This is technology M&A deal number 748 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2021. See all technology M&A deals for 2021 and 2020 listed here.
ConnectWise Buys SmileBack: Details and Implications for MSPs
SmileBack has 14 employees listed on LinkedIn. Co-founder and CEO Jamison is a familiar name in the MSP sector, having launched, built and sold multiple companies in the IT services provider sector. Also, SmileBack Managing Director Andrew Wallace has expansive experience in the MSP sector. Wallace will continue to lead the SmileBack team as the senior director of product management, a ConnectWise spokesperson tells ChannelE2E. Jamison, meanwhile, is involved in multiple startups and is not joining ConnectWise.
SmileBack develops surveying and reporting tools to help MSPs gauge and improve customer experience. The overall goal is to help MSPs measure and improve customer satisfaction, net promoter scores and retention.
SmileBack already integrates with ConnectWise Manage, and will remain available as a standalone product. Watch for SmileBack capabilities to also surface in the ConnectWise Asio platform, which is essentially a software foundation that all ConnectWise applications will eventually leverage.
The acquisition surfaces two weeks after the ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2021 conference, during which ConnectWise vowed to build its next-generation RMM platform on an Asio code base. At the same time, CEO Jason Magee also vowed to improve customer service to MSPs.
ConnectWise Acquires SmileBack: Executive Perspectives
In a prepared statement about the SmileBack deal, Chris Timms, EVP of growth, ConnectWise, said:
“With quantitative and qualitative customer insights, our IT solution provider partners can improve the efficiency of their operations, retain more customers, and go to market more effectively. The immediate visibility into customers’ perceptions is important for recognizing what businesses are doing right and where improvement is needed. The acquisition of SmileBack is a logical and natural evolution of our existing relationship, and we look forward to bringing SmileBack into the ConnectWise Asio Platform to help our partners achieve greater levels of success in their business. SmileBack’s customer experience solution helps inform and optimize business operations. After every service transaction, SmileBack puts customers one click away from one of three emojis that will unlock a world of increased customer loyalty, boosted morale and higher retention."
Added Andrew Wallace, managing director, SmileBack:
“ConnectWise is the clear leader in our market and we are excited about expanding our collaboration. Our instant surveying, data analysis and reporting capabilities complement ConnectWise’s already robust platform and will help our shared partners further improve their business operations and increase client retention through better understanding of their customer relationships.”
ConnectWise Acquisitions and Software Priorities
ConnectWise, backed by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, has extensive acquisition experience. Moreover, the company had roughly $200 million available for potential tuck-in acquisitions as of September 2021, Fitch Ratings estimated.
Over the past year, however, ConnectWise has spent considerable time focused on improving its code base and moving software micro-services to the Asio platform. In some ways, that work is mature since some Asio code comes from the Continuum acquisition. In other ways, the work remains in its infancy since most ConnectWise products don't yet leverage the Asio code base.