WP Engine to Acquire Flywheel
Largest Acquisition In WordPress Pairs Innovative WordPress Technologies And Teams To Drive Digital Experiences On Behalf Of Customers, Agency Partners and the WordPress Community
AUSTIN, Texas – June 24, 2019 – WP Engine, the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Flywheel, a WordPress hosting and management company based in Omaha, Neb. By combining their strengths, WP Engine and Flywheel are enhancing the WP Engine platform for WordPress with the best creative and business workflows for agencies, building upon their collective investments and leadership in WordPress and creating the largest Agency Partner Program in WordPress. These benefits are all driven by a shared set of cultural values and purpose aimed at better serving the global brands and agencies who build sites on WordPress. In the largest acquisition to date in the WordPress industry, WP Engine will now power more than 120,000 brands and agencies in 150 countries served by nearly 900 employees across seven offices globally.
“On behalf of the WP Engine team, we couldn’t be more excited to join forces with one of the most respected brands in WordPress. I personally welcome each employee and customer into the WP Engine family and I’m excited about the opportunities we will create in the years to come,” said Heather Brunner, Chairwoman and CEO of WP Engine. “This powerful combination furthers our vision to be the most relied upon platform for WordPress. Our continued investment in WordPress, our shared values and culture, our enterprise-class technology and support, our community of agency partners and most of all our people will be a powerful driver to bring our customers’ breakthrough digital experiences to life.”
Flywheel was founded in 2012 by Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker and Rick Knudtson, all of whom came from web development backgrounds at agencies. They focused on creating targeted and innovative products to help agencies grow their business on WordPress. Flywheel numbers more than 200 employees around the world, headquartered in Omaha, Neb., and complements WP Engine’s employees and customer base in North America, Australia and Europe.
The company serves more than 28,000 customers globally. In 2018, Flywheel was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States and as the fastest-growing company in Nebraska.
“We founded Flywheel with the belief that in order to help creatives do their best work, we needed to create an internal culture that encourages our employees to do the same,” said Dusty Davidson, CEO and co-founder of Flywheel. “That philosophy has led us to build an incredible company and some of the most well-loved products in WordPress, supported by an impressive group of talented people and the most remarkable open source community in the world. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved to date, or more excited for what the future holds for us working together!”
WordPress is not only the leading content management system (CMS) today powering 34 percent of the web, but it is also the fastest growing CMS in the world. WP Engine and Flywheel are both leaders in the WordPress ecosystem and are deeply committed to its success. Over the past year, the combined efforts of the two companies have amounted to more than $4 million in financial contributions and more than 20,000 hours of time and talent devoted to advancing WordPress. Going forward, WP Engine will continue to prioritize making investments of time and money into WordPress contributions, open source local development environments, WordPress plugin integrations, continued investment in the Genesis Framework, WordPress themes, thought leadership, sponsorships and product innovation.
One of the drivers of this combination is that both companies share a belief that strong culture drives outsized employee and customer success. WP Engine’s founding philosophy is encoded in its five core values, which include Do the Right Thing; Customer Inspired; Where the Best get Better; Built to Last; and Aspiring to Lead, Committed to Giving Back. These values, which hang on the wall in every WP Engine office, have served as the blueprint that has helped the company scale around the world. Flywheel has been similarly purpose-driven and customer-centric. Their mission, to help creatives do their best work, has served to guide Flywheel since its founding. Going forward together, the nearly 900 employees will apply their combined talents with intensity and integrity, a joint effort that will create a bright future for the brands, agencies, and businesses building on WordPress.
Enterprise Technology & Support
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, and as more enterprise brands adopt it, the demand for an easier development experience for agencies and brands has become imperative. WP Engine designed its managed WordPress platform, which was recognized as an April 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Web Content Management (WCM), to meet these needs and the demand for more personalized and connected online experiences. Flywheel is focused on crafting sleek and simple tools that allow agencies to quickly build, launch and manage WordPress sites. Both companies have worked to make development on WordPress easier and more enjoyable. WP Engine recently launched DevKit, combining a local development environment, SSH Gateway access, easy deployments, and other best-in-class WordPress developer tools for building, debugging and deploying digital experiences. Flywheel offers Local by Flywheel, a local development application that is universally lauded by over 150,000 developers. Together, the combination of WP Engine and Flywheel, along with leading technology partners like Amazon Web Services, Cloudflare, Google, HubSpot and New Relic, will set the bar for WordPress innovation. Further, WP Engine’s platform comes with the award-winning support of more than 170 WordPress experts that are just a click away, available in every time zone.
