Skimlinks, a platform which allows publishers full control over affiliate links and content monetization, has acquired InvisibleHand for an undisclosed sum. The latter has become a significant player in the realm of real-time e-commerce product and pricing, and is best known for its browser extension which notifies users if the product or flights they’re shopping for is available more cheaply elsewhere.
Founded way back in 2009, InvisibleHand has been trundling along for years, quietly building a sizeable audience, pulling in revenues from these affiliate links, but also generating a powerful API. They claim the consumer-facing product has found over $1 billion of savings for users in the US, UK and German markets. But the underlying business-to-business side allows retailers to do realtime pricing. On the flip side, Skimlinks says the acquisition will enhance its core affiliate products, offer new insights to partners, and boost earnings for its network of publishers.
InvisibleHand’s engineering and product teams will join Skimlinks, as will CEO and founder Robin Landy, but the InvisibleHand product will remain running and now benefit from Skimlinks’ now significant sales force.
Forward Internet Group (known as Forward), the London-based “studio model” investor, was a majority investor in InvisibleHand and now acquires a minority equity stake in Skimlinks.
Alicia Navarro, CEO and founder of Skimlinks says the InvisibleHand team has “tackled two of the toughest problems in e-commerce: algorithmically matching large product data sets across multiple retailers, and pairing that information with accurate price data.” Landy says “Skimlinks is the perfect partner for the next stage of InvisibleHand’s development.”
InvisibleHand was essentially invented inside Forward before it created “Forward Labs”, its ‘startup studio’. Forward’s Paul Fisher says this was the first sale of a Forward Labs project so they are “exceptionally pleased” that the model is starting to bare results.
Skimlinks has been on a roll of moves lately: raising growth funding, launching a real-time product comparison product, a product aimed at the Fashion industry, a new Japanese operation, and a product for publishers affected by the closure of Google Affiliate Network.