Scorpion Acquires Driven Local, Building Out Its Franchise Business

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Internet marketing company Scorpion has announced this morning that it acquired digital marketer Driven Local. Together, the companies will offer technology, services, localized video ads, and campaigns for local and multi-local businesses across markets such as healthcare, legal, franchise, and home services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, Kevin Szypula, CEO and co-founder of Driven Local, will bring his team under Scorpion’s umbrella. He says the two companies had gotten to know each other after repeatedly crossing paths at trade events, industry conferences, and partner meetings. “We’ve been hanging out at the same places for a long time,” Szypula says.

A congenial connection developed and talks of a small partnership developed. Given what he says were synergies that presented themselves, such as the pursuit of the same target clients, it made sense to form a long-term bond.

Scorpion CEO Rustin Kretz says he does not foresee a lot of heavy lifting to combine the companies: “The culture and way Driven Local operates, we fit perfectly together,” he says. Through the acquisition, Scorpion gains more expertise with franchises and Driven Local’s clients will get access to Scorpion’s technology platform, Kretz says. “Everything we’ve developed here is in-house,” he says. “It’s going to benefit the Driven customer.” Along with the acquisition, Scorpion announced plans to move to a new headquarters in Valencia, Calif., where it is currently based.

This was not the first offer to come Driven Local’s way, Szypula says. Others, such as traditional media or old school check printing companies looking to add digital, had looked to combine with Driven Local’s tech. “Looking at the bigger picture, that didn’t make sense for us,” he says.

The acquisition of Driven Local, headquartered in Islandia, N.Y., is expected to provide more efficiency in technology and create an east coast presence for Scorpion, Szypula says. Eventually everything will operate under the Scorpion brand, with Szypula serving as chief advertising officer for the combined company. “It’s what I enjoy doing the most,” Szypula says, noting his past focus on paid search for small and medium-size businesses.

Though Driven Local was growing, he says it made sense at this time to become part of Scorpion. The acquisition will let Szypula channel his energies rather than be tied up by other management tasks, such as hiring or dealing with payroll taxes.

Dynamics of the market also helped prompt the decision to make a deal, as Szypula said it has become more challenging as a smaller firm to remain ahead of the curve: “Trying to decipher what’s real for a small business and what’s not, what’s going to get the results and what’s not — by having more people devoted to that we’re going to figure those things out faster.”

The continued evolution of technology and strategies, Kretz says, has led to better ways to advertise, obtain clients at lower costs on different channels, and reduce the cost of acquisition for those clients. He says adding Driven Local’s team will further those efforts: “That’s going to benefit our customers,” Kretz says.

With the companies joining forces, the next steps will likely include ramping up Scorpion’s franchise market, he says, where Driven Local has been a leader. In the home services market, the company plans to build a better, more effective product to the benefit of costumers, particularly from the franchise world: “I think you’ll see some major changes in that market and us taking over,” Kretz says.

Joao-Pierre Ruth is a Street Fight contributor.