If you want to create and run a “unicorn” startup (which will be valued over $1B+) then you can gather your friends, borrow some money and create a brand new startup in your garage. But if you have no time but have some free money then you can actually try to buy and grow one.
Though the idea of buying a startup is a bit controversial, still there are a few success stories on the Internet about buying a project and successfully growing a project:
Rob Walling’s experience with buying and growing HitTail online service
Nathan Latka’s story about buying and monetizing the SndLatr Chrome plugin.
For big and rich guys there are also so-called “search funds“. They are similar to venture funds but instead of investing in startups, these funds are focused on finding and buying companies for the purpose of growing and expanding them under new management.
Sounds exciting, isn’t it? However, if you go to an online marketplace or a website where apps, websites, startups are listed for sale then you will surely see something like this: “This is a great app and you just need to put some advertising, run some marketing and it will be printing money! I’m just tired and want to switch to a new project”. While this can happen but you must be prepared for understanding the technical parts of projects you are buying. What is more important, you need to understand the real reason why the owner is selling this project.
There are some established and relatively new online marketplaces where you can find and buy a project:
BizBuySell – a large online marketplace with both online and offline businesses for sale. Prices start at $1K but in most cases, you see prices from $10k and higher. You can also hire a broker to help you.
Flippa – this popular marketplace started from selling domains, mobile apps, and websites but later expanded to selling marketplaces and Amazon FBA shops. They claim to be the #1 platform to buy and sell online businesses. Note that there are a lot of resellers that are buying projects and then reselling them.
FE International – focused on selling e-commerce websites and SaaS services. Prices range from $60K to $20M per listing. This online brokerage service also provides due diligence and other services.
Shopify Exchange – official marketplace by Shopify for buying and selling e-commerce stores and businesses. Prices range from $1,500 to a few million.
Empire Flippers – a smaller marketplace with 100-200 listings available with prices ranging from $14K to $3.5M+. Businesses are sorted by their monetization type. In addition to traditional listings with websites and SaaS apps, you can also find listings for Amazon Kindle Digital Publisher (Amazon KDP).
TransferSlot – this small marketplace sells websites and apps ranging from $1k to $60K. You can contact the owner of the listing and subscribe to the updates via email.
Borderline – simple Craiglist-like marketplace with apps for sale. Prices range from $100 to few thousand and you can directly email the owner of the listing.
IndieMaker – a pretty new marketplace that offers websites, apps, and social media accounts. Prices range from $500 to $10k.
Side Projectors – the marketplace that offers side projects (aka startups), websites, social media accounts, and even desktop apps for sale. Prices range from $100 to $10K.
TrustIu – an online marketplace offering YouTube channels. Prices start at 700 EURO.
FameSwap – an online marketplace offering thousands of Youtube channels, Instagram accounts, and TikTok accounts. Prices start from $500.
Accs Market – online marketplace selling Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts, and Telegram channels. Prices range from $50 to $30k.
Code Canyon – online marketplace selling video, audio, and recently also templates for source code for mobile apps. Prices start at $35 but these apps are very simple and may serve as the base or as an example only for your new project.
MicroAcquire – a marketplace (mostly for SaaS projects) where you can buy and sell your online application or a startup. Buyers can get information like MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), the number of visitors, and other important information. Buyers are paying a subscription so it means there are serious buyers only.
Microns a list of micro-startups for sale (some are sold at $100-$500)
Quiet Light – Marketplace focused on selling Amazon marketplace businesses
Latonas M&A broker selling content sites and Amazon businesses mostly
Where startups are looking for feedback.
In addition to marketplaces, there are few online forums where startup founders and entrepreneurs are showing their startups for the purpose of getting feedback about their new ventures. These projects are also looking for new users and, sometimes, for a potential buyer. Here are a few of such websites that you may want to check:
Reddit Side Projects – the Reddit community where entrepreneurs are showcasing their side projects and startups.
Show HN – the online community where software developers and tech entrepreneurs are sharing their new startups, apps, and websites.
BetaPage – a website where startups are posting their information and searching for feedback for their “beta” version.
Product Hunt – the place where startups are pitching their projects. There are dozens and hundreds of submissions every day and you may want to explore old postings.
updated on November 18, 2022
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