive a lot of requests for a list of business brokers and marketplaces. Below is a relatively comprehensive list of where to source deal flow and a few quick notes on the big ones. It’s divided into The Big Ones, The Blue Chips, Niche, Others, and Facebook Groups & Communities.
The Big Ones
Flippa - This is flea market #1. Largest amount of listings but absolutely no curation or due diligence done on any of the listings. Some sellers do connect their GA and Stripe accounts but not all. You really have to be careful here. Like in any flea market, you can find some great deals here but you’ll have to spend a lot of time filtering. Listings include domain, content, SaaS, apps, ecommerce, and affiliate properties. Typical asking price is $1k - $1M. Today, this is the most popular platform to acquire a website.
SideProjectors - Flea market on the other side of town - #2. This is a marketplace where people sell their side-projects. It has a lot of listings and no vetting. You can find websites, blogs, ecommerce, SaaS, themes, plugins, and other types of projects. Some listings are looking for a co-founder. Typical pricing is < $10k.
IndieMaker - Flea market #3. Similar to SideProjectors but a bit higher quality of listings. You can buy any type of project here including websites, apps, code, domains, SaaS. Large selection but everything is DIY like the other two flea markets. Easy to browse, view listings, contact seller. Typical pricing is <$50k
BusinessesForSale - Founded in 1996. Claim to be the largest marketplace with ~57k listings. Listings includes online, brick & mortar, service, and franchise. They list businesses from many local and smaller brokers in addition to their own. Listing detail really depends on the broker. A lot of listings but they have features to help you sort through them. There is some vetting of the listings but not always reliable.
WebsiteClosers - Founded in 1998. Focus on website properties including ecommerce, affiliate/content. Most listings have a detailed qualitative writeup which is a nice feature. They’ll help you with DD. Good case studies and resources. Typical asking price is $50k - $3M.
The Blue Chips
FE International - Founded in 2010, they provide broker and M&A advisory in US and UK. They do curate their listings and you’ll see higher quality and higher valuations. Not a large marketplace but includes content, ecommerce, SaaS, and affiliate properties. Typical asking price is $10k - $5M. Not many DIY features but they’ll help you with any questions and acquisition. Excellent blog and other resources. Full service brokerage.
Empire Flippers - Curated collection of listings including ecommerce, content, and affiliate properties. Not a large marketplace (~80 listings) but easy to use with clear listings and data. You won’t find starter websites here. Feels like they price their listings higher than other brokers but they do offer higher quality listings. Full-service brokerage. Typical listing is $50k - $2M.
Quiet Light Brokerage - Highly curated collection of listings. Typically has 3 - 8 listings at any given time. Can find ecommerce, affiliate, and SaaS properties. Typical listing price is > $1M. White glove service as they’ll help you source, negotiate, and acquire a listing. Excellent podcast.
Motion Invest - Vetted marketplace of content/affiliate websites. Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits is a co-founder. Easy to use with a lot of detail in the listings. Typically has 3 - 10 listings priced anywhere from $5k - $200k.
Investors Club - Vetted listings with good detail. You have to become verified to view full listing details. Focus is on content/affiliate websites.
Latona’s - Vetted cash-flow positive online businesses. Wide variety of listings including content/affiliate, ecommerce, domain, lead gen, membership, SaaS. Does have overlap with some other marketplaces. Typical listing is $300k+. Good blog and podcast.
SMERGERS - Vetted marketplace of middle market businesses. Over 6,000 listings including online and offline businesses globally. Some listings are looking for investment or debt. Full service brokerage. Great resources and blog.
Fameswap - Instagram accounts & YouTube channels.
Shopify Exchange - Shopify. As the name implies, this is a Shopify owned marketplace. All data is verified directly from Shopify.
SwiftExits - Shopify. Pre-launch currently.
Blogs for Sale - Blogs.
Letterxchange - Newsletters. Not sure how this marketplace is doing as I’ve only seen one listing here.
Duuce - Newsletters. Unless I’m missing something, this is the largest newsletter marketplace right now.
