Nick Haskins is looking to sell Aesop Story Engine, the themes he’s built for it, and the other properties he’s built around it — namely the Lasso editor and the Story.am platform.
He just moved to North Carolina, and in his transition realized that he wants to step back and focus on family and his regular job at CG Cookie. Many of us have probably experienced these cycles, and sometimes you just realize you want your nights back. That’s how it is for Nick.
Aesop Story Engine is a component-driven blogging tool that makes long form writing more engaging, with items like pullquotes, full-width images, chapter navigation, and other features. The tool itself is free, and Nick’s income has largely been from the themes he sells for it.
Lasso is a front-end editing tool that’s really quite nice and refined, though it will need to be rebranded due to some trademark issues he’s run into. He tells me that Lasso accounts for about 30% of his revenue.
Story.am is a hosted website that uses Aesop Story Engine, and has about 500 sites, Nick tells me. He decided to make it a free service after a slow adoption of it as a paid venture.
He did a breakdown of his revenue and expenses in June:
Theme & Add-on Sales — 161 Purchases – $17,058.73
Lasso Sales ( 90 days ) — 76 Purchases – $7,568.15
239 total sales = $24,792.90 – Average client worth – $103.73
Overhead Recurring — 12 monthly services – $261
3rd Party Devs + Designer Commissions + Payroll – $14,350
Out Total = $14,611
Nick says he hasn’t done much marketing at all, though he has gotten pretty good press from me and WP Tavern.
Aesop’s themes are a nice niche that can cater to a particular type of dedicated blogging audience that could make for a good pickup for the right company. Aesop has seven themes and seven add-ons.
He does have a couple of conditions he’d like to see kept by the buyer though:
I do have two conditions; Aesop Story Engine MUST absolutely be maintained, and kept free. In addition, Lasso, our front-end editor, must continue forward with development, in some way shape or form.
Whether he can accomplish these goals and get a good offer is up for debate, but I think the value of what he has built is high, and has plenty of potential for growth in the right hands.
If his annual expected revenue is $50,000, I think he could reasonably ask for between 1x-1.5x of that. If he gets higher than $75,000, he should jump for joy.
Whoever buys Aesop will receive a passion project of a very talented developer, and Aesop could be a nice little niche to invest in. Nick is in Post Status Slack if you want to inquire about the properties.