A Vibrant Community of Agency Partners
WP Engine and Flywheel have both built extensive, innovative solutions packed with benefits that help agencies thrive and grow their businesses, without dealing with administrative details or technical support. The WP Engine Agency Partner Program comprises more than 2,500 agencies dedicated to delivering enterprise-grade solutions in WordPress including 10Up, CrowdFavorite, Droga5, Edelman, GSD&M, Huge, Ogilvy, R/GA, The Richards Group and W20. Flywheel’s Agency Partner Program includes 2,000 agencies. Once integrated, WP Engine’s Agency Partner Program will serve more than 4,500 agencies around the world, making it the largest in WordPress.
As announced in January 2019, WP Engine posted an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $132 million at a growth rate of more than 30 percent. The details of the transaction are not being disclosed.
About WP Engine
WP Engine is the managed WordPress provider that gives companies of all sizes the agility, performance, intelligence, and integrations they need to drive their business forward faster. WP Engine’s combination of tech innovation and an award-winning team of WordPress experts are trusted by more than 120,000 customers across 150 countries to provide counsel and support, helping brands create world-class digital experiences. Founded in 2010, WP Engine is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has offices in Brisbane, Australia; Limerick, Ireland; London, England; Omaha, Neb.; San Antonio, Texas and San Francisco, Calif.
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There are 20 comments
Whoa! This is huge news. Congrats to the Flywheel team!
“There will be no immediate changes to the Flywheel platform, pricing plans, or the experience.” … but what will the eventual changes be? Should I be worried?
Hey William. I work for WP Engine. We will be meeting with the Flywheel team over the next few months to figure out the best ways to combine forces. We’ll announce any changes or new initiatives with plenty of notice on anything that may (or may not) affect you. That being said, we certainly understand that customers of both platforms rely on those platforms for their success, and we will honor all of our customers with the ideas we come up with to better service our customers together.
I can assure you that there are a ton of caring and thoughtful people working hard to make sure we do just that 🙂
Will pricing change for your plans to match Flywheel’s, or vice versa?
Hey Edward. I work for WP Engine. There are no plans for that at this time. The teams will be starting a strategic integration exercise soon to figure out the best way to combine forces. Should any changes, new programs, new products, etc. be decided on, we’ll certainly email you plenty of notice on anything that may (or may not) affect you. In any case, the plan right now is business as usual 🙂
This is almost as good as if Burger King and Dairy Queen decided to partner up and have a royal wedding.
This article should have addressed how WP Engine plans to improve on the service Flywheel provided to it’s customers, because as a Flywheel customer, my initial thought was “Gee, I hope they don’t ruin Flywheel.” And that’s not because I have anything against WP Engine. I just don’t see how Flywheel could get any better at the current moment. Yes, you could say I am a fan.
Here’s a thought – on my current Flywheel plan I’d be paying nearly DOUBLE if I was on a WP Engine plan. That’s something I bet nearly every Flywheel customer is thinking right now and should be addressed by WP Engine.
Hey Matthew. I work for WP Engine. I too hope we don’t ruin Flywheel! They’re an amazing company with a culture much like the WP Engine culture (eerily so), and their platform and services are incredible (IMO). I feel all of these things smartly compliment the WPE platform and community.
That being said, it is up to WP Engine and our new team at Flywheel to honor and respect the customers who rely on both platforms. We have to do that work. We have to *actually* make things even better for customers of *both* platforms.
As you know, only time will tell on if we pull that off, but I can assure you there are many smart, caring, and thoughtful men and women working to do just that.
As for the pricing concerns, we are listening to this feedback as we move into integration planning. I can confirm there are no current plans to change pricing, and we would certainly give plenty of notice on any changes if that were even a thing.
The value we saw in Flywheel was their amazing team, incredible culture, and world-class platform. Those are the parts our teams are most excited to explore and see how we can move faster and better serve the customers of both platforms together.
Are you going to honor the agency/bulk pricing schedules that we have with flywheel? This is something that should answered now rather than later. If you possibly raise the prices on our current plans, we the paying customer that has an agreement in place should know now.
