RUMOR: Enterprise AMS has letter of intent to be acquired

I’m hearing rumors from several knowledgeable sources that an enterprise level AMS has been holding a letter of intent to be acquired for months.

Why don’t I name the companies in rumor posts? Check out theNIRD.org’s policies.

Community Brands welcomes NimbleUser to its family of companies

I received a tip yesterday afternoon that NimbleUser would be welcomed to the Community Brands family of companies. This post was scheduled yesterday evening, on the request of my source, and will be updated as new details, including a press release, are made available. The press release is scheduled to go out in the early morning hours according to my sources.

For those unfamiliar, NimbleUser’s flagship product is NimbleAMS, a Salesforce-powered AMS. They’re based in Rochester, NY, and Sigmund VanDamme is their Founder.  NimbleUser may be best known in the association sector for their retro Airstream camper which they haul to major trade shows.

ANALYSIS Part 4 of 4: YourMembership leads the Community Brands consolidation

In the time since the Community Brands deals were announced, I’ve spoken with senior executives at Abila, Aptify, YourMembership, and some of their competitors. I also attended the Abila Users & Developers Conference, speaking with their customers and consultants, and listened to a keynote presentation from JP Guilbault, Community Brands’ CEO.

I’ve been analyzing the implications of this deal from the standpoint of each company wrapped up in the transaction, based on the conversations I’ve had with my sources.

Today’s post is about YourMembership.

It’s safe to say that YourMembership (YM) is the lead company in the Community Brands consolidation. The CEO of YM, JP Guilbault, has ascended to the title of CEO of Community Brands and holds the title of CEO for both Aptify and Abila.

For background, in the past five years, YM has made a rapid rise to become a powerhouse AMS. In late 2012, YM (which stood with about 1,000 clients at the time) acquired Affiniscape, an Austin-based AMS with about 1,200 clients, making them one of the major AMS players in the small to mid-sized association market.

The Affiniscape acquisition was bumpy for customers, according to most accounts, and on ReviewMyAMS.com, you can see a pattern of customer dissatisfaction on YM right after the merger. Much like the Avectra/Abila merger, many of the Affiniscape staff departed shortly after the acquisition. Despite assurances made at the 2012 Affiniscape users conference that a best of breed AMS would come from the careful analysis of both products, clients were notified after the acquisition that their product would be deprecated, and a migration to YM would their only choice — unless they wanted to move to another AMS. Clearly, this angered many Affiniscape clients. Adding insult to injury, many Affiniscape clients felt their migrations to YM weren’t handled with care. Ultimately YM doubled down its investment on migrations and the experience improved. It took years for YM to undo the damage, but they eventually did, and now they enjoy a mostly happy clientele. JP Guilbault admits that he reflects on the Affiniscape acquisition as a learning experience, and one that he vows not to repeat.

But doubling their customer base with Affiniscape was only the beginning. YM acquired job board platform Job Target and learning management system platform Digital Ignite. Years after these acquisitions, the former CEOs of Job Target and Digital Ignite are still on staff with YM, their offices are still in place, as are many employees of those acquired companies. I believe this is evidence of a learning lesson from the Affiniscape acquisition, and is hopefully a foreshadowing of what should be expected for the Abila and Aptify deals, as well as future deals.

These acquisitions, combined with the development of an expertly executed marketing and sales strategy over the past five years resulted in YM being catapulted to one of the leading AMS and technology providers in the market, both in terms of customers and revenue. For this effort, YM was acquired by Ministry Brands in February 2017 for a hefty price tag of approximately $300 million, it’s rumored.

YM customers will be the least affected by this consolidation, according to the industry observers I’ve spoken to. They expect the inertia of JP Guilbault’s tenure with YM to continue for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we can predict that the products, office culture, pricing models, customer service practices, and staff from the legacy YM company to be more difficult to unseat going forward under Community Brands than those of Abila and Aptify.

Therefore, Abila and Aptify personnel and customers should expect aspects of YM’s business practices to be applied to them. That change may be painful at first, but in the long run, it will probably be for the best, as the personnel will be more efficient as duplicative processes are eliminated.

Most consultants and YM customers we’ve spoken to are taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach. Most customers seem to have gotten over the problems experienced during the Affiniscape merger. But like any AMS customer base, there is a contingent of unhappy YM customers, and this contingent sees the Community Brands consolidation as a distraction from the work that needs to be done to stabilize and enhance the products. And to be fair, there is a contingent of YM customers that is excited about the growth and innovation opportunities afforded by YM’s access to hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in their products.

