5 Best Marketplaces to Buy and Sell Online Businesses plus SaaS and micro-SaaS Startups

My personal photo.
Ilya Novohatskyi
August 2, 2022

Before now, buying and selling businesses wasn’t a smooth ride. Too many parties got involved, and the acquisition process took months or even years. Buyers had no place to reach interested sellers easily. On the other hand, small companies didn’t have the channel and means to market their venture. Enter online marketplaces.

Credits

Online marketplaces have made it possible for founders, developers, creators, and entrepreneurs to sell and buy businesses with little to no hassle or interference. The long-winded sales processes now take as little as a few hours to 30 days – many thanks to online marketplaces. Plus entrepreneurs can securely buy businesses.

Without further ado, let’s explore the best marketplaces to buy and sell online businesses.

What are the Best Marketplaces to Buy and Sell SaaS Startups and Online Businesses?

Microns.io

Microns.io Marketplace for Buying and Selling Online
Microns

Microns.io is our startup marketplace, and we're known as the home where you can buy and sell pre-vetted small online businesses. We provide buyers and sellers all the tools needed for the seamless acquisition of online businesses.

What online businesses can you buy/sell on Microns.io?

You can buy and sell online businesses from as low as $400 to $300,000, making it a good place not only for professionals like developers, designers, and marketers but also for small funds.

While a vast majority of the businesses listed on our marketplace are micro-SaaS startups, you can find a range of other pre-vetted online businesses. They include e-commerce, newsletters, communities, Shopify apps, marketplaces, agencies, Chrome extensions, mobile apps, WP plugins, Google add-ons, content websites, blogs, directories, databases, bots, and crypto startups.

On our listings page, you can find key data such as ARR, growth opportunity, target audience and the number of customers. Unlike MicroAcquire where the average acquisition costs more than $500,000, Microns is the best place to buy/sell small startups as the maximum acquisition is $300,000.

Top Features

  • Best for buying/selling small businesses: We've facilitated the sale of dozens of online businesses, so if you're a buyer looking to acquire a high potential startup, Microns provides all the tools to make this possible.
  • Pre-vetted micro startups: We vet every listing on our platform, including traffic/revenue metrics, scam verification, and asking price, to ensure buyers get credible and profitable businesses.
  • Hand picks: Get carefully sourced listings delivered to your inbox. As a premium buyer, get real-time notifications and be the first to know about new listings published on our website.
  • Borderless transactions: Interested in buying or selling a business outside your country, Microns is not restricted by your location. You can close a sale with interested buyers and sellers from every country.

If you’re interested in starting your entrepreneurial journey with a small business or you want to add another business to your portfolio, search for high-quality listings using Microns Premium.

Flippa

Flippa - marketplace for buying and selling SaaS and online businesses
Flippa

Flippa was founded in 2009, making them one of the most popular startup marketplaces. Over the years, the Australian-based company has built a community of over 600,000 verified buyers and sellers.

The marketplace provides high-quality service to aid seamless online business acquisitions for both buyers and sellers. Of all the marketplaces on this list, Flippa has the largest number of businesses on sale.

What online businesses can you buy/sell on Flippa?

Flippa has a directory of over 5,000 daily online businesses for sale. Besides this, they also focused on offline businesses.

The business categories listed on Flippa are not limited to ecommerce brands, SaaS startups, content (blogs and newsletters), websites, service-based businesses, domains, and dropshipping stores. You can search for hundreds of online businesses based on location, type, age, category, niche, and prices. To streamline the buying process and time, you can search for ecommerce stores through dedicated categories like Shopify and Amazon FBA stores.

For sellers, Flippa allows you integrate your ecommerce store with Google Analytics so prospective buyers can get insights into your website’s traffic and sales metrics.

Top Features

  • Due Diligence Report: This is a report to give business owners access to detailed analysis to help them make informed decisions to scale their brands’ sales and marketing. The paid service contains competitor, seller, financial, industry, risk assessment, pricing, and traffic analysis.
  • Flippa Finder: This is also a paid concierge service where first-time buyers get exclusive professional information and 1:1 consultation about business acquisition.
  • Valuation Tool: Flippa’s free valuation tool allows you determine your company’s value and get insights into enhancing your business’s sellability.
  • Guidant Financial: This is a financing service in partnership with Guidant Official where small businesses can get access to SBA loans and 401(k) financing solutions.

