Intuit, maker of financial products like Quickbooks and TurboTax, has a stated purpose of trying to be “the operating system for small business.” Today, it took another step to solidify that position with its planned acquisition of Docstoc, which over the years has created one of the largest directories of documents for building a small business.
Intuit has been on a bit of an acquisition spree lately, acquiring companies like FullSlate, Level Up Analytics, and GoodApril in the last six months alone. All of those acquisitions are based around providing better technology and more tools to small businesses.
This acquisition is no different, and it wraps up a neat little success story for Docstoc, which has spent the last several years helping small businesses get off the ground. The company, which was one of the first TechCrunch40 finalists, was founded in 2007 as a repository for user-submitted documents for small businesses. But while it still has a sizable number of documents provided by users, about 20 million by last count, over the years it’s transitioned to produce its own content.
That includes not just all the documents one might need to get a small business off the ground, but also videos, tutorials, classes, and other educational information. In all, Docstoc now has more than 20,000 pieces of content that it’s produced, and it’s adding more than 300 new pieces each week.
In addition to its main site, which brings in some 16 million uniques and has 40 million registered users worldwide, Docstoc also has a few side businesses. A year-and-a-half ago, it launched a site called License123 to provide businesses with all the licenses they’d need to be compliant with local regulations in their home cities. And earlier this summer it made an acquisition of its own, bringing on professional services and software recommendations company BestVendor, which it combined with its own ExpertCircle business.
All of that provides Intuit with a wealth of information and resources for a customer base that’s largely made up of small businesses. The company has more than 5 million Quickbooks users, many of which are contractors, freelancers, or otherwise businesses of one. According to Intuit VP and GM Alex Chriss, who led the deal, this acquisition will help both companies better serve that audience.
“There’s 28 million small businesses out there and 22 million are really small businesses, businesses of one,” Chriss said. “They have to face a whole bunch of these questions immediately after starting a business, and these guys [Docstoc] have the best content in the world about how to do that.”
For Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar, the acquisition also made a whole lot of sense. The company has been running profitably for years, after raising just $4 million from investors. While it wasn’t totally bootstrapped, Nazar says having the resources of Intuit behind Docstoc will help it to grow and accelerate its pace for launching new products.
“I spent seven years being scrappy,” Nazar said. “I’m looking forward to having big resources behind us, and a big brand like Intuit.” But for Docstoc employees, not much will change. According to Nazar, the entire 50-person team will continue operating in its same office in Santa Monica, Calif.
Even so, he sees a big opportunity to make things easier for other small businesses just starting out. “Both of our goals is to meaningfully change the lives of those 28 million small businesses for the better,” he said.
I wish both of them luck in that. After all, having been a fan of Docstoc and Jason personally for a while, I gotta say, it couldn’t have happened to a better person or a better team.