Perhaps the greatest opportunity for YM in the short term is to expand its ancillary products and services into the new customer bases. I’m interested to see how aggressively YM Learning, YM Marketing, and YM Careers will be promoted to Abila and Aptify customers.

Industry insiders believe YM, as the lead company in this consolidation, will be challenged to balance profitability on the one hand, with guarantees of no forced migrations on the other. In particular, YM’s Digital Ignite is a direct competitor to Abila’s LMS, Freestone. And Abila’s netFORUM Pro is often considered head-to-head against YM’s AMS. In a typical consolidation, one product would be deprecated in favor of the preferred product. But as we’ve described in these analyses, this is not your typical consolidation.

ANALYSIS Part 3 of 4: Abila joins Community Brands

In the time since the Community Brands deals were announced, I’ve spoken with senior executives at Abila, Aptify, YourMembership, and some of their competitors. I also attended the Abila Users & Developers Conference, speaking with their customers and consultants, and listened to a keynote presentation from JP Guilbault, Community Brands’ CEO.

I’ve been analyzing the implications of this deal from the standpoint of each company wrapped up in the transaction, based on the conversations I’ve had with my sources.

Today’s post is about Abila.

For background, Abila was formed out of the merger of Avectra and Sage Nonprofit Solutions in July 2013, a deal financed by private equity firm Accel-KKR. Up to that point, Sage and Avectra had little in common. Avectra offered two tiers of its AMS software (netFORUM Pro and netFORUM Enterprise), and Sage offered a suite of products for charitable organizations, the most significant of which was a fund accounting package (Sage MIP). Krista Endsley, Sage’s General Manager, was named CEO of Abila after the merger.

Significant turnover at the Avectra offices ensued soon after the merger. Virtually the entire executive suite turned over. Some industry insiders characterized the transition as rocky, and one longtime Avectra client I spoke to called it “chaos.” My sources tell me that Abila leadership, in hindsight, regretted the mass exodus of personnel.

With its round of funding from Accel-KKR, Abila went on to acquire Peach New Media, provider of an LMS platform called Freestone. With an expanding line of products, industry observers expected to see Abila take a page out of YourMembership’s playbook and make additional acquisitions; but those deals never materialized.

Abila’s CEO Endsley departed the company in February 2017 and was replaced by Craig Charlton, an Accel-KKR advisor. Her departure was coupled with rumors (substantiated by well-placed sources) that Abila had been shopping around for a buyer since 2015. The Abila deal closed one month after Charlton was hired. Some conjectured that Charlton was hired just to get a deal done, but he vigorously denies that rumor.

Abila brings a large DC-area office to Community Brands, an asset that YourMembership has lacked.

Abila’s customer base of approximately 8,000, when taken as a whole, could be described as all over the map. There are approximately 300 large association clients running netFORUM Enterprise, around a thousand netFORUM Pro clients (trending small-medium sized), about 6,000 nonprofit (not association) clients running Sage products, and around 100 Freestone clients.

The short term effects of the Community Brands deal aren’t that significant for Abila customers, in my view. Many Abila staff have been through a merger before, giving them experience to draw from, and I predict the disruption for Abila customers will be minimal. From experience, we’ve learned that the transition from one private equity firm to another gets easier with each subsequent investment.

The long term effects will be interesting to watch. Community Brands staff will be challenged with how to manage three Abila products that compete with other products in the Community Brands portfolio.

  • netFORUM Enterprise vs. Aptify
  • netFORUM Pro vs. YourMembership
  • Freestone vs. Crowd Wisdom (aka YM Learning and Digital Ignite)

Abila’s purchase price was rumored to be in the $150-$200 million range.

ANALYSIS Part 2 of 4: Aptify joins Community Brands

In the time since the Community Brands deals were announced, I’ve spoken with senior executives at Abila, Aptify, YourMembership, and some of their competitors. I also attended the Abila Users & Developers Conference, speaking with their customers and consultants, and listened to a keynote presentation from JP Guilbault, Community Brands’ CEO.

Over the next few days, I’ll analyze the implications of this deal from the standpoint of each company wrapped up in the transaction, based on the conversations I’ve had with my sources.

Let’s turn our attention to the most interesting addition to the Community Brands family, Aptify.

Of the three companies coming together under the Community Brands family, Aptify is the most surprising according to industry observers. The founder of Aptify, Amith Nagarajan, has long boasted the idea that Aptify is a privately owned firm that was fiercely committed to its independence from the influence of investors, and it was an important aspect of their sales pitch.