Flippa charges their sellers listing fee and 5-10% commission based on the size of the business. It's a great place for website flipping and offline businesses.

FE International

FE International - marketplace for buying and selling SaaS and online businesses
FE International

While the other platforms are marketplaces for buying and selling mostly SMBs, FE International acts as an advisory team for buying and selling large businesses on sale. They're the best platform for large online acquisitions.

FE International is a website broker that provides advisory services to investors looking to sell or buy online businesses. The team of brokers pools their expertise in providing investors with personalized sales processes. And they have a 94.1% sales success rate, making them one of the best platforms for big business acquisition.

What online businesses can you buy/sell on FE International?

FE International has been around since 2010 and has sold over 1,200 businesses. They provide M&A advisory services to entrepreneurs interested in buying SaaS, Shopify apps, ecommerce, and content businesses.

Top Features

  • Personalized sales process: Unlike most other marketplaces where founders, developers, and entrepreneurs list their businesses and get matched with interested buyers, FE International takes a different approach. FE International tries to understand the businesses listed on its platform and get accurate data about them. Afterward, they contact their network of buyers with a detailed report to find the best fit.
  • International coverage: FE International has offices in New York, San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong and a network of over 50,000 pre-qualified investors.
  • Private listing: You can list your online business in their private marketplace to get only serious buyers to view your business profile.

If you’re interested in buying 7- and 8-figure businesses, FE International is one of the best places to list your business.

Shopify Exchange

Shopify Exchange - marketplace for buying and selling SaaS and online businesses
Shopify Exchange

Interested in buying an ecommerce business? You can streamline your search strictly to browse high-quality listings on Shopify’s marketplace.

Shopify Exchange is a platform for buying and selling Shopify ecommerce businesses. You can find business listings based on location, sales channel, industry, business type, average revenue, profit per month, etc.

What online businesses can you buy/sell on Shopify Exchange?

You can only buy Shopify ecommerce stores on Shopify Exchange as it created the platform to ease the acquisition of ecommerce stores.

Top Features

  • Secure Exchange: A partnership with Escrow.com to ensure the safe and secure exchange of online businesses.
  • Starter Stores: This feature allows you buy stores starting from as low as $100.
  • Staff Picks: Instead of combing through a vast library of listings, Shopify can send a list of hand-picked businesses for you.

MicroAcquire

MicroAcquire - marketplace for buying and selling SaaS and online businesses
MicroAcquire

At the time of writing, MicroAcquire has facilitated $500 million in acquisitions, mostly in the sale of software companies. While you can buy other online businesses on the platform, most of their listings are 7- figure SaaS startups.

They pride themselves as the best marketplace to kickstart acquisition conversations to buy/sell an online business within 30 days. Buyers can assess key metrics of listings before deciding to speak with a seller. Some of the metrics buyers are privy to include customer acquisition cost, number of customers, recurring revenue per month, and many other metrics.

What online businesses can you buy/sell on MicroAcquire?

MicroAcquire's marketplace isn’t restricted to only SaaS startups. You can also buy/sell ecommerce brands, newsletters, Shopify SaaS apps, agencies, and communities.

Top Features

  • Valuation tool: MicroAcquire’s valuation calculator helps you determine what your company’s worth.
  • Advisor directory: You can get access to advisors to help you with legal, accounting, negotiations, valuations, escrow, and M&A services. Think of it like Upwork but for acquisition advisors.
  • Available in all countries: MicroAcquire claims to have facilitated closed deals in every continent (except Antarctica. of course).

MicroAcquire started as a platform for the acquisition of small startups (<$500k) but then grew up to the size of main street market deals ($500k+). So, this is a perfect option for mid-size private equity funds.

Update: Reilly Chase revealed one of the recent scams on Twitter. So always do your due diligence.

What are the benefits of buying or selling a business in an online marketplace?

  • A lot of the hard work has been done for you. You don’t need to hire a development team, draw a launch strategy, set up systems like logistics, suppliers, etc., and in some cases, find your first customers. The founder has already done these for you.
  • Rather than starting an idea that may not be profitable, acquire an established business with the potential for growth.
  • Streamlines the buying/selling process and makes acquisition conversations shorter.
  • Minimizes marketing costs and efforts for sellers as the marketplace brings your startup before its community of (sometimes, verified) buyers.
  • Easily get investors as the business has a history or signs of profitability and growth.
  • Entrepreneurs can buy businesses regardless of location and without having to travel.
  • A plethora of data to encourage buyers’ purchasing decisions.
  • The option to compare businesses to determine the best fit and prices.
  • Safer and smoother transactions as the processes are more transparent and secure.

