First of the Independents

It's a great time for WordPress agencies and product companies of any size

Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions isn't the only big business story in WordPress. Partnerships are increasing too. Founders investing in founders. Product companies and agencies expanding their own ecosystems. Informal partnerships to protect common interests. There are a lot of ways to grow on your own terms in WordPress.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ever since the spike in big acquisitions of (mostly product-based) WordPress companies last year the space has had a “last of the independents” mood as (mostly product companies) wonder if they're all going to be caught up in large conglomerates — or left behind. (The latest acquisition was announced yesterday. Congrats to PublishPress!)

But that's not the only kind of deal happening in the industry. Far from it!

Look at the partnerships Atarim has forged with MainWP and now Rocket.net after a funding round from Automattic, Newfold, and Yoast‘s founders, among others.

WordPress founders investing in WordPress founders will grow the market without mergers thinning out the ecosystem's biodiversity. GridPane‘s founder and CEO Patrick Gallagher said their funding round was “incredibly company-friendly because we've retained 100% control of the business and its direction.”

Or take the Gravity Forms ecosystem cultivating its own extension and services market, encouraging members of their own team to start businesses in that space (way back in 2015) and then bringing them back under Gravity's wing years later.

There are a lot of ways to grow on your own terms in WordPress.

Not all partnerships are about the direct exchange of dollars either. At WCUS I had a number of conversations about informal partnerships between hosting companies to deal with security issues, fraudsters, piracy, and other potential spoilers in the commons.

It's a unique and powerful way to sustain the Open Web —

Independence through partnership.

Growth by traveling together.

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