In the early stages of a company acquisition, it can be a little awkward to talk to your competition. You’re both trying to serve the same space, for instance, but maybe one is further along.
That was the experience of Ted Mann, the cofounder of Haddonfield, New Jersey-based CollX. The visual search function app scrapes pricing data from multiple websites to help a user understand the rarity and price of a sports card.
He had been speaking with Fred Barnes, a Denver-based sports card dealer and software founder, who reached out to him late last year. Barnes has owned a card store for a decade, and recently created a software, Card Dealer Pro, to rapidly inventory, annotate and price cards, and list them for sale across multiple channels like eBay and Shopify.
The software, which can be used for Mac, Windows or a web app, also integrates with high-speed scanners from Fujitsu and Epson to make it possible for dealers to digitize thousands of cards in minutes. It reports 95% match accuracy from the visual search when using the named scanners. While Collx serves the collectors side of the space, Card Dealer Pro was a solution for the dealer side.
“We realized that while licensing software to card stores is good, what makes it great could be bringing stores’ and dealers’ listings into the CollX marketplace,” Mann told Technical.ly. “It would inventory cards but also collect commission on sales.”
So the pair began modeling out what the future of CollX could look like in partnership with Card Dealer Pro. CollX — with its founder who’s no stranger to combining companies — made the acquisition of the Denver company and announced it this week; financial details were not disclosed. CollX will eventually integrate the Card Dealer Pro software into its app and marketplace, the latter of which is set to launch next month.
“At best, a store may track their cards with a spreadsheet or ledger, but you’re so limited in how many cards you can manage and sell that way,” Barnes said. “With our software, dealers are scanning tens of thousands at a time, and listing over 100,000 cards on average.”
Since its launch, CollX has picked up 150,000 users, and more than 100 dealers have been using Card Dealer Pro to manage their online sales, according to the company leaders. The acquisition will allow those users to sell directly through CollX’s marketplace.
Barnes will become CollX’s president and cofounder, and joins a 10-person team of mostly engineers, Mann said. Barnes was Card Dealer Pro’s only employee, and will remain in the Denver area.
The companies will showcase at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City at the end of July, where Mann said he’s excited to share their story and host a launch party to note the deal.
“We can’t wait to show everyone in the hobby how we’re using technology to help collectors and dealers do what they love better,” he said.
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