Monday, June 2

Convio responds to Blackbaud acquisition of Kintera

Gene Austin, the CEO of Convio, sent out his response this morning to last Thursday's announcement that Blackbaud would be acquiring Kintera.

No doubt you have now heard the news about Blackbaud's proposed acquisition of Kintera. This is certainly an interesting, but not entirely unexpected, development in our rapidly evolving market.

The Software as a Service approach we have led in the industry has driven tremendous success for organizations like yours, and we believe this approach causes challenges for legacy software providers. Blackbaud now faces the task of addressing the well-publicized operational challenges at Kintera, while rationalizing a roadmap that includes multiple eCRM and donor management products from four companies (Blackbaud, Target Analytics, eTapestry and Kintera). It will be interesting to watch this integration play out over the coming quarters and years.

My hope is that this acquisition will convince Blackbaud to listen and respond to the growing demand from nonprofits for interoperability and an open approach to integration. We would like to see Blackbaud make their APIs freely available, following Convio and other leading vendors who have worked with clients and the market to drive improved results. Better data integration benefits the nonprofit market.

We are increasingly excited about the success our clients are achieving and the growth in our business. We processed over $41M in online gifts for our clients in April alone — making this our largest month ever. Our business remains strong, with over 30% revenue growth in Q1 2008 compared to the same quarter in 2007 (on a proforma basis including our acquisition of GetActive). You will also see announcements from us in the coming months that highlight our continued investment in providing solutions that help you get more value from every constituent relationship.

We remain committed to your success — keep up the great work!

Gene Austin

A lot of that stuff sounds like spin to me... but you have to admit, it takes a certain of amount of chutzpah from Austin to give Blackbaud pointers on the need for them to "rationalize a roadmap" to integrate multiple eCRM and donor management platforms.

Make no mistakes, this is high stakes poker. Austin's use of this communique response to call on Blackbaud to "make their APIs freely available" seems designed to position Convio as an advocate on behalf of nonprofits against the newly created Blackbaud monster.


Anonymous said...

This is the beginning of the end of Convio...their IPO failed, they are out of money, and now the biggest two public company players are combining to bring the best product and services to the nonprofit community.

"a fundraiser" said...

I've heard lots of the same talk... but I'm not sure it's true. Did the IPO really fail or only get put on hold until the overall market improves (either way... it's a delay).

As Kintera demonstrated, you can stick around for a long time without ever making a profit.

Anonymous said...

More NPOs are moving onto new, innovative and light weight platforms developed by smaller, more agile companies that service the customer extremely well. An example is the up and coming solution out of the midwest, DonorDrive. I saw this in Chicago a couple weeks ago at a seminar as well as a few others that are user-centric. Convio and Blackbaud will need to execute well on all cylinders to keep up with the small and midsize folks nipping at the their heels. I give them both credit for not getting complacent and seeking ways to make the data more accessible.

Sandra Olsen said...

i always thought it was funny that Gene Austin's emails were called "CEO communiqu├ęs" which usually just sounds like propaganda.

Anonymous said...

The best products and services? Did the Director of Marketing from Blackbaud post that? Kintera has always been criticized for lack of support and account management on an unstable and ugly product. Blackbauds goal has always been to suck the budget dry with sky rocketing prices after the deal has been signed. This is a blow to the industry because now charities will have fewer options for their online and offline services. Convio does not need to be nervous, it is Kintera's clients that should be nervous.

Anonymous said...

The acquisition of Kintera is a continuation of Blackbaud buying up companies in market sectors where they don't have a good footprint and then giving lip service to integrating these applicaitons with their existing products.

From past experiences I fail to see any great value of integration between Kintera and Blackbaud in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Convio and the industry has been given a gift.

When the market window opens again they will have several quarters of sustained revenue growth , one successful public company competitor, no integration challenge and a large addressable market -- and not have to explain why they are different from a train wreck -- called Kintera.

Mike Panetta said...

This is a blatant pitch but....

There are other options out there for integrated CMS, fundraising, and grassroots advocacy. One of which is Grassroots Enterprise (where I work). No train wreck integrations here, just good, stable software, and people who know what they're doing with it, and do it well.

Come check us out at: