There are two ways to buy an online business, either through an intermediary (aka a Broker) or direct.
For buyers, The nice thing about buying through a broker is that you know the owner wants to sell; the problem is it creates an auction experience and you might end up with Winner’s Remorse.
Ideally, if you know exactly what kind of business you want to buy, you should find them and reach out to them. It’s harder but you’ll get better prospects over time. I will eventually write a post about the various tools you can use to better find them, but until then Ryan Kulp does a good job in his MicroAcquisition course [disclosure:affiliate, but I also bought it when it came out and I think it’s pretty good if you’re just starting to get your feet wet].
Alright, enough with the words. Here’s a pretty good list of brokers, most of them deal in the up to $5 million sweet spot but sometimes go a bit higher. If you’re looking to spend more money I assume you have an M&A department who knows all the IB people in the space; if not and you need specific intros get in touch.
I am not endorsing anyone on this list and do not receive compensation. I know a lot of these people, I’ve broken bread with many of them but caveat emptor always applies.
In other words: Do your own Damn Due Diligence before doing a deal.
Online Business Brokers:
There are probably more, if you’re a broker and want to be listed here just let me know. These are listed in no particular order.
- Quiet Light Brokerage :One of the oldest, their inventory trends to more ecommerce/FBA and content sites but strong buyer list. Strong focus on SBA-underwritable companies.
- FE International: Strong mix of affiliate and SaaS. (Old school trivia: FE stands for Flipping Enterprises, before they went more upmarket). Runs the gamut of tiny affiliate sites to multi million dollar SaaS listings.
- Digital Exits:Kind of a weird mix, mostly ecommerce but sometimes saas. The owner, Jock, is also an operator of other online companies.
- Digital Acquisitions:Strong SaaS and Content sites.
- Deal Flow Brokerage:This is Flippa’s attempt at running a brokerage.
- Website Closers: Mostly ecom, occasionally SaaS.. They seem to work on volume and run a huge range between tinier sites to stuff listed in the 8 figure range.
- Acquisitions Direct:Mostly Ecommerce, listings tend to be more sporadic.
- Acquisition Station:Strong mix of SaaS and Ecom
- Alpha Investors:New group that is sort of a broker but not? Just launched, maybe trying to be a paid version of Flippa
- Flippa:I went back and forth about listing them, just because everyone has heard of them.. I have a love/hate relationship with Flippa: mainly I hate them but every blue moon there is a diamond in the rough. Primarily a very non transparent marketplace with a load of shifty players and crap sites that I think neophytes should stay away from. Caveat Emptor.
- Latona’s: Latona’s has a really eclectic mix but always worth taking a look. [Trivia: Rick Latona, the founder, is a Domainer and was a Domain Broker before adding online companies to the mix]
- Website Properties: They have a weird mix of stuff as well, but I always feel like their stuff tends to be overpriced compared to the rest of the market. Worth taking a look anyways.
- The FBA Broker – If you thought being an online broker was niche enough, think again! Coran Woodmass runs this broker that specializes in, you guessed it, FBA [fulfilled by Amazon] businesses.
- Upward Exits – Newer group. Most of their listings seem to be e-commerce/FBA oriented.