Aptify even went so far as to become Evergreen Certified, which touts the benefits of privately held businesses:

Taking advantage of the ability of closely-held private companies to have a longer-term view, greater confidentiality around strategies, and more operating flexibility than public or exit-oriented businesses.

Given this commitment, it seems shocking that Nagarajan would sell Aptify. But people close to Nagarajan had different perspectives on his decision. Some said the exit was unexpected, with Nagarajan still substantially involved in decision-making at Aptify and constantly touting the company’s Evergreen status.

Others weren’t surprised, knowing just how much investment money is flowing through the sector, and stating that he had expressed boredom with a technology environment that moved slowly compared to some of the other markets in which he has founded businesses. His need for speed comes as no surprise to those who know him well. Nagarajan is widely regarded in the association sector as a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur, and is rumored to have a dozen companies in his portfolio.

Nagarajan will stay on as a strategic advisor to Community Brands, but will not have any day-to-day responsibilities.

Aptify brings an upper-echelon clientele to Community Brands. Their 100+ clients tend to be among the largest associations measured both by members and revenue. This may be because Aptify is more white-glove-service oriented than many of its competitors, with a large professional services team, much of which works in India. This offshore development team may also be an asset to Community Brands.

Aptify also brings an Australasian office (based in Sydney) to Community Brands, giving the consolidated company a foothold in a new growth market.

Most industry observers I spoke to expect Aptify customers to experience a more difficult transition to new management than other customers. Aptify customers almost universally know Nagarajan, the company founder, personally. As a privately-held business, Aptify had a substantially different culture than equity-backed YourMembership and Abila. Employees at Aptify are experiencing their first change in ownership. Many customers have highly customized databases (though Aptify prefers to call them “configured”). Management at both YourMembership and Abila have been less inclined to take on custom work, and there will be tension between that posture and Aptify’s willingness to give clients virtually whatever they wanted (as long as they paid for it).

This transition isn’t a bad thing; whatever difficulty is experienced by Aptify customers and employees will be temporary. Based on experience with similar deals, we can expect that Aptify will emerge stronger in the end.

Industry insiders will be watching closely for clues on how Community Brands intends to manage two products in its suite (Abila’s netFORUM Enterprise and Aptify) that compete in the same niche.

It will also be interesting to see what happens to Aptify employees after the dust settles. Aptify’s business model is very different than that of Abila or YourMembership, and it’s difficult to imagine how Community Brands personnel could reconcile competing service strategies if asked to serve two kinds of customers: those who are accustomed to white-glove-service and those who expect more out-of-the-box solutions.

Aptify’s purchase price was rumored to be in the range of $75 million.

ANALYSIS: Community Brands consolidation – Part 1 of 4

In the week since the Community Brands deals were announced, I’ve spoken with senior executives at Abila, Aptify, YourMembership, and some of their competitors. I also attended the Abila Users & Developers Conference, speaking with their customers and consultants, and listened to a keynote presentation from JP Guilbault, Community Brands’ CEO.

Over the next few days, I’ll analyze the implications of this deal from the standpoint of each company wrapped up in the transaction. Let’s start with the newly-formed parent company.

COMMUNITY BRANDS

  • Community Brands is a sister company to two others with a longer track record: Education Brands and Ministry Brands. All three companies are backed by private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, and I understand that Ross Croley, CEO of Ministry Brands, provides strategic direction for the three companies.
  • Under Croley, Ministry Brands built an empire by acquiring dozens of companies in various technology verticals in church technology systems (fundraising, websites, accounting, etc.). It’s expected that Community Brands will emulate the business model of Ministry Brands. Therefore, we can expect Community Brands to acquire several more association technology companies over several years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Community Brands amass a portfolio of 10 or more companies by the end of 2017.
  • I’ve been told that Ministry Brands has allowed the companies it has acquired to continue to operate under the same branding, and it has not been typical for them to force migrations or decommission products. Likewise, JP Guilbault has promised no forced migrations for customers of the Community Brands line of products.
  • Allowing brands to continue to operate begs the question: how can Community Brands sustainably and profitably maintain multiple competing products? It can be argued that the products don’t really compete; that they operate in different niches. But I’m aware of several instances where one brand is currently competing with another for a sale. Another way Community Brands can earn more profits on their structure is to consolidate behind-the-scenes business units such as marketing, technology infrastructure, accounting, etc.
  • JP Guilbault ascends to CEO of Community Brands, and holds the title of CEO for Aptify, and Abila. He retains his CEO title at YourMembership. He is expected to announce leadership teams for the trio of companies shortly, and insiders anticipate he’ll name something on the equivalent of General Managers to run each of the three under his leadership.

