I did an email based interview with Andy Wilkerson — owner of Parallelus and acquirer of UpThemes — to learn more about the decision to purchase the small theme shop. Here it is (I added links where it helps):
Why did you want to buy it?
There isn’t a single big reason, but a combination of things that made this the right move for us. These were some of the key factors for me.
I’ve been looking for ways to diversify Parallelus for a while. Almost all our revenue comes from ThemeForest sales, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it isn’t ideal. I think of it like an agency being too dependent on a single big client. The client has all the control and the agency needs them but not the other way around. It isn’t a perfect situation and the decisions of a few can dramatically change your business. What if Envato decided to sell their company or set all prices to $5 and under? I’m not saying these things would happen, but if you don’t plan for change and protect your business, you’re inviting disaster.
I’m also a big fan of integrated solutions. Helping a customer go from picking a design to launching their website in just a few steps is powerful. UpThemes already had a managed hosting platform with instant setup and theme activation. Before this opportunity came along, I had been looking into hosting services like this for our Parallelus customers. This made UpThemes hosting a nice bonus and now I’m working on ways we can bring even more value to the service.
(Editor’s note: UpThemes hosting, like Envato’s, is built with Pressed.)
What non-direct benefits are there in purchasing?
The brand has a lot of meaning to me. UpThemes has been a steady voice in the WordPress community, promoting best practices and demonstrating leadership. That’s something I’m excited to continue doing. I hope it will help me grow as a business owner and personally as well.
Will the brand stay separate?
Yes. UpThemes will probably become our brand for WordPress themes. Parallelus was always intended to be a parent company for brand names that are easier to pronounce and product specific.
So you will continue the hosting program?