Sortable, described by its founders as the “Google of product search,” announced today that it has been acquired by fellow Waterloo company Rebellion Media. Sortable launched in 2011 via its debut product Snapsort, the first product using its recommendation and comparison engine, which helped prospective camera buyers choose which hardware would suit them best. Sortable.com launched in January of this year to provide more broadly focused purchase recommendations covering a range of product categories from TVs to laptops.
While Sortable isn’t the only company playing in the recommendations game (other noteworthy recent exits include eBay’s purchase of Hunch, and Algo Anywhere being bought up by 500px), it is one with a very specific focus on aiding consumers with purchase decisions. For Rebellion Media, which is a new venture aimed at gathering together assets in technology, entertainment, health and wellness and ecommerce, it seems like a good fit. And according to Sortable co-founder Chris Reid, it’s a deal that makes a lot of sense for Sortable and its goals, too.
“The thesis is that we want to build something really big, we want to build a huge consumer company with global reach, and we needed the resources to do that, and we wanted to do that fast, in a two-year timeframe,” he said. “[Rebellion Media founder] Ted [Hastings] is really good at M&A and raising funds, and we’re really good at the technology side, so we’re looking forward to participating in terms of going out and acquiring communities and layering in our technologies in a lot of new categories.”
Sortable already delivers 10 million monthly page views through its properties, which also include Geekaphone for mobile phone recommendations. Reid is hoping that with the help of Rebellion Media and its aggressive strategy of bringing together highly engaged online consumer communities, they’ll be able to scale that considerably.
Of course, there are other ways to promote growth, but for Reid, after looking at VC funding options, this acquisition exit just made more sense, and although he couldn’t reveal details of the arrangement, he did say Sortable was “extremely happy” with the terms. “I’ve spent a lot of time in New York talking to VCs, and we’ve looked at a lot of different options,” he said. “By far, this was a way better deal for the business and the founders.”
Nothing’s planned in terms of major changes to Sorable’s existing services or how customers will interact with them, but Reid did say they plan to use Rebellion’s resources to hopefully triple the size of their engineering team by year’s end, and build out as many additional product categories into Sortable’s recommendation engine as possible.