When MerchantCircle launched in 2006, our mission was simple: to build a network of millions of local business owners to help them market themselves to nearby consumers. We had visions of creating a powerful network for local businesses everywhere...
At the time, we were watching as billions of local marketing dollars were being spent on dying media like the Yellow Pages. We knew the web held significant promise for small business, but nobody had yet figured how to make it work on a local level. Determined to change that, we created a plan and started building.
Now, over 1.6 million local business owners have joined MerchantCircle, and are getting connected with 20 million consumers every month. For many of these users, MerchantCircle has been their first introduction to the power of the web.
Today, we're excited to announce that we just got better. MerchantCircle has been acquired by Reply! Inc., the leading marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted consumer traffic. (You can read all the details in our press release.)
“As the first investor in MerchantCircle, I can say it's been an incredible ride since Ben and I first incubated the company in our conference room back in 2004”, says Mark Menell, a Venture Partner at Maveron, LLC and the initial investor in MerchantCircle when he was a general partner at Rustic Canyon. “This is a big win for the MerchantCircle team and an even bigger win for local businesses and consumers."
For our merchant members, we're thrilled to assure you that this deal will result in an even more powerful network. It will mean more effective web marketing tools, more connections with local consumers, more inbound customer phone calls, appointments, request for quotes, and business leads for YOU. For consumers, this means even more meaningful connections to businesses in your area. We'll be more capable of empowering mutually beneficial, productive local relationships.
The team at Reply!, led by CEO Payam Zamani, shares our passion for giving businesses the best place on the web to reach local consumers. The MerchantCircle team will become the Reply! Media division of Reply! Inc. and will continue to work in the interests of our merchant customers. If you’re worried that we’re going away, don’t! You can rest assured, because our dedication to growing and improving the MerchantCircle platform still remains true
Every small business owner needs someone to believe in them – we are no different. For our investors, this merger represents an excellent opportunity to achieve our vision. Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures, and Rustic Canyon believed in MerchantCircle from the beginning. They understood our passion and desire to make the local web scalable and profitable. We were determined to succeed where many dozens of other start-ups had failed. Even when we didn’t know exactly how we’d turn that vision into reality, they supported us with funding and great advice. We are very grateful for their help in getting to this point.
As with most great success, this milestone could not have been reached alone. It's only because we've been surrounded by such intelligent investors, advisors and team members that MerchantCircle has grown into the organization your see today. And we think it's time to call some people out…
Joey Levin, Kara Nortman, Rob Angel and Jay Herratti at CityGrid Media have been invaluable partners and friends of MerchantCircle and are very much appreciated. Ron Conway (the Silicon Valley Angel), Michael B. Aronson of MentorTech , Alex Lloyd of Accelerator Ventures , Auren Hoffman of Rapleaf, Patrick Grady of Rearden Commerce , and Chris Tolles of Topix have provided direction, support, and contributions that for which we are more than thankful.
This announcement also offers a tangible victory for our dedicated Board of Directors: Ben T. Smith, IV, Scott Hilleboe, Peter C. Horan, Mark Menell, Neal Hansch, and Sharon Wienbar. The MerchantCircle team cannot thank you enough for giving us your trust, offering us direction, and executing on decisions that weren't always easy.
Even with 1.6 million users on the MerchantCircle network, several individuals have continued to stand out. Making significant impacts in their communities while sharing their small business stories, Community Leaders like Michele Gorham , Gino Orfitelli and Monte Tareski keep the MerchantCircle team fired up. We do what we do because of merchants like them. They've been our evangelists in their local neighborhoods and they've reached across the web to offer community to new MerchantCircle members. We cannot tell you enough how deeply we appreciate your loyalty.
This is very much a team win.
For MerchantCircle employees, the success we’ve had to date in building a major force in local is due to your hard work, creative thinking and consistent dedication to producing the best products possible.
There have been countless cubicle meetings, more pizza than we'd like to admit, and many long walks around the block- just to brainstorm. We've become real friends… and somewhere along the way, we've built a family. You've launched some brilliant products, weathered some frustrating storms and exercised excessive amounts of innovation and creativity. MerchantCircle exists because of you.
Former team members like Ryan Osilla, Daniel Swartz, Jennifer Lin, Irit Epelbaum, and David Creemer have left a significant mark on MerchantCircle and while they're no longer in the office, their contributions continue to permeate how we operate. Jason Culverhouse and Wayne Yamamoto were both essential elements in building MerchantCircle from the ground up. We see and appreciate their work everyday. And though they've moved on to a new venture, together, they're still very much a part of our everyday lives.
Thank you. You've each poured yourself into MerchantCircle and now we're excited to join the Reply! Inc. team together. This acquisition means even more opportunity to be a part of an innovative, growing organization with an incredibly bright future.
It's time to celebrate!
Your MerchantCircle and Reply! Media Division Team