There are two extreme points of view on the potential effects of this deal. I believe the truth is somewhere in between, but understanding both sides will help you inform your own opinion and draw your own conclusions. Let’s start with the skeptical point of view and then turn to the optimistic point of view:

  • Skeptical:
    • This deal is effectively cornering a substantial slice of the association technology market under one umbrella company. Community Brands boasts 13,000 customers. As more companies are acquired, that customer count will grow. Does this deal reduce choice in the market? That’s debatable. It has been promised that the brands will be able to continue operating independently, and there will be no forced migrations. However, is it really just a false choice when the brands are all owned by the same parent company? For example, in the rental car industry Enterprise, Alamo, and National are all owned and operated by the same parent company. Yes, you have a choice between these three companies, but your money is ultimately going to the same place.
    • Promises have been made that there will be no forced migrations. But we’ve heard from skeptics that a common practice in business models like that of Community Brands is to invest more heavily in a few select products, making it more attractive for customers to move to the products that are getting more investment. Over time, this leads to “voluntary migration” of customers to “golden child” products. Skeptics say this tactic amounts to deliberately influencing customers towards voluntary migration, essentially leaving them with no alternative but to switch. If Community Brands can engineer a process for easily porting customers from under-resourced products to golden child products, it’s an attractive calculated risk.
  • Optimistic:
    • The companies will have access to new and more resources than they’ve had before.
    • The conglomeration will be able to scale better and faster than the companies could separately. A rising tide raises all ships.
    • Research and development resources that have been scattered around multiple companies and priorities can now be focused on the same challenges and opportunities.
    • The association technology ecosystem is highly fragmented. Investment of time and money is dispersed and unorganized. Consolidation is necessary to give membership organizations access to world-class technology tools that can take them to the next level.
    • Associations currently spend too much money on integrating technology vendors, which siphons resources away from accomplishing their missions. Access to a suite of products that are integrated out-of-the-box will help fix this problem.

Let’s be reminded that YourMembership (which I consider to be the lead company in this trio) acquired Affiniscape several years ago. That deal was a true acquisition and catapulted YourMembership into one of the largest AMS platforms by customers. In that acquisition, Affiniscape customers were forced to migrate, and that process was painful for YourMembership and Affiniscape clients. YourMembership learned some hard lessons, and I expect they won’t be repeated.

The Community Brands deal is not a merger, and I believe JP Guilbault when he says there won’t be forced migrations on his watch. The story of Ministry Brands, and JP Guilbault’s reputation for following through on his promises, inform my perspective on this.

But let’s also remember that the association technology market is incredibly volatile due to the investment money flowing (around $1 billion in the past year). A new investor with different objectives could step in and decide that migrations fit better into its investment objectives.

That’s why theNIRD.org exists. To inform you about M&A and investment activity in the association technology sector.

Stay tuned for an analysis of how the Community Brands deal affects Abila, Aptify, and YourMembership customers — coming soon.

Color commentary on Community Brands during Association Chat today, April 11

On Association Chat today at 2pm EDT, join me, KiKi L’Italien, JP Guilbault, Loretta DeLuca, Reggie Henry, and Layla Masri as we discuss the recent Community Brands consolidation of YourMembership, Abila, and Aptify. RSVP now.

What to do right now if you’re an Abila or Aptify client

The dust is settling after last week’s announcement that Abila and Aptify had been acquired by Community Brands, a new umbrella company that will also comprise YourMembership. A deal of this magnitude had been rumored back in March. JP Guilbault, CEO of YourMembership, assumes the role of CEO of Community Brands and will also take over as CEO of Abila and Aptify.

I’ll post an analysis of the deal in the coming days.

