GoDaddy Buys Ronin, Makes Inroads Into Accounting Services For Small Businesses

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Another week, another acquisition for GoDaddy. The domain registration and hosting company announced today that it has bought Ronin, a company that specializes in online invoicing services to help businesses bill customers and keep track of how they get paid. The deal actually closed in April, says GoDaddy, but the company is making it public today because it has now integrated the service into GoDadddy Online Bookkeeping, its SMB-focused accounting business.

Terms have not been disclosed, but we are trying to find out what they are anyway. GoDaddy tells us that Ronin had been bootstrapped, raising money only from friends and family.

This is the fifth acquisition for GoDaddy in 15 months, and comes just weeks after the fourth was made public. The others were Afternic for aftermarket domain registry services (basically a domain resellers’ marketplace); M.dot to help website owners to create mobile Internet sites; Locu to help them organize and distribute their business data to other sites/services; and Outright for bookkeeping. Ronin will sit alongside Outright in the Bookkeeping division and basically will help GoDaddy offer a more complete suite of services. This potentially puts GoDaddy into closer competition with the likes of Intuit and others that aim cloud-based services at small businesses.

“Our customers love our product – but they wanted us to provide invoicing capabilities. We knew Ronin provided an unparalleled experience, so we started discussions,” GoDaddy SVP for business applications, Steven Aldrich, said in a statement. “It soon became clear – we needed the team at Ronin to be on our team and we needed to seamlessly integrate invoicing into our product. The end result is GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping.”

Like Ronin, the other four acquisitions were also made to build out the services that GoDaddy offers for small businesses and sole traders, which make up the majority of its 12 million customers today. The idea here is that by offering extra services to domain owners, GoDaddy can attract more of them to buy and host domains via GoDaddy.

That’s because domain purchases and hosting remain the company’s mainstay for generating revenue, but adding more services like these puts GoDaddy into a position of making more from other areas longer term. Ronin currently offers a range of pricing tiers, from free to $49/month, depending on how many staff use the service, how many clients are listed, and so on.

Ronin founder Lu Wang, who is staying on with GoDaddy and Ronin post-acquisition, clearly saw an opportunity to grow his product by being able to sell it out to a wider base of users.

“GoDaddy and Ronin share a vision of giving small businesses the best tools to succeed online,” he said in a statement. “The ability to reach 12 million customers… is a tremendous opportunity. Joining the GoDaddy team has given us the access to the resources and smart people who we’ve wanted.”