Connection of First Data alums leads to $11.2m MeNetwork acquisition

A LinkedIn message between two Omahans nine months ago resulted in an announcement today of an $11.2 million acquisition. The company making the acquisition, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based …

A LinkedIn message between two Omahans nine months ago resulted in an announcement today of an $11.2 million acquisition.

The company making the acquisition, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based mobile payments company Spindle, is run by Bill Clark (far left), a former general manager of payment processing giant First Data. The company acquired, Denver-based mobile marketing startup The MeNetwork, is overseen by Craig Page (near left), a former First Data senior vice president.

“One Saturday night, honest to God, I was sitting on my computer in LinkedIn just surfing, looking for anybody and everybody that I could reach out to that I’ve known that’s in the payments world,” MeNetwork COO Page said today, noting it was the startup’s aim to secure a payments partner in order to gain traction. “I came across (Clark’s) name and I reached right out to him and within a matter of hours he had responded and the very next day we were having breakfast.”

The two spoke about what each company had created the past few years – MeNetwork launched in late 2010 and Spindle emerged in 2011 – and began to look at ways they could work together in the future.

“Spindle over some time was working to develop (a mobile marketing platform) internally and when we met up they said, ‘We’re not going to develop it,’ ” Page said. Instead, Spindle, which sells white-label mobile payment products to merchants, planned to distribute MeNetwork’s platform. Around four months ago, however, the conversation changed: distribution talks became acquisition negotiations.

An SEC form filed Thursday by Spindle shows it acquired MeNetwork in a stock deal valued today at about $6.2 million plus a potential earn-out of $5 million in common stock over the next three years.

“We are delighted to bring MeNetwork into the Spindle family,” Clark, who’s since relocated from Arizona to Scottsdale, said in a press release. “The combination of our two solutions will result in an ideal ecosystem.”

With the acquisition complete, Spindle will integrate MeNetwork’s mobile marketing product into its mobile payments platform, and it’ll keep the startup’s five-person team in Denver.

Page, who’s a MeNetwork investor and board member, will discontinue his role as COO but remain active as a board member of Spindle.

The acquisition benefits others in Omaha, as well, including investors associated with startup services firm Treetop Ventures, who participated in the company’s second angel round in February 2012. In total, Page said MeNetwork raised about $1.3 million.

“I would say that probably somewhere around 80 percent of all of the current investment dollars in The MeNetwork have come from Nebraska friends and families and (Treetop Ventures). So Omaha has been a great help from an investment perspective,” Page said.

Since its initial December 2010 rollout in Denver, the startup has signed up merchants in 84 markets domestically and more than 20 in Europe and South America. As of yesterday, company leadership said MeNetwork’s mobile app had “well over a quarter of a million users.”

Read our past coverage of MeNetwork:

 

Credits: Bill Clark photo from mobilepaymentconference.com. Craig Page photo from themenetwork.net.

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