Buyer Profile: Atlassian

Each month we profile active buyers of SMB-focused startups. While we may know the buyers well, the information used in these posts only contain publicly available information.

This month, we are taking a look at Atlassian as an acquirer. Check out our previous buyer profiles for Groupon, Deluxe, GoDaddy, Sage and Intuit.

From being a bootstrapped company in 2002 to a massive, publicly-traded unicorn, Atlassian is really a story of two Aussie entrepreneurs becoming Titans in their own right. The company was initially funded by a $10,000 credit card loan, with the founders Scott Farquhar and Michael Cannon-Brookes subsiding on crumbs while they tried to make it big in New York.

After raising a round eight years later from Accel Partners for $60M, the company grew and became a goldmine. It went public on the NASDAQ in December 2015 at a valuation of $4.4B USD. Today the company has a market cap of $5.7B.

Atlassian is the company behind Jira, the project management tool, and HipChat, the struggling team collaboration competitor against Slack. In addition, the company also has a suite of other solutions including Confluence, Jira Service Desk, SourceTree, StatusPage, and more. The company has over 12 product lines featuring~ 2,500 add-ons.

Atlassian has been in the news a large amount recently for its acquisition of Trello (everyone’s favorite project management app) for $425M. However, the company has had an interesting history of acquisitions, starting even before its IPO.

Here is a look at its acquisitions by year:

The acquisitions first started following the $60M cheque from Accel in 2010. The first transaction was for Bitbucket, a web based hosting service for projects founded in 2008. 2014 was the most active year in acquisitions, but it’s unlikely the company will stop as it continues to aggressively push into the collaboration space.

Here is a look at the acquisitions by location:

While the majority of Atlassian’s acquisitions have been in the United States (60%), the remainder are European. In fact, all 3 of the acquisitions in 2014 and the one in 2015 were European. Two of those 4 deals were file management, the others were collaboration and project management.

Here is a look at acquisitions by type:

It’s clear that Atlassian has a clear long term trajectory and knows what to acquire to supplement that. In the past 2 years, 75% of the acquisitions have been in the collaboration & team communication space. Previously, as Jira was the primarily bread and butter of the firm and was oriented towards engineering teams, application software that enabled tech development was the main focus.

Here’s a look at the acquisitions by funding status

Amongst the ten acquisitions, 7 were VC backed. Of which, 5 had disclosed funding amounts averaging $3.6M raised total. While Trello was clearly the largest acquisition to date, it surprisingly only had raised one round historically. The company raised a total of $10.3M in a Series A from Index Ventures and Spark Capital in 2014 at a valuation of $50M.

Here’s a look at the acquisitions by size:

Nothing much to say here except that Atlassian is not very forthcoming on how much they are spending to acquire companies. Besides Trello, the only other disclosed deal was for Tape.io for the amount of $7.5M. Similarly, it’s worth noting that because most of these acquisitions were small, for relatively young companies without much financial backing, it really wouldn’t have cost an arm and a leg for the mighty Titan.

Here’s a look at the acquisition by age:

While many of our previous profiles broke down the age of the companies by increments of 5, none of Atlassian’s acquisitions broke the six year old mark. This makes sense, as collaboration software for teams didn’t get hot until the late 2000’s.

Most Recent Acquisitions:

Source: Pitchbook.com

Of the last five acquisitions, the only one with a disclosed price was Trello. Atlassian paid $425M USD for the collaboration tool, $360M of which was in cash and the remainder in stock. Trello’s 100-or-so employees will be joining the Atlassian team.

Looking Forward…

It’s clear that this workplace collaboration and project management space is heating up. With Facebook launching Workforce, Microsoft buying Yammer, and Slack growing like a weed, Atlassian is well positioned to compete.

As Atlassian tries to compete with Slack, it’s the new cool thing to do for startups to write blogs about trying both (see Crew’s aptly named website, slackvshipchat.com). In almost all of these head-on battles, Atlassian’s HipChat comes out bloodied and beaten. Furthermore, Microsoft was in talks to acquire Slack at an $8B valuation in March of 2016, already exceeding the market cap of the entirety of Atlassian. With Workplace still in its infancy, and Microsoft realizing its offerings are in need of a revamp, the market is still yet to be set. Expect to see some more consolidation in this space.

At SurePath Capital Partners we help startups raise the capital needed to become market leaders. When the time is right, we help our clients achieve profitable, deliberate exit strategies. We only work with startups in the SaaS, e-commerce and marketplace segments. Across those segments we have a deep focus on companies serving the global SMB market. Say hello:info@surepathcapital.com