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Behind the Scenes of the Nextopia and Searchspring Merger

Written by: Jessica Farrelly

Article // February 4, 2020

Today’s announcement of the Searchspring and Nextopia merger marks a new beginning in the ecommerce space, but the path that led both companies here is over 10 years in the making.

Searchspring was founded by Gareth Dismore and Scott Zielinski in 2007. They opened their first office in Colorado Springs in 2009, often referred to as the ‘Quick Quack office’ thanks to the neighboring car wash of the same name. They relocated to larger premises in 2013 to accommodate the expanding team, and acquired a ping pong table to solidify their status as a growing software company. A second location in Denver opened the following year.

Founded in 1999 by Sanjay Arora, Nextopia’s history goes back a little further. Sharing a building (and a restroom) with a Japanese restaurant in Toronto, the company’s early days were focused on custom development projects. It wasn’t until 2006, when a client requested search functionality on their website, that the idea for a site search solution really took hold. That particular client is still a Nextopia customer to this day.

Competitors to Colleagues

“I’ve had many interactions with a lot of the ‘Nextopians’ in my nine years at Searchspring, mainly at trade shows and events. My best memory is sharing a beer with Chris (Bannister) and Thomas (Turley) after a long day at IRCE. Out of all of our competitors, I have to say the Nextopia folks were by far the friendliest.” – Chantele Gibson, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Searchspring

Both teams regularly crossed paths over the years, with similar product roadmaps emerging from both companies. One would release a merchandising feature, the other would follow with an updated navigation solution. For years, they have fiercely competed to out-perform each other when it came to technological advancements and customer service.

“When I started with Nextopia in 2012, Searchspring was the very first company I competed against. Some deals we won and some deals we lost, but they were always in the mix. After a while, both Nextopia and Searchspring were pretty much seen everywhere together. Whenever there was an important show, both of us were there.” – Darcy McNamara, Director of Sales, Nextopia

In 2019, a third entity entered the equation. Scaleworks, a venture equity firm focused on growing SaaS businesses, acquired Searchspring in May. Three months later, Nextopia also became part of the Scaleworks family. 

A merger seemed like the obvious next step, but it wasn’t until early October that the news was confirmed internally.

I was curious to see how we were going to move forward with two competing companies living under one umbrella, so the merger announcement wasn’t a complete surprise. Change can be stressful but it’s also refreshing. I definitely saw it as an opportunity to become a bigger player in the market.” – Christina Ioannou, Marketing Campaign Manager, Nextopia

Combined Forces

“The expansion of a team that’s already knowledgeable is a huge advantage. It would take years to grow and train a new team that didn’t already share so much of the same expertise.” – Ashley Hilton, Product Manager, Searchspring

Since then, both teams have progressed from preliminary introductions to launching their new and improved brand together in just a few short months. Most of the Toronto team made the trip to Colorado to meet their new colleagues last December. They spent a number of days engaged in intensive training, followed by evenings of equally thorough socializing, and returned to Canada as fully inducted members of the Searchspring team.

searchspring and nextopia team
Escape room bonding

Next on the agenda was a refreshed brand that would reflect the joining of the two companies. The logo you see on the site today is the combined creation of our designers across the Toronto and Colorado Springs offices. A play on the letter ‘S’, the stacked formation depicts the union of two elements, and represents our focus on collaboration.

“Collaboration, simplicity, union, and teamwork were the keywords we focused on throughout the re-branding project. While we’re keeping the Searchspring name, it was important to us that Nextopia was also represented in the new identity. By revamping the logo, we’re symbolizing our new values and signifying an exciting new force in the ecommerce space.” – Kashan Nazir, Graphic Designer, Nextopia

What’s Next?

“We all share a common goal of delivering a great product and experience for our customers, and for their shoppers. With our combined expertise in the field, the merger only puts us in a stronger position to achieve that goal together. I’m most excited to see our product continue to grow and evolve, as we focus on exactly which features deliver the most value to our customers.” – Ben Upp, Solutions Engineer, Implementations, Searchspring

As we officially announce the merger of the two companies, and launch ourselves into all the exciting developments that 2020 will bring, our newly combined team would like to extend our thanks to the most important people in this process: our customers. Many of the Searchspring and (formerly) Nextopia staff have long tenures with their respective companies; unusually long for SaaS businesses. The relationships we have built with our customers over the years is what has powered both companies to become leaders in our field, and allowed us to take this momentous next step.

If you’re a client of either company, we’re happy to say that all of our team members are still here, and still ready to help with any questions you might have. Head over to our merger resources if you’d like to learn more about what all of this means for you.

While the last few months have been a frenzy of growth, work, and expansion, we’ve been pretty quiet about it until now. That’s all set to change, and you can expect to hear a lot more from us in the coming months. We’re just getting started on this new journey together. We can’t wait to share it with you.

The Searchspring Team

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