Hey Scott. I did a little digging to verify as it seems this question is coming up quite a bit.
To be clear, WP Engine is not changing the pricing of Flywheel plans. It is important to us that Flywheel customers continue to be able to rely on the support they have come to know and love with Flywheel. It is business as usual, so you can continue to focus on your digital customers. Your success, is our success, and that’s the driving force behind every decision we make.
I hope this helps abate your fears a bit. We love Flywheel and are looking forward to all the great things we’ll do together!
Between StudioPress and Flywheel you guys are cornering the market. Be good to us!
I am highly disappointed with Flywheel! I never dreamed you would sell out like this!
You obviously don’t have much of an imagination.
Does this mean there will eventually be a quick and easy-to-use connection between WPEngine and Local by Flywheel?
Hey Greg. I work for WP Engine. We have a strategic integration team from both companies sitting down over the next month or so to figure out the best ways to work together and deliver even more value to the customers of both platforms. I like the suggestion of a connected experience. I’ll pass along this feedback for sure!
Please open source Local by Flywheel rather than killing it like Array Themes (or requiring WP Engine to use it)! I know that WPE thinks that they have no financial incentive to do so, but LBF’s agnostic approach (in my opinion) _strongly_ contributed to awareness of the Flywheel brand.
I know that giving it away probably doesn’t appeal to PHBs, but I think doing so could be a very effective marketing tool (as it was for Flywheel). Marketing comes in many forms and is rarely cheap. Alternatively, you could change money for the “agnostic” version – just please don’t kill it!!
(For the record, I like WP Engine, have an account, have used your service frequently and recommend you to clients where you are a good fit. However, some of my clients have a very customized setup where shared hosting won’t work. I like that I can use LBF for both WP Engine and non-WP Engine sites/projects. Please keep it that way!)
Hey Daniel. Thanks for this feedback. I work for WP Engine and will be happy to answer your questions as best I can.
First off, we don’t have any plans on killing LBF. We love it too!
We do want to explore what synergies exist between LBF and our recently launched WP Engine Dev Kit product (both products are platform agnostic except for the push to WPE/FW features), but that would be more of a function of seeing how the teams working on both products can work together to deliver new features even *faster* to customers of both platforms.
It could be that these products merge at some point (no plans for that currently), but both the WPE & FW teams are taking their time on reviewing the most beneficial path for customers. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s a complicated puzzle with a ton of technology, resource, and customer experience considerations.
For now, it’s business as usual, and of course as we think about the future, it’s *very* important to us to not make any decisions or take any actions that would negatively affect the FW or WPE products you rely on.
Continuity in your business and workflow is our top focus as we figure out how our newly combined teams can make those products even better and at a much faster rate 🙂
I wasn’t even aware Flywheel offered WordPress hosting as they seem most known for their modern Mac alternative to MAMP, aka Local by Flywheel (always hated that mouthful of a name, but great free software for local WordPress development).
The big question is what happens to that software. WP Engine might abandon it, or let it wilt. Or they could keep it updated and added WP Engine specific integration for allowing people to download site copies from WP Engine and Push from it to WP Engine which seems highly likely, so long as it can still work normally without having to use WP Engine. Though since WP Engine understandably is in the business of making money they may heavily favor it to people using their system. Then again Microsoft bought GitHub and GitHub and more comparably GitHub for Mac is still thriving though who knows for how long. Whenever a company buys another they say nothing will change…yet. Until it does which it ‘always’ does. So yes, pricing and details will change but not much one can do until they know the details and if the changes aren’t appealing whenever that happens in say 6 months or a year or so then one can make a decision what’s best for them. A few of our clients use WP Engine and there support has been great.
Hey Chris. I work for WPE and can provide guidance here. I can confirm we are not going to abandon Local by Flywheel and other than platform-specific features like “push/pull to WPE / Flywheel”, have no plans to require you to host either platform to continue using the product. We’re still working on a strategy to see how Local + WPE might work together, but we definitely aren’t abandoning Local or plan on changing the fundamental value it’s delivering. We love Local and plan on investing in it to make it even better!
Couldn’t be happier about this!
Long time WPEngine and Local by Flywheel user, can’t wait to see the integration you’ve got planned!