Angie’s List Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI) has bought SmartHabitat Inc., a startup that does business as BrightNest, for $2.65 million in cash.
BrightNest provides free online resources for home owners. The Denver Co. website developer was founded by entrepreneurs Justin Anthony and Allen Shulman in 2011. It raised nearly $1 million in seed capital from investors including 500 Startups, an early-stage seed fund and incubator program in Mountain View, Calif.
"The only way to transform the local services industry is to solve real problems in a bigger, better and new way," says Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle. "With two million members and more than 18 years in this space, no one has better data on local service providers than Angie's List. BrightNest adds a user-friendly front end and personalized member experience to our marketplace platform which is built on rules, tools and transparency."
The BrightNest deal is the latest move in the company’s recent focus on the user experience. In April, Angie's List promoted marketing director Shelly Towns to vice president of product, a new role in the company. The company has revamped search capabilities and is currently working on a full product redesign.
Angie’s List, which provides a website that enables members to hire and review local contractors in hundreds of categories from home improvement to health care, was founded by Oesterle and Angie Hicks in 1995. Oesterle had moved from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio, where he grew frustrated that he couldn’t find information about contractors easily, as he had back home, thanks to a company called Unified Neighbors. He hired Hicks to develop a similar company in the Columbus area, and Angie’s List was born. Before BrightNest, Angie’s List’s only significant acquisition was in 1996, when it bought Unified Neighbors and moved the headquarters to Indianapolis. Angie’s List went public in November 2011.
In the deal for BrightNest, Angie’s List acquired substantially all of its assets. The cash value included $2.15 million at closing and $0.5 million payable at the one-year anniversary of closing, subject to performance. Angie's List funded the acquisition with existing cash. Angie's List will grant options to purchase $3.65 million of common stock to the members of the BrightNest team, all of whom have been retained. The transaction closed on Aug. 2 and was announced after the closing bell on Aug. 5.
The purchase comes amid many deals among companies focused on providing local products and services. For more on the trend, see “Delivery.com Buys Laundry Delivery Site” and “Food Delivery Services Seamless and GrubHub Merge.”