And now, Teambuy‘s turn to get in on the buyout action. Where Wagjag and Tuango have been busy all year with acquisitions, other top deal sites in the country have been quiet. Until now. Last week saw the announcement of Deal of the Day/Promo du Jour bought out by Wagjag and Tuango respectively, and this week Teambuy announces that they have purchased Fabfind.
Now, even though Fabfind was not as large an acquisition as Deal of the Day, it is nevertheless significant in a few ways. It gets Teambuy in the acquisition game this year. It secures a well liked brand and a dedicated customer base that Teambuy lacks; professional, high income earning urban women.
So why did Fabfind sell? Probably for several reasons, but it most likely comes down to this: Although Fabfind started off successfully, although they grew the business to become a quality brand across the country, although they had top managerial and executive talent, they simply could not expand beyond what they did without further significant investment in the business. The market for funds, however, was simply not available for them in Canada. They eventually had to sell and move on. This will be the case for many more deal sites over the course of the next year. It is all a healthy sign of a market that is finding its balance. This happens in every hyper growth market. Sales volume for the industry has not dropped, only the competition has dropped.
Back to Fabfind: Fabfind caught my eye right from the beginning. I thought their branding, their name, coulours, site design, their content was bang on. Although like most deal sites, they had a few customer service missteps, the quality of their deals was better than most all others, their customers: both merchants and consumers were dedicated and their team was proud to be building a leading Canadian ecommerce company. Bill Heilmann, Fabfind’s CEO, and the rest of the Fabfind team should be proud of what they built.
Last year, I got an email from Bill, CEO of Fabfind. He basically told me off (in a professional manner) for not covering more modest Deal sites across the country. He was right. Sites like Fabfind, Social Shopper, Buytopia, Citylinked, Maddeal, Dealathons, Gosango, and many others deserve far more “ink”, not only from us but from local and national media. We did what we could and continue to acknowledge the more modest deal sites across the country. There is more that can be done. However, there is just so much any media entity can do if funds are not made available to businesses that seem to have gotten the recipe right. The thing about Fabfind that I will remember most was that Bill Heilmann was always pissed off for the right reasons. He cared. He was certainly not afraid to voice his opinions and disapproval to other Deal site owners across the country that “bent” the rules or that operated in the grey. I remember him defending one of his direct Deal competitors against an attack from another Deal site during a conference we participated at together. He showed industry guts.
So now, Teambuy owns Fabfind. Bill will be moving on to other ventures and Teambuy will be left to figure out how best to extract value from the brand that is Fabfind.
A side note: I personally like the name Fabfind and recommend that Teambuy changes their name to that. Why? 3 reasons; The first: Team buying, Group buying is, well, no longer a concept that is relevant. On most larger sites like Groupon, Living Social, Dealfind, Tuango, Wagjag and Teambuy, the minimum buy is usually surpassed. Second reason: Teambuy does not own their .com name. Third reason: at this point, Teambuy is far more than a Daily Deal site. They have done a great job in becoming a destination for shopping. Consumers go there to shop very much like they do a regular ecommerce store. Teambuy has enough inventory to keep shoppers busy. It is invariably in Teambuy’s future to become a full fledged ecommerce destination. This is where the market is heading for the larger sites. As such, the name Teambuy kind of pigeon holes Teambuy into the group buying space only as opposed to the overall Deals space, ecommerce or Social commerce space…and pegs them to Canada since they only own Teambuy.ca. They will always have local deals, they will also have product deals from others and eventually product deals that they sell themselves. A name like Fabfind just works better as an umbrella brand.
Either that or as they confirmed in their press release just keep Fabfind and run it separately as a more high end deals destination. Kind of like Bloomspot of Canada. As of now, no higher end deals destination exists in this country that is similar to Bloomspot or Gilt City. That is my 5 cents on the topic. I have a few other cents but will leave that for further posts.
Congrats to Teambuy on the acquisition. I would assume that like Wagjag and Tuango, they are not finished with acquisitions this year. (take a look at our unscientific poll on the right column of the site, it shows some of the opinions our audience has in terms of who will be next to sell).
As for Fabfind, it is too bad it could not continue to spread its wings on its own. In this business, in order to lead in the deals business, the online business, it is not enough to have a good business model, good clients, a good exec team or growing sales. Timing very much counts and funding counts a lot. In Fabfind’s case they just did not have luck in either in order to break into the top ten pack in this Country. Perhaps Teambuy will give them another lease on the “Deal life”.