Flowtown Acquired by DemandForce: Congrats Dan and Ethan

by francine Hardaway on October 14, 2011

The following is an expression of joy more than journalism.

Flowtown has been acquired by DemandForce, the number one small business marketing company. The details are on Ethan’s blog.

Suffice it to say here that they received a funding round 13 months ago, had to do a pivot as a result of one of Facebook‘s TOS changes, and have now been acquired by and have both joined a company that has really good alignment with Flowtown‘s original purpose — to make small business marketing simple and successful.

I’m so happy for them that I didn’t even ask for more details. I don’t care. I am an evangelist and flowtown is a textbook startup-pivot-success story.

When I met Ethan he was doing a video podcast about investment. It was something I wasn’t sure would work, although I thought it was very cool. This was before Gary V made videocasting famous. But it was the first step in an entrepreneurial vision.

Ehtan was barely out of college. We were at SXSW; the details of the conversation are a blur. (I exaggerate a liitle here for effect.) I do remember  I fell in love with Ethan’s energy, and I knew that whatever he did would be successful, because he had that awesome drive –even though I didn’t see the clear road to riches in what he was doing at the time.  I told him that pretty brutally, and also told him he could count on me when he needed me. I believed in him.

The next thing I knew, he was in San Francisco and  had founded Flowtown with Dan Martell.  it was growing, and he contacted me to do some evangelism. I introduced the product to all our entrepreneurship programs, everyone who used it loved it, and I was sure it would continue to grow.

Soon after that, I found out he was funded by Dave McClure, a really wonderful friend of mine (and everyone else’s). And I met Dan Martell, his co-founder, through GeeksonaPlane.

They were cruising along with steady revenue when they were forced to pivot. They were transparent and awesome about it, telling all their customers they’d be out with something new soon. Even if you never follow links, just follow the one above and see how a classy and elegant pivot is explained to customers who were left behind. It’s right out of The Lean Startup.

Dan and Ethan launched a new Flowtown, first with the Timely product, and then with their concept of gift marketing. And then they were acquired.  Demandforce has acquired the existing products, the technology, and the team.

The first question I asked was whether Timely, on which I depend, would go away. No. And it will continue to be free. Here’s what Ethan says:

If Dan and I continued to build Flowtown independently, Demandforce is exactly the kind of organization we envisioned building. Demandforce’s customers are dentists, auto-garages, salons, spas etc… and with 24 quarters of over 80% year-over-year quarterly growth they are a leader in marketing automation for the small business, now reaching 80 million consumers.

Now as part of Demandforce we will be able to move our vision and products forward 10x faster and work at a scale we could have only dreamed of before.

What does this mean for our existing customers?

All of our technology and products are being integrated into the Demandforce platform with some new things yet to be unveiled.

● Flowtown (Gift Marketing) which helps businesses with social gifting campaigns will be integrated into the Demandforce D3 product. We will continue to support the existing version for the next 2 months.

● Timely.is, now with over 26,000 professionals, will remain exactly the same and will continue to be free. In addition we’ve already integrated Timely to become the social publishing tool inside the Demandforce D3 product

And believe me, we haven’t heard the end of Ethan Bloch and Dan Martell. These are two of my favorite entrepreneurs, and I really wish them well.

End of non-journalistic love fest.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Saric October 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I love reading these stories! Encouraging and great outcome for hard working entrepreneurs.

Scott Caito October 21, 2011 at 12:39 am

If I can quote a famous (now infamous) financial advice guru…..I’d say “Are you SERIOUS!!!”  Congrats boys……..you guys are inspirational.

cheap north face January 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

It’s good to see this information in your article.

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