Atlassian Acquires Trello – What A Founder Thinks When They See Their Biggest Competitor Acquired By A Tech Giant

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Overnight Aussie Tech Giant, Atlassian, announced that they were acquiring Trello.

A global competitor to what we are building at Task Pigeon.

Shortly after a few emails and messages hit my inbox.

People wanted to know my thoughts.

Did I care?

Was I worried?

Would Task Pigeon still launch? (yes of course it will)

To save the hassle of repeating myself. And because I’m committed to running a transparent startup I thought I would share my thoughts in a post.

Initial Thoughts

Atlassian Acquires Trello - Trello CEO

To be honest I didn’t know what to think originally.

On one hand, I thought, it changes nothing.

I’m a pre-revenue startup.

And Trello is a successful brand/company. If I don’t launch. If I don’t get traction it doesn’t matter if Trello is Trello. Or a company owned by Atlassian. Or Google. Or Facebook.

Yet, on the other hand, Atlassian has more resources to throw at Trello.

The product will become better.

And (perhaps) they will do a better job at marketing it. Promoting it. And selling it.

Competition most likely will become tougher.

What I Thought Next

But after a while, I realised all of that doesn’t matter.

Trello is and will continue to be a competitor to Task Pigeon (in fact there are a number of reasons why you might want to switch from Trello). Whether they are owned by Atlassian or not.

I knowingly chose to enter a competitive space because I believe there is a gap in the market.

A gap I experienced.

And then had other people confirm existed during my pre-launch validation campaign.

I mean hell, my next biggest competitor (Asana) is owned by a co-founder of Facebook.

I always knew I was going up against companies with;

  • More resources
  • And more money

But that alone doesn’t necessarily make their product the best solution for everyone. And I know first-hand what it’s like to work for a company that generates hundreds of millions (or billions) in revenue.

They move slower.

And that’s the opportunity.

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The Acquisition Is a Positive

After a few hours to digest, I actually view the acquisition of Trello as positive.

No this isn’t me trying to convince myself.

Or putting my head in the sand.

Atlassian Acquires Trello - Trello Revenue

Source: Forbes

The last reported revenue figure from Trello was $10 USD in annual recurring revenue back in May 2016.

They were acquired for $425 million.

With most of it in cash.

That’s a huge multiple. Even if they had doubled their revenue in that time.

If this increases investor interest in the space then everyone wins.

Consolidation Also Provides An Opportunity

Atlassian has committed to keeping Trello as a separate brand.

I think that’s a great move (for Trello/Atlassian).

And Atlassian also has a great track record when it comes to acquiring companies. They have made 18 in total now. And don’t stuff it up like lots of other tech companies do.

But any consolidation reduces options in the market.

Some customers won’t like where Atlassian take the product.

And that again creates opportunity for companies like Task Pigeon (and my other competitors in the space).

What’s Going To Move The Needle

Atlassian Lists on NASDAQ

Finally, Atlassian generates $457 million USD in revenue annually.

A $10 per month user is not going to move the needle for them.

I can’t speak for Atlassian, but I imagine their focus will be on enterprise sales.

Companies that they can sign up to 100, 500, 1,000+ seats at time.

When you become that large. And list on the stock exchange. The pressure is on to continue to grow.

And an extra million or two in revenue is never going to be enough for investors and analysts.

If I am right.

If Atlassian focuses more on enterprise sales of Trello, that again presents an opportunity.

An opportunity to provide an amazing service to the teams of 2 to 20 that are the bread and butter for Task Pigeon.

Final Thoughts

The final comment I want to make on this is…

It’s great to see an Aussie born company making these kinds of acquisitions.

Atlassian really is the beacon of light within the tech ecosystem down under. They show the world what Australia is capable of and I wish them all the success.

(I just plan to carve out a piece of the pie for Task Pigeon 🙂 )

Try Task Pigeon Today!

It's the straightforward task management tool for teams who want to get things done!


About Author

Paul Towers - Founder @ Task Pigeon

Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon. Join me on my journey to build an open & transparent startup from day one. Paul is also the founder of Startup Soda, a newsletter curating the best content from the Australian startup ecosystem.

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