Five Aussie startups acquired for more than $100 million in 2021

A Cloud Guru startups acquired

A Cloud Guru co-founders Sam and Ryan Kroonenburg. Source: Supplied.

Activity in Australian mergers and acquisitions is continuing to ramp up, and with news emerging today of CitrusAd’s $200 million sale, valuations are on the rise too.

According to data from Crunchbase, 229 private companies headquartered in Australia have been acquired in 2021 to date.

Those include those deals where the value of the acquisition was not disclosed. The terms of Queensland startup Clipchamp’s sale to Microsoft in September, for example, were not released.

Here, we’re talking about businesses that were privately held before they were acquired, meaning we’re leaving out Afterpay’s mammoth $39 billion sale to Square, impressive though it was.

Here are five Aussie startups that have been acquired in $100 million-plus deals in 2021 so far.

CitrusAd

Founded in 2017 by former AFL player Brad Moran, CitrusAd has been acquired by French advertising giant Publicis Group for a reported $202 million.

The acquisition was first announced back in July, but the impressive valuation has only just been disclosed.

CitrusAd is a Software-as-a-Service platform designed to help brands boost their marketing on e-commerce sites. When it was sold, the business reportedly had more than 70 clients, while 4000 brands used its self-service platform.

“We want to build this into a beast of a business, and we needed some extra muscle to do it,” Moran reportedly said.

Quantium

In April, Australian supermarket giant Woolworths acquired a majority stake in data analytics startup Quantium, increasing its holding from 47% to 75%, in a transaction worth $223 million million.

The deal valued Quantium at almost $800 million, a significant increase on its 2013 valuation, when Woolies paid $20 million for almost half of the business.

In a statement, Quantium co-founder and chief executive Adam Driussi said the acquisition allows the team to further build out its retail analytics capabilities, “while accelerating our vision to be the world’s most respected and impactful data science and AI partner”.

Invoice2Go

Aussie accounting tech startup Invoice2Go was acquired with little fanfare in early September, selling to NYSE-listed Bill.com for about US$625 million ($843.5 million).

The transaction was made up of 75% in Bill.com common stock, and 25% cash.

The acquisition allowed Bill.com to expand its financial support offering for SMEs, bringing in Invoice2Go’s payable and receivables capabilities.

Invoice2Go chief executive Mark Lenhard said he and his team have “long admired [Bill.com’s] dedication to serving SMBs and helping them with their digital transformation journeys”.

Task

In August this year, Australia family-run tech company Task was acquired by New Zealand marketing software company Plexure Group for $120 million.

The bootstrapped transaction management platform was founded 20 years ago by Jennifer and Kym Houden, who built the business out of the family garage.

At the time of the sale, it was run by their sons, Daniel and Dean Houden, who acted as chief executive and chief operating officer, respectively.

“It’s a great opportunity for the company, and especially our two boys, to grow and be part of a publicly listed company,” Jennifer Houden told SmartCompany at the time.

A Cloud Guru

Also in June, IT up-skilling platform A Cloud Guru announced it was to be acquired by US company Pluralsight.

While the value of the transaction wasn’t officially disclosed at the time, it has since been confirmed the sale was for more than $2 billion, making it one of the biggest ever acquisitions of a private Australian company.

The deal was a big win for a fast-growing Aussie business, but it wasn’t immediately welcomed by A Cloud Guru customers, who were concerned about the business losing its personal touch, and disruption to their price plans.

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