Bootstrapped Aussie software startup Retail Express has been acquired by Canadian business Maropost, for a total consideration worth more than $55 million.
Founded 15 years ago by chief executive Aaron Blackman, Retail Express is a cloud-based retail management and point-of-sale system.
A former retailer himself, Blackman saw a need for a POS system better placed to help drive business growth.
The bootstrapped business now supports more than 5,000 retailers and has processed more than $50 billion in transactions to date.
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It has also been profitable since year one, Blackman tells SmartCompany.
The acquisition opportunity came at “just the right time” for Retail Express, the founder says. The business still has aspirations for significant growth, and the partnership with Maropost was a fit that would provide the best outcome for both of their respective customers.
What is Maropost?
Founded in 2011, Maropost is a platform designed to help B2C businesses with customer engagement and acquisition.
The business was bootstrapped until 2016 when it reportedly closed a Series A round. The value of the round was not disclosed.
In 2021, Maropost acquired Neto, another Australia-based e-commerce business, for $60 million.
At that time, the Canadian company was reportedly generating CAD$50 million in annual revenues — a figure founder and chief executive Ross Andrew Paquette expected to double again within the year.
In a statement, Paquette noted the “incredible synergies” between Maropost and Retail Express, in terms of customers, technologies and philosophies.
“With these unified strengths, we look forward to a very exciting future together,” he added.
A “truly gratifying” outcome for Retail Express
Having built and scaled his business, living and breathing Retail Express for 15 years, Blackman says achieving an exit like this is “extremely rewarding”.
He puts the businesses success largely down to the talent within the team, and the culture that helped attract and retain top-level talent.
However, he allows himself some pride on a personal level, too.
“There were many dark and fearful days in the beginning where I wished I had a partner or investor,” he says.
“So to see it through a solo founder, uninvested, is truly gratifying.”
For the time being, at least, Blackman will be staying on to head up Retail Express under the Maropost brand. There are also plans to grow the team in Australia.
He is also planning on setting aside some time for giving back to the startup community through mentoring other up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and sharing his achievements and mistakes alike.
“I hope this creates some inspiration for new entrepreneurs that you don’t necessarily need investment to grow a great business,” he says.