Many IT Directors and CTOs are wondering what to expect and what to do now. Based on my experience with other acquisitions, here are the steps that any Abila or Aptify client should take immediately (YourMembership clients are less likely to experience any disruption due to the consolidation):

  1. Pull out your contract and note the cancellation terms. Put appointments in your calendar to remind yourself of your next opportunity to cancel your contract. Based on my experience with YourMembership, I think Abila and Aptify customers will be pleased with the kind of service you receive from Community Brands. But if you’re not happy with the way things are going, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to cancel and be stuck in an unpleasant contract for yet another year or two. Also memorize or make a note of your Service Level Agreement, especially as the SLA relates to customer service and response time.
  2. Make plans to attend your AMS’s upcoming user conference. Abila’s conference is this week in Nashville. YourMembership’s is later this month in Orlando. Aptify’s is October 15-18 in Las Vegas. If you can’t make your own user conference, you may want to consider attending one of the other Community Brands conferences. These conferences will give you the opportunity to hear directly from JP Guilbault and other Community Brands personnel about plans for the products. JP is also a very approachable person, and in my experience is happy to talk one on one with any customer.
  3. Start networking with other personnel at your AMS and at the other Community Brands companies. There will be restructurings, reassignments, resignations, and reductions in force as a result of this consolidation. Keep your lines of communication with your AMS open by having multiple points of contact. You’ll be happier if one or more of your contacts happen to leave the company.
  4. Do not hesitate to complain loudly and to the most senior personnel if your SLAs are not being met. Community Brands has promised a smooth transition. Your staff and members should not be inconvenienced by this business transaction.

In full disclosure, I’m a former Avectra employee (before the acquisition by Abila), and YourMembership is a former client.

YourMembership-led Community Brands acquires Abila and Aptify

This is a developing story and will be updated.

UPDATE APRIL 7 12:03pm

The following press release was sent out by the YourMembership staff:

We are thrilled to announce important news to the association industry. Every so often, there’s an opportunity to bring together organizations where the combination of the products, people and customers can yield opportunity and results on a scale unimaginable. Such an opportunity has arrived.

Today, Abila and Aptify have joined forces with YourMembership to form a powerful and unified family of technology-leading brands to better serve associations, nonprofits and government entities, as well as the communities they serve. Together, we will operate under the name of Community Brands, building a connected eco-system of software and services. We are creating one of the world’s largest technology and services groups dedicated to helping member- and donor-centric organizations.

For more information, please read the entire press release below. Please contact Michael Piotrowski in regard to any questions or to set up an interview with JP Guilbault, President of Community Brands.

Contact:
Michael Piotrowski
mpiotrowski@yourmembership.com
727.497.5975 (office)
727.492.5988 (mobile)
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
Community Brands Is Born from the Combination of Three Association and Nonprofit Tech Leaders
Abila and Aptify join forces with YourMembership to create a powerfully connected family of brands to deliver more value and innovation to associations, nonprofits and government entities.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—April 7, 2017—YourMembership (YM) today announced Abila and Aptify are joining forces with YourMembership to create a powerful and unified family of brands and a connected eco-system of software and services to better serve associations, nonprofits and government entities. These three market-leading technology companies are combining to form Community Brands, becoming one of the world’s largest technology and services groups offering a suite of solutions designed for cause-oriented organizations. JP Guilbault, president and CEO of YourMembership, has been named president of Community Brands, and will also lead Abila and Aptify as part of Community Brands.

“Building on the success of these industry-leading brands, we will accelerate development and innovation of our solutions,” Guilbault said. “We anticipate great advancements as our combined talent and use of best practices will strengthen each brands ability to focus on the specialized needs of their target customers, while bringing new offerings to market faster to solve a vast array of unmet needs.”

Community Brands is committed to delivering the most intuitive, easy-to-use technology solutions at the best value for the markets served. This family of brands is a strong step forward in assembling a group of technology innovators to support those organizations whose mission it is to advance important causes around the world.

“With the knowledge that technology and business models are evolving, organizations need applications that are flexible and seamlessly connect to create even more value in attracting and retaining members, donors and organizational talent,” Guilbault added.

“These companies represent the world’s strongest combination of nonprofit management solutions, bringing together a unique set of capabilities to meet this market’s needs. The creation of Community Brands is an important step to drive continued innovation and growth within the association and nonprofit sectors,” commented Deven Parekh, managing director of Insight Venture Partners, a leading global private equity firm focused on the software industry and the primary investor in Community Brands.

About Community Brands
Community Brands is the market-leader of technology and revenue solutions for more than 13,000 associations and nonprofit organizations. Its connected eco-system of software and services are transforming the value organizations recognize from their technology investments. For more information, visit CommunityBrands.com.

