I’m excited to announce that Simple Calendar has been acquired by SureSwift Capital. Why did my company (Moonstone Media) make this transition? In a word: Focus.
For too long we’ve been trying to run two separate products: Simple Calendar (Google Calendar events for WordPress) and WP Simple Pay (Stripe payments for WordPress). In their current state, both products serve two very different sets of customers with very little overlap.
For about the last year, we’ve diverted most of our attention to WP Simple Pay. We’ve been able to keep up with support and minor features for Simple Calendar, but we’ve felt spread too thin. With our small team, we simply got to the point where we could not give either product the full attention they each deserve.
Around November 2016, I decided that we needed to choose one of our products to focus on and start looking for a new home for the other. At that time, WP Simple Pay was bringing in about 75% of our total revenue, while Simple Calendar made up the remaining 25%. In addition, as much as our team enjoyed working in the calendar and event space, we enjoyed working with Stripe and the payments space even more.
Finding the Right Buyer
We weren’t just going to hand over the reins to the highest bidder. I personally reached out to several companies that had very established calendar and event WordPress products. It took about 6 months before I found the right buyer, but I wasn’t rushing things and wanted to approach these folks privately before posting to the open market.
I also asked the potential acquirers to agree to a couple things. The free plugin on wordpress.org should be maintained and regularly updated. Premium add-on customers should be given ongoing support. These may sound like a given, but it’s not too uncommon to see products die a slow death after an acquisition.
I first met SureSwift Capital’s co-founder Kevin McArdle at MicroConf in Las Vegas last April. In fact, we first connected virtually in the conference’s private Slack group in the weeks leading up to the event. I was organizing a dinner meetup during the conference focused on WordPress products and he reached out.
Note to conference organizers: In my opinion, both an attendee directory and private chat room dedicated to the conference are invaluable for us attendees. It makes it so much easier for us to connect with the right folks and make the best use of our time. Besides the WordPress-focused dinner I organized at MicroConf, there were attendee-scheduled meetups for Shopify apps, info products, e-commerce businesses, and more.
- When to use? When you need extensive forms and/or want to record each transaction as a form entry within your WP site.
- The Gravity Forms Stripe add-on requires a paid developer license of Gravity Forms itself.
- Setup is a bit lengthier. You need to both configure Stripe feeds in your WP admin and webhooks in your Stripe dashboard.
- WooCommerce core has always been free, but now the WooCommerce Stripe add-on is also free.
- When to use? When you need to set up shop and sell physical products.
Easy Digital Downloads
- Easy Digital Downloads core is free. The EDD Stripe add-on is premium.
- When to use? When you need to sell digital items along with additional actions, such as distributing software licensing or offering other payment options such as PayPal.
- wpsimplepay.com, in turn, uses EDD with its Stripe add-on.
WP Simple Pay
- Disclaimer: These are plugins I own and sell.
- When to use? If you need a standalone Stripe plugin without a full shopping cart, extensive form builder, membership site, etc.
- All data is stored and viewed in your Stripe dashboard. Not within your WordPress site.
- WP Simple Pay Lite (free) – Or simply search for “stripe” in your WP admin plugins area. Adds the simple Stripe Checkout overlay to pages without coding.
- WP Simple Pay Pro (paid) – Adds features such as custom fields, user-entered amounts, coupon codes and subscriptions integration.
I had the huge pleasure of being interviewed on my favorite podcast, Startups for the Rest of Us.
You can listen to the episode here, and by all means, keep them at the top of your feed if you’re at all interested or involved in small self-funded startups.
Many thanks to my friends Rob and Mike for inviting me on!