What are the disadvantages of buying/selling an online business in a marketplace?

  • While buying an online business in a marketplace may be an affordable and good investment, sometimes, it could be more expensive than building one from scratch.
  • If you’re a first-time buyer, acquiring an online business may be risky as you may not have the capacity or skill to grow a business venture.
  • Changing an established business’s mode of operation may not be as easy as you think.
  • For sellers, unless your startup is highly profitable or aligns with a buyer’s interest, your business is up against the competition in the marketplace.

What Kinds of Online Businesses Can You Buy or Sell?

The most common online businesses sold and bought on marketplaces are SaaS and micro-SaaS startups, e-commerce stores, content websites, and mobile apps.

SaaS and micro-SaaS Startups

SaaS business for sale
ThisIsEngineering: SaaS and Micro-SaaS Startup

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and micro-SaaS companies are some of the most profitable and easy-to-run online businesses as they're managed in the cloud. They’re sold as subscription services to customers, making them scalable and easy to sell.

SaaS and micro-SaaS products range from analytics, AI, content writing, marketing tools, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), bookkeeping software, etc. 

Factors to consider before buying a SaaS or micro-SaaS startup

  • Key metrics: To avoid buying an unprofitable micro-SaaS company, consider its operational costs, number of customers, annual recurring revenue (ARR), profit margin, churn rate, and P&L statements. You can also check out its ROAS and CAC to ensure you can sustain the company’s marketing.
  • Pricing model: SaaS pricing models typically range from multiple-tiered to flat pricing models. A good pricing model can minimize churn rate and maximize value for users. So understand the startup’s pricing model and find ways to make it better.
  • Customer acquisition channels: When acquiring a SaaS business, look for one that gets a lot of customers from organic, direct, and social media traffic. These businesses are easier to sustain and more likely to increase your bottom line than those relying heavily on paid traffic.
  • Room for scalability: You’ve got a potentially profitable SaaS business if you can find creative ways to offer new services, acquire new customers, and enter new markets.

Factors to consider before selling a SaaS or micro-SaaS startup

Before listing your SaaS or micro-SaaS business on a marketplace, you can value the startup using EBITDA or Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE). And ensure you have accurate data and key metrics to encourage buyers to see your business as a profitable one.

E-commerce Stores

eCommerce business for sale
Karolina Grabowska: eCommerce

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the rate at which people shop online. And it’s been predicted that 95% of all purchases will be via eCommerce stores by 2040.

So owning an ecommerce store is a big thing and is expected to grow 23% year on year. So before you buy an eCommerce business, consider the following factors;

  • Operating costs
  • Cost of goods sold
  • Annual revenue
  • Order fulfillment
  • Distributors
  • Suppliers
  • Brand awareness
  • Ecommerce platform used
  • Organic traffic

Also, look for channels to increase the brand’s revenue. And do your due diligence and speak to experts before acquiring an eCommerce store.

And if you’re looking to sell your eCommerce business, make your website more visually appealing and improve the website’s traffic and CTR. Also, try to increase the sales channels.

Content websites and blogs

Blogger creating content
Plann: Content website

Brian Lam started The Wirecutter, a gadgets review site, and made over $150 million in revenue running it for 5 years before selling it to New York Times for $30 million.

Also, Ryan Robinson makes around $40,000 every month – most of that earning comes from affiliate commissions. And every day, bloggers are monetizing their websites in different ways. These make content websites some of the most lucrative online businesses to buy and sell.

However, before buying a website on a marketplace, ensure you do your due diligence. Get access to metrics such as website traffic, traffic sources, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc. Also, know how many bloggers are on the team and how well the website is positioned to influence readers’ purchasing decisions. Furthermore, ask the blog owners to prove their monetization claims. And find ways to improve the website’s traffic to gain more visibility and generate more income.

And if you’re selling a blog, you should first evaluate your blog’s worth. Consider the cost of content and website development, cost per visit, website traffic, and annual revenue.

Wrapping up

Now you know the best places to buy and sell online businesses, Microns.io gives you the resources to easily sell and buy profitable micro startups like micro-SaaS apps, ecommerce websites, blogs, web or mobile apps, etc., within a couple of days.

So are you looking to sell or buy profitable businesses? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter today.

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