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CrowdSource announced this morning it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Serv.io, a competitor.
CrowdSource’s CEO Stephanie Leffler did not disclose the terms of the deal, though she did say it is on schedule to be completed by the end of November. CrowdSource, which is based near St. Louis, plans to maintain Serv.io’s San Francisco office.
CrowdSource and Serv.io both operate in similar spaces within the crowdsourcing industry, helping online retailers, publishers, and other companies create content quickly and cheaply with the help of the crowd. Despite the similarities, Leffler told Crowdsourcing.org that Serv.io was appealing for its work with large retailers.
“Serv.io [recently] narrowed their focus to really create value for retailers and build SEO solutions and product description solutions for retailers,” she said. “One of their most valuable services is building scalable processes to mine attributes from retailers’ websites so that those retailers could expose more attributes and make their products more searchable and discoverable.”
Leffler said that the acquisition will allow her company to “strengthen our offerings, and give us broader reach, more qualified workers, and more clients.” It will expand CrowdSource’s client roster to include the likes of Staples, Toys R Us, and Orbitz. The expanded portfolio may generate new business leads for the crowdsourcing firm, and help it create new product offerings.
“The more customers that we have and the more areas of overlapping demand we see from one customer to the next will help us guide what products we roll out,” she elaborated.
For workers using the platforms, Leffler said, everything will remain as it does today for the short term. The “not-too-distant-future” plan is to consolidate the two labor pools — to create “one place where workers will go to find the work that’s available and actually perform that work.”
CrowdSource says it has more than 224,000 qualified workers, and “Serv.io will be making a considerable contribution in increasing [the] talent pool.”
Leffler said that both companies have qualification systems in place to determine the workers’ skills and strengths. The acquisition will allow the companies to pick the best attributes of how the platforms have interacted with their workers, and make those things available across the board.
“I think still there’s a lot of room for innovation around how workers find work and what the experience is like, and I see this as an opportunity to pool the best of both platforms,” she said.
As both are private companies, Leffler declined to disclose CrowdSource’s and Serv.io’s specific revenue figures, though a CrowdSource representative did say that the company will “more than double its 2012 revenue in 2013,” while Serv.io “was on pace to increase revenue by 50 percent” before the acquisition news.
Leffler said her company’s acquisition of Serv.io shows that crowdsourcing is maturing.
“As an industry, we all want a few big players to rise above the rest, be the leaders and the voice of the space, and help make crowdsourcing even more mainstream than it’s already become,” she said. “As startups mature and gain steam, consolidation is something you’d expect to see. This [acquisition] is something that indicates that the industry is reaching that stage.”