Rogers, Ark.-based startup SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder, co-founded in 2010 by Eric Howerton and Alex Ahmad, has been acquired by London-based information and analytics firm Ascential for an undisclosed sum.
Howerton said they launched WhyteSpyder with just $800 nearly 12 years ago to help facilitate the ease of selling online for suppliers and their retail partners. The Rogers company began primarily as a content creator for suppliers selling on Walmart.com but quickly transformed into a technology company developing SKU Ninja to automate, optimize and manage online pages for suppliers selling to Walmart.com.
SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder now employs about 40 people and is led by CEO J.S. Bull and Eric Howerton, the chief growth officer and co-founder. The company said it provides retail services to more than 80 brands that trade on Walmart.com by using technology-driven search optimization, retail insights, content management and rich media hosting.
“As one of the world’s largest retailers, Walmart is a very complex ecosystem,” said Bull. “Brands find unique challenges at Walmart, especially when moving over from other digital platforms. Our focus, experience and knowledge around Walmart has enabled us to create software and services to fix problems that other providers don’t know exist.”
While specific terms of the deal were not disclosed by the parties, they did say the local firm will become a business unit of Ascential’s digital commerce business that owns Perpetual and Flywheel that offer more Amazon-focused service offerings. The company also plans to work together to build a suite of additional services to help brands solve digital commerce challenges.
“SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder’s specialist serving brands on Walmart’s rapidly scaling marketplace will accelerate our goal to build out deep cross-platform capabilities within our Digital Commerce business,” said Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential. “Walmart represents one of the most significant marketplaces in North America and WhyteSpyder’s expertise here, while complementary to our existing Amazon focussed capabilities, will provide further growth opportunities for our existing measurement and execution offerings in this region.”
Bull and Howerton are native Arkansans and have established successful technology and digital careers in the state. They are expected to remain with the company.
“This acquisition is exciting for our team, community and the state of Arkansas,” said Howerton, adding that the company’s humble beginnings are “a testament to Arkansas entrepreneurism, great people and captured global opportunities.”
SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder is also a founding Walmart Connected Content Partner and has domain experience with Walmart.com, which should benefit the new enterprise. Ascential, an e-commerce management, marketing and analytics firm, employs more than 2,000 in five continents with clients in 120 countries. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Lincoln International acted as financial advisor and Adam Flock with RMP, LLP Attorneys at Law served as legal advisor to SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder.