AppDirect Buys Builtfirst in Marketplace Team-Up

Builtfirst offers no-code solutions for companies to build their own marketplaces.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Builtfirst acquired by AppDirect
Eakrin Rasadonyindee/Shutterstock

Subscription commerce provider AppDirect just bought Builtfirst to help businesses more quickly launch their own marketplaces.

AppDirect said on Thursday that it closed on a deal with fellow San Francisco-based company Builtfirst. Three-year-old Builtfirst gives companies no-code solutions to create marketplaces on which to sell B2B products and services.

It's a similar value proposition to that of AppDirect.

While AppDirect offers a marketplace that end customers and channel partners use to procure B2B software and carrier services, another significant portion of its business is in helping vendors establish their own self-service platforms. Comcast Business is one such company.

Andy Ellerhorst, AppDirect's vice president of corporate development and chief of staff, said the deal helps Builtfirst customers move to commerce.


“[That's] the natural progression for any marketplace. Bringing Builtfirst into the AppDirect team is not only beneficial for its customers, AppDirect will also gain a new line of business that helps our goal of making technology accessible for any sized organization," Ellhorst said.

Builtfirst co-founder Michael Julve said the acquisition forms a "crucial pipeline" for customers in their marketplace journeys.

"Companies often start with basic directories for integrations or special discounts and quickly evolve toward full-scale subscription commerce as experience and expertise grow," Julve said.

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Builtfirst lists venture capital firms Stage 2 Capital and Fuse VC among its seed investors. The deal isn't expected to immediately impact Builtfirst's brand, the companies said.


Builtfirst since its founding in 2021 has come to boast companies such as HubSpot, Airtable and Slack among its customers.

The company's leaders have said that they started the company after watchign the rise of marketplaces as a form of technology distribution. That matches a Gartner statistic cited by AppDirect, predicting that 80% of B2B sales interactions will happen in digital channels by 2025.


Co-founders Aaron Bailey and Michael Julve were working in strategic partnerships at a company called 500 Startups, where they observed the trend taking place.

Builtfirst reportedly has a sweet spot for helping midsize companies establish marketplaces. Bailey said AppDirect brings deep enterprise experience to the table.

“Builtfirst was created based on a vision where every business can succeed together. We have extensive experience in helping midsize organizations accomplish their marketplace goals," said Bailey, who is the CEO of Builtfirst. “By joining the AppDirect team, Builtfirst will become part of an organization that’s founded on the same mission: to make technology universally accessible."

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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