written by reader WeCommerce

By lehmanne, February 8, 2021

Hi Travis,

I am curious about WeCommerce (OTC: WECMF TSXV:WE)? I saw this article recently and was intrigued.

Canadians: 3 TSX Venture Stocks to Buy for February

Also thank you for writing about AcuityAds (OTC: ACUIF). I jumped in after your article and will be holding for a long time I expect.

Esther

This is a discussion topic or guest posting submitted by a Stock Gumshoe reader. The content has not been edited or reviewed by Stock Gumshoe, and any opinions expressed are those of the author alone.

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Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
February 9, 2021 11:30 am

Interesting, a buyout shop for the Shopify universe, sounds like they buy mostly app-makers in the Shopify system. High percentage of recurring revenue, which is good… the big question for me would be the valuation versus their assets. I have no idea what they’ve done since December or what their share count is at this point, or, importantly, what their cash balance is, but as of the 3rd quarter report they seem to have spent $40 million to buy operating companies over the past few years, with good metrics from those acquisition costs, but the overall company’s valuation of $800 million seems pretty wild unless there’s a lot of cash in there. Doesn’t mean it can’t work out well, but that sounds expensive at first blush — the CEO rings a bell for some reason, probably because he’s an interesting microcap venture guy, so maybe he’s great at buying out strong little Shopify app developers and can scale this into something meaningful… that’s really the bet, I expect, that this management team can create strong value in this high-risk niche (there’s always another app developer around the corner… or worse, the things the best apps do can sometimes get built into the core Shopify ecosystem and lose relevance).

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devhyfes
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devhyfes
February 22, 2021 1:04 am

I worked at EarthLink for a few years, and they spent many moons increasing cash flow and subscribers by acquiring smaller dial-up companies around the country. This was great to pad the metrics for our company, but in the end, we spent a huge amount of money to migrate these customers into the ELNK system- so much money that in the long term, the added cost made the customer acquisition of marginal effectiveness. This was especially true as dial-up shifted to connected broadband.

Flash forward to my time at Yahoo, and we spent a lot of time in a similar place- dealing with Domainers. These were people who stood up websites at commonly typed domains so that when somebody typed “antique dolls” in their URL bar and ended up at “antiquedolls.com” they would make money on search results. There was a brisk trade of people exchanging portfolios of multiple domains as income streams. But these were solely an artifact of a market inefficiency, and browser changes (sending you to a google search page, instead of a “my typed name.com” url) killed the industry.

The lesson I learned at these places is that these “small fish” often times live in places with lots of market inefficiencies. And the question with these aggregators is whether they are just accumulating lots of inefficiencies to hold in a dying niche (c.f. Earthlink, Domainers) or they are actually bringing value by streamlining the customer experience between these niche offerings.

I can’t tell whether or not WeCommerce is the former or the latter yet.

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