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Sweet Home Onlina! Our Take on the European Web Hosting Land Grab

Who knew SMEs could be so sexy?

Disclaimer: RollUpEurope cannot be held liable for any assumptions or facts presented in this article. While the article provides specific figures and calculations regarding a real company, readers are advised to independently verify the information provided and make their own judgments. Any decisions made based on the content of this article are done so at the reader's own risk.

RollUpEurope team

If you own a small business, chances are you have used services like GoDaddy, Wordpress or Wix to manage your online presence. 

Did you have a good experience? 

I am a small business owner - and I didn’t. 

I have found these services to be pricey while annoyingly limited on their own. These limitations are of course intentional since they feed armies of add-ons, like iubenda for privacy or leadinfo for lead gen. 

Coincidentally, both iubenda and leadinfo are owned by team.blue - a Belgium based web aggregator of “online presence” products including domains, hosting, site-building, ecommerce and SEO. Team.blue was created in 2019 through the merger of two Benelux based hosting providers, orchestrated by none other than HgCapital. 

In Europe team.blue has been catching up with the market leaders GoDaddy and IONOS, while facing off competition from smaller challengers increasingly backed by private equity. 

The prize is huge: IONOS estimates that Europe has nearly 60 million SMEs. Many of which have skeletal / no online presence. 

Source: public filings, Rollupeurope analysis

Access the full serial acquirer database here (included within the annual subscription). 

Before you applaud the PE crowd for their ingenuity, spare a thought for the operators who have held ringside seats in the aggregation game for 20+ years. People like Jochen Berger, Thomas Vollrath, Johannes Osthues, Thomas Strohe and others. These (mostly German) entrepreneurs have leveraged deep domain expertise and relationships with PE firms to generate outsized returns. Repeatedly. 

Outsized how? 

Oakley’s partial exit from Contabo to KKR delivered a 10x money multiple - after only 3 years!  

The best part is that these entrepreneurs are far from being done. They continue to back new platforms, whether in Germany (World Host Group), Australia (Webcentral) or Lithuania (Hostinger). 

In this article we discuss: 

  • Online presence and web hosting industry fundamentals

  • Key players, their strategies and valuations (public and private)

  • Why private equity is so attracted to the this space

  • Why web hosting rollups > Shopify SaaS rollups

The domain and hosting industry primer

Building an online presence comes with 3 key steps:

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