MicroAcquire - SaaS. They started with a focus on SaaS but I do think they’ve expanded their listings in the last few months. Costs $250/year to subscribe but worth it if you’re really in the market for a business. I’ve purchased a business here and it was a smooth transaction.
bizdaq - UK. Includes online and offline.
DotMarket - France. Mainly websites.
AIM Digital Group - UK. Not a lot of listings but they’ll help you source a deal.
AppBusinessBrokers - Apps.
Fliptopia - Apps. Owned by Apptopia.
SellMyApp - Apps.
Expired Domains - Domains. Search engine for expired domains.
Centurica - this one is an aggregator from all the other marketplaces. They do offer due diligence and M&A advisory.
PrivSource - middle market M&A
Facebook Groups & Communities
The Business Inquirer (our community)
MicroAcquire - by MicroAcquire
Flipping Websites - by Investors Club
namePros - for domains
DNForum - for domains
Domain Names - for domains.
The best deals can be sourced by directly contacting the potential seller without using a brokerage/marketplace. This isn’t something you’ll read in any of the blog posts on brokerage websites.
✔ Due Diligence - Technical & Non-Technical
It goes without saying that you must always do your own due diligence. Even if you purchase an asset from one of the full-service brokers, always look over the numbers and make sure that 1) they look reasonable, 2) you understand them, 3) it aligns with your purchase criteria. In the future I’m going to create a comprehensive due diligence guide/checklist.
There are many options to get help with due diligence process.
DueDilio - an UpWork style marketplace specifically to find and hire on-demand due diligence experts. Hire experts for any type of transaction and budget.
Below are some other resources…
Technical Due Diligence
FastCTO - I’ve used them myself to vet a technical co-founder. They will connect you with a highly experienced CTO who will help you do technical due diligence - for free.
Rapid Diligence - Focused on website due diligence for all types of websites -- currently offer operational, financial, and technical due diligence, and validate information live with brokers and sellers. They also offer complete code and tech stack due diligence for software/SaaS acquisitions. Package prices from $200 - $2,500. Free initial consultation
Non-Technical Due Diligence
Me - I’m happy to chat and give you my thoughts on an acquisition. Do not use me as your only source.
Centurica - priced anywhere from $1k - $5k. These guys have three packages you can choose from and they’ll help you with full due diligence.
Alternative Assets - Stefan runs the excellent Alternative Assets newsletter and offers a due diligence service. He heads product and due diligence for Flippa so he knows his stuff. Pricing is anywhere from $1k - $2k depending on the package.
Content Works - based in the UK but they’ll help anyone globally.
Having an extra set of eyes to look over the numbers is never the wrong choice.
⚖ Legal - “Protect Yo Self”
In deal making there’s a popular saying - “You name the price, I’ll set the terms”. Setting the terms is just one of many reasons why the legal aspect of any acquisition or relationship is so important. Below are a few tools and resources which are helpful with legal side of things.
Avodocs - a great collection of free legal forms for startups. Includes forms like LOI, NDA, MSA, MOU, etc. For a small fee you can customize these forms.
Upwork - yes, you can hire a lawyer or legal researcher on Upwork. I needed some help with legal research and drafting a legal opinion and found someone very reasonable on Upwork for about 1/25th the price of a law firm. The contractor did a nice job.
UpCounsel - similar to Upwork but specifically focused on legal. For my last acquisition I was able to find a lawyer to draft an asset purchase agreement on this platform for about 1/6th of the price. Yes, my wife is an attorney so those ratios are pretty exact :)
Avvo - this is like the Yelp for lawyers. You can post a job and get replies. Never used them but it’s a good place to check lawyer ratings.
Lastly, I’ll share the same advice that I received a long time ago and has served me well: the two areas you should never, ever go for the cheapest option are lawyer & accountant.
That’s all for this issue of The Business Inquirer!
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Important Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided for informational & educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as personal, legal, business, investment, or tax advice. This newsletter may link to other websites and certain information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified. The Business Inquirer makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. References to any persons, companies, securities, or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any personal, business, tax, or investment decisions. Content in this newsletter speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.