Adobe's push into web-based services has delivered a windfall for Australian entrepreneur Bardia Housman, who quietly sold his company Business Catalyst to the US software maker at the start of September.
Adobe's push into web-based services has delivered a
windfall for Australian entrepreneur Bardia Housman, who quietly
sold his company Business Catalyst to the US software maker at the
start of September.
(Credit: Business Catalyst)
In a further sign that Australian businesses are attracting the
attention of larger overseas players, Housman's company Business
Catalyst will form part of a new web-based services strategy for
Business Catalyst provides a hosted turn-key system for small
businesses to run a website, conduct email and online marketing
campaigns, and analyse their performance. The software is designed
to be sold through website designers, but the company also sold
direct to customers through the GoodBarry brand.
Adobe also recently purchased another hosted service, the
US-based company Omniture, which makes software for measuring
online performance and marketing effectiveness. Adobe has also been
redeveloping many of its software products, including Photoshop and
LiveCycle, to run as hosted software.
According to Adobe's senior vice president for the creative
solutions business unit, Johnny Loiacono: "We're trying to augment
what we do on the front end with our tools, to now give back-end
pieces that tie these together as a service."
Housman says that he had been in contact with the Australian Adobe
team for some time, as Business Catalyst had also built a plug-in
for Adobe's Dreamweaver designer tool. He moved to San Francisco in
early 2008, and in June that year he met with Adobe management in
San Jose. In September he was invited back for a further
"In November they rang me and said the only way they were going
to talk to me further is if they bought the company," he says. "It
happened very quickly."
The deal itself, however, involved a very lengthy process of due
The GoodBarry brand will disappear, with clients soon to be
served directly by Business Catalyst. Housman is staying on with
Adobe, having spent his working life building start-ups. This
included selling his previous business Start.com.au to LookSmart in
Housman jokes that his clients had actually thought the sale to
Adobe was a joke after he put a notice up on the company website
and Adobe didn't immediately confirm the news through its own site.
Adobe is keeping quiet on its intentions for Business Catalyst
It's a good outcome for the company's shareholders, who faced a
long slow grind to build the business into a significant player in
its niche. The company sold early in its development, but Housman
says he was in no hurry to sell, with Business Catalyst growing
well and turning over revenue in the low millions. The company had
bootstrapped itself since formation earlier this decade, with no
external investment. Sometimes its better to take the money when
"We were serving a niche very well, and the only way we could
scale that and reach tens of thousands of designers was through
Adobe," Housman says.