About YourMembership
YourMembership, established in 1998, empowers associations and constituent-based organizations worldwide to deliver more value to their users through association management and learning technology, as well as innovative non-dues revenue programs, including certification and online education, career centers and programmatic advertising. YourMembership’s cloud-based association management and learning platform enables associations to effectively brand their organization, engage their audience, and streamline their administrative processes. YourMembership provides the most comprehensive suite of technology and revenue solutions to more than 5,000 customers in 32 countries. For more information, visit YourMembership. To learn more now, call +1 727.827.0046. To get the latest industry updates, read The YM Blog. Get social with YM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Abila
Abila is the leading provider of software and services to associations and nonprofit organizations to help them improve decision making, execute with greater precision, increase engagement, and generate more revenue. With Abila solutions, association and nonprofit professionals can use data and personal insight to improve financial and strategic decision making, enhance member and donor engagement and value, operate more efficiently and effectively, and increase revenue to better activate their mission. Abila combines decades of industry insight with technology know how to serve nearly 8,000 clients across North America. For more information, please visit www.Abila.com. To subscribe to the Abila blog, visit Forward Together at http://go.yourmembership.com/e/134231/2017-04-07/2bdyzl/84575877.

About Aptify
Founded in 1993, Aptify pairs flexible membership management software with a complete suite of strategic and professional services, making it the go-to technology partner for member-based organizations. Aptify’s products and services are centered around providing expert solutions to enterprise-level, member-based organizations, giving them what they need—in whatever format they need it—to help them make better decisions. With offices in Tysons Corner, Va.; Chicago, Il.; New Orleans, La.; Sydney, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; and Pune, India, Aptify supports the missions of organizations worldwide. Aptify is a proud member of the Association Success family of companies.

About Insight Venture Partners
Insight Venture Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth software and internet-enabled companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $13 billion and invested in more than 250 companies worldwide. Our mission is to find, fund and work successfully with visionary executives providing them with practical, hands-on growth expertise to foster long-term success. For more information on Insight and all of its investments, visit http://go.yourmembership.com/e/134231/2017-04-07/2bdyzq/84575877 or follow us on Twitter: @Insightpartners

UPDATE APRIL 6 9:59pm EDT:

The following message was sent to Abila clients from YourMembership CEO JP Guilbault today:

I’d like to share some exciting news. Abila is joining forces with YourMembership and Aptify to form Community Brands to help cause-oriented organizations achieve success faster, grow stronger, and reach your potential.

The first question you likely have is: “What does this mean for me and my organization?” I want to assure you we will protect your investment in your current product. Your day-to-day interaction with us will not change. Over time, you will see technology, service, and support improvements; and, through it all, our focus will be on providing you the best experience possible. Our primary goal is to make advancements and access to next-generation technology platforms less resource consuming, while increasing the speed by which you gain recognized and measurable value.

In the long run, we see this as a huge benefit to our customers and to the markets we serve. Our plan is to deliver the best solutions and build integration paths between solutions that make it easier for organizations to fulfill their missions and achieve their goals. Our family of brands will focus on meeting the unmet needs of associations, nonprofits, government entities, and other member-centric organizations by providing seamless interoperability and technological choice.

We believe organizations need platforms, technology, and standards that grow with them. We want to remove data silos and the costs associated with difficult integrations and customizations, while maintaining the ability to upgrade systems. We want to provide the flexibility to adjust to business models, as well as member and/or donor needs and expectations, which are evolving at breakneck speed. We believe together we can achieve these objectives faster. Our focus on member- and donor-centric organizations, as well as governmental entities, remains unchanged.

I will be attending the Abila user conference in Nashville next week. I look forward to meeting many of you there, where I can share more information and answer your questions. For those not attending the conference, we will be conducting listening tours to seek input from our customers and partners as we advance technology to better serve your organization.

I know this is a great deal of change, particularly in light of the recent announcement of Craig Charlton as the new CEO. Rest assured, your success remains our priority, which will not change. Craig will support us greatly through this transition.

We value you as a customer and thank you for your ongoing support. As president of Community Brands and CEO of all the companies within it, my line is always open. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

UPDATE APRIL 6 9:15pm EDT: We’re hearing from multiple sources that a new company called Community Brands is the umbrella company that has taken over management for YourMembership, Abila, and Aptify.

RUMOR: Major technology consolidation likely in 2017

Earlier this month we posted a rumor that one of the largest private equity backed AMS companies was about to be recapitalized. Since that rumor was posted, we’ve heard from multiple sources that the recapitalization is more likely to be an outright acquisition.

But there’s more…

Several of our sources believe that a series of investments, mergers, and acquisitions are currently in various stages of negotiation that would ultimately result in an unprecedented consolidation of association technology firms under a single umbrella company.

One of our sources says a few of these deals have already been struck, but the announcements are being delayed in order to coordinate a single announcement covering all of the acquisitions and investments.