Cloudmark Acquires Bizanga

Anti-spam vendor Cloudmark announced it has acquired Bizanga, which provides messaging software for service providers.

Comments:

  • Helps Cloudmark offer a fuller messaging solution to service providers. That makes sense.
  • Bizanga executed well in a very difficult, highly competitive market.
  • It succeeded in getting some major, high-visibility clients, including Cox Communications.
  • Bizanga investors had extremely high revenue expectations that were probably always unrealistic.
  • Bizanga had taken about $12M in three rounds between 2003 and 2009. The company achieved a lot with that--most others would have eaten through much more.
  • Purchase value guesstimated at $5M to $20M. Bizanga revenues estimated at perhaps $3M or $4M annually; Bizanga never really got into profitability.
  • Very unlikely that investors got a decent return; at best they'll have gotten their money back.
  • Bizanga was a delightfully classy operation, reminding us that Man does not live by bread alone. Its gourmet dinners are fondly remembered by anyone lucky enough to have been invited (including your current interlocutor); its customers-and-us souvenir photo albums were also strikingly elegant.

Does anyone have hard information on the deal cut, and Bizanga's P&L prior to the transaction? Please post here or email david.ferris@ferris.com if you can help--anonymity obviously respected if you want anonymity. Thanks!

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    We received this response from an anonymous source. Usually, our sources identify themselves to me so that I can ensure they’re qualified and not BS-ing. In this case, the sender used an invalid email address and didn’t identify themselves in any way, other than that they were an industry friend. So regrettably we can’t comment on whether this is just a puff response. All things being equal, I’d give the posting a 50/50 chance of being accurate.

    It would be very helpful if the contributor could contact me to identify themselves, then we could remove this caveat and hopefully say something like “From a very reliable source that we know well and trust”. As always, the identity of the person will remain anonymous to anyone except me.
    —David

    Here it is:

    “I read your post but have a few corrections on the acquisition:
    * Bizanga executed to and better than the plan for almost every year (with one exception). The investors saw and agreed to the business plan and yearly forecast, so there was never any “unrealistic” expectations.
    * The company was profitable. In fact, it also had positive cash flow and did not have to sell. The deal just made sense (also in light of the spin-off) and was just very attractive.
    * The investors got a very, very decent return. With investors like the ones Bizanga had, there would not be an exit without a decent return …
    * With all the above, you can guess that the purchase price range you indicated is very much on the “too low” side.”

  2. Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    Another couple of thoughts:

    • We ran the bulletin by Cloudmark prior to publishing it. Cloudmark did not reply. Often that’s a sign that the bulletin’s speculations are more or less on track
    • A “you’re dead wrong” response from a vendor can be a sign of the lady protesting too much

    On the other hand, it’s often lovely to converse with ladies who protest too much. La vita e bella.

    David

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