Brazilian startup Rock Content has acquired US writing services marketplace WriterAccess as part of a strategy to consolidate the content marketing segment and expand its offering to marketing departments in the Americas.
The buyout follows Rock Content’s $30 million Series B round led by Unbox Capital and Provence Capital, announced in October 2021 and aimed at boosting the firm’s international expansion. The transaction value was not disclosed.
With the acquisition, the Brazilian startup takes a further step in widening its footprint in the US market, a process that started with the purchase of content marketing firm ScribbleLive, in 2019.
Founded in 2010 in Boston, Mass., WriterAccess has developed a talent marketplace that provides content services to nearly 2,000 firms, including Bank of America, DHL, and Pitney Bowes, and has more than 500 agency partners. The firm’s platform uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to match the client’s preferred writing style to specific freelancers.
The deal will see the WriterAccess workforce transitioning into Rock, with founder Byron White leading marketing and business development for the enlarged organization. According to the chief executive at Rock Content, Diego Gomes, the relationship between his company and WriterAccess started in 2019.
“The marketing space is quite fragmented, and we build relationships with all the relevant players in our space, in Brazil and internationally,” the founder says.
“WriterAccess has a trajectory that is very similar to ours, especially when it comes to capital efficiency since they are bootstrapped, and that’s how we developed our company for a long time. They have also grown significantly in the North American market, and their product fits nicely into our stack”, he adds.
In addition, Gomes was attracted to WriterAccess due to its focus on market development and education, through events such as the Content Marketing Conference. Rock’s idea is to expand the event into its other key markets and integrate it into Rock University, its online certification program with more than 500,000 students.
Following the transaction, the product integration between the companies will be significant and is expected to last for a few quarters, according to Gomes. “The WriterAccess model go-to-market model is very scalable, and marketing departments can use the product on a self-service basis. There is plenty of scope for us to sell new products to the same client and become a one-stop-shop for marketing departments”, he notes.
The broadened product suite will see WriterAccess’ offering bolted into Rock Content’s current suite of products, including Visually, a high-end marketplace for visual content; Ion, an interactive content experience platform; and Stage, a managed WordPress hosting service platform. According to the firm, more than half of its client base buys more than one product.
With its latest acquisition, Rock Content makes inroads in its priority market: around 60% of its revenue already comes from North America. According to Gomes, traffic to the firm’s US website has increased by over ten-fold while demand and new lead generation in the US and Canada have seen a 30% quarterly increase since Rock entered the US market.
The purchase of Scribble Live was a crucial first step in the firm’s strategy to boost its offering and position itself as a market leader in the content marketing space. “Back in 2019, we did a thorough competitive analysis and found that we had what was needed to win in the content marketing space and decided we would enter the US through acquisitions”, Gomes points out.
When it comes to future acquisitions, Gomes says that Rock sees opportunities around expanding the skills of its marketplace, which is currently focused on text, visual and interactive formats. “But we are always looking at opportunities in audio and other creative professional activity and software segments that are useful to marketing teams in terms of content management,” the entrepreneur adds.
“We believe in growth through M&As – and our strategy is to bring multiple solutions to the same customer. So when we bring a new company into the group, we are also bringing a whole new client base. The consolidation opportunity in our space is vast”, he concludes, adding that a Series C round to support his firm’s acquisition strategy is on the cards for 2023.