GoDaddy just acquired Locu, a startup that makes it easier for people to find local merchants online.
The companies did not disclose the final sum, but AllThingsD reports that GoDaddy acquired Locu for $70 million, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal. All of Locu’s employees will join GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain-name registrar and web-hosting provider, according to the report.
This acquisition may seen out of left field. But as we reported, GoDaddy intends to do far more than just sell domain names. Chief executive Blake Irving said he wants to make it as easy as possible for anyone to set up a Web store online, which made Locu a hot acquisition target.
“Locu is a natural fit for what our small business customers want,” said Irving in a phone interview. “Anyone can get their digital identity up and running without any of the hassle.” GoDaddy has about 2000 customer care experts on staff, he said, so if a small business owner needs advice on “how to get listed and get found, we are in a position to help them do that.”
Irving told me there has been a “lot of interest” in Locu from potential buyers. He told me the acquisition has been in the works for several months, but he wouldn’t comment on the terms of the deal.
In recent months, Locu has partnered up with a number of tech companies, including GoDaddy. In May, Locu hit the headlines through its partnership with Yelp to simplify the technical aspects of maintaining a menu online.
Locu got its start at MIT in 2011. Since then, the founders relocated the team to San Francisco and grew their platform to over 30,000 merchants, including spas, hotels and restaurants. Locu charges $25 a month to help these customers with their digital upkeep.
“Like most consumers, one of the best ways to discover great local businesses is by searching online,” said Locu CEO Rene Reinsberg in a recent interview with VentureBeat.