What Did Zapier Do With Makerpad?


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Zapier Acquires makerpad

Zapier, the wildly popular no-code automation tool, made waves in the tech community when it acquired Makerpad in 2021. This was Zapier’s first acquisition ever, so it signified a new chapter for the profitable company. But what exactly did Zapier do after acquiring Makerpad? Let’s take a closer look at how this acquisition came about and what changes it brought for both companies.

A Brief History of Zapier and Makerpad

First, some background on Zapier and Makerpad. 

Zapier was founded in 2011 by Bryan Helmig, Mike Knoop, and Wade Foster. It only raised $1.2 million in seed funding in 2012. Since then, it has bootstrapped its way to over $100 million in annual recurring revenue. Zapier helps users automate workflows by connecting web apps through its interface. It has over 3,000 integrated apps and is used by millions every day.

Zapier Acquires Makerpad

Makerpad is an online community for learning how to build apps and websites without code. It was created in 2019 by Ben Tossell and grew rapidly, amassing over 10,000 members within two years. Makerpad offers tutorials, templates, and other educational resources for no-code development. The no-code industry has produced many unique software, and is thriving, with Makerpad reaching $400,000 in annual recurring revenue by 2021.

How the Acquisition Came About

In March 2021, Zapier announced that it had acquired Makerpad. But how did this deal originate?

Striking a Deal

It all started with a tweet. Makerpad founder Ben Tossell tweeted about the most popular tools used on Makerpad – Airtable and Zapier topped the list. Entrepreneur Walter Chen replied to the tweet suggesting that Airtable or Zapier should acquire Makerpad. 

Zapier CEO Wade Foster saw Chen’s tweet and reached out to Tossell. The two had met previously at industry events, so they already had a connection. After some discussions, Zapier and Makerpad reached an agreement for an acquisition. 

So the acquisition was sparked by social media and the no-code community talking about a mutually beneficial partnership. This exemplifies the power of building community support and relationships in one’s industry.

How the Deal Was Structured

The financial terms of the Makerpad acquisition were not publicly disclosed. This is common in acquisitions – legal agreements often prohibit revealing deal terms.

However, we can make some educated guesses about the deal structure based on precedents. Makerpad raised some seed funding in 2020, reportedly at a $1-2 million valuation. Acquisitions generally occur at a premium to the last valuation.

Industry experts estimate that the deal was likely in the range of $3-6 million. The structure was likely a mix of cash and Zapier stock, with the stock portion vesting over a period of time.

This deal structure incentivizes Tossell to grow Makerpad over the long-term and helps align his interests with Zapier’s. The Zapier stock also offers significant upside, given the company’s recent $5 billion valuation.

While we can only speculate on the financials, the deal appears to be a win-win outcome providing financial security for Tossell while giving Zapier a strategic asset.

Why Zapier Acquired Makerpad

For Zapier, acquiring Makerpad supported its mission of making automation accessible to everyone. As a no-code education platform, Makerpad was introducing new people to the possibilities of no-code tools like Zapier.

Makerpad also offered Zapier a way to expand its reach and visibility. Makerpad had a thriving community of engaged users – a prime target audience for Zapier.

Additionally, Makerpad provided educational content that could complement Zapier’s existing blog and resources. But as an independent media company focused on education, Makerpad offered more credibility and authority than content directly from Zapier.

Essentially, Zapier saw the value of owning the premier no-code education platform as it looked to grow the no-code market.

What Changed After the Acquisition

Since the acquisition, Makerpad has continued to operate fairly independently. According to Tossell, Makerpad remains a stand-alone company within the Zapier ecosystem.

However, Tossell has acknowledged some changes to Makerpad’s strategy and priorities:

  • Makerpad can focus on growth over revenue – Zapier’s backing means Makerpad isn’t pressured to monetize aggressively.
  • Tossell can get advice from Zapier’s experienced team on running a SaaS company as he scales Makerpad. 
  • Makerpad is creating more introductory content to make no-code even more accessible to beginners.
  • Makerpad will likely expand its content output in general to reach more people interested in no-code.

So in summary, Makerpad now has more resources and knowledge from Zapier to pursue user growth, while remaining editorially independent.

The Future of No-Code Acquisitions

The Future of No-code Acquisitions

The Makerpad acquisition is also indicative of a larger trend – large tech companies acquiring no-code education platforms and communities.

For example, Stripe purchased Indie Hackers, HubSpot acquired The Hustle, and Business Insider took a majority stake in Morning Brew. Media and community sites help these tech companies reach new users and market their products indirectly.

No-code is currently one of the hottest sectors in tech. We will likely see more acquisitions as both tech companies and individual entrepreneurs aim to capitalize on the no-code wave.

Owning the top no-code education resources gives acquirers a competitive edge. They can influence the information future no-code users learn and the tools they adopt.

As Tossell stated, partnerships like this one help the no-code community grow as a whole. But tech companies also gain strategic advantage and valuable insight into their target audience in the process.

The Future of the No-Code Space

The Zapier and Makerpad acquisition is indicative of the growing mainstream interest in no-code solutions. Other acquisitions in this space include Bubble buying no-code startup Popcode in 2020.  

Industry experts predict the increasing adoption of no-code tools by businesses and individual users alike. The partnership between Zapier and Makerpad will likely accelerate this adoption.

Tossell believes a future where no-code becomes simply mainstream “software development” is possible. In that vision, Makerpad serves as the entry-level resource into a world of democratised software creation.

If no-code follows the trajectory of earlier coding movements like open-source software, we can expect its popularity and capabilities to continue growing exponentially. The Zapier-Makerpad acquisition will be one milestone along that journey.

The no-code space is rapidly evolving. But one thing is clear – Zapier sees a bright future with Makerpad as part of its vision.

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