AUSTIN, Texas – June 24, 2019 – WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), 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 Digital Experience 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 digital experience 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, the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform for WordPress 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.