How do you compete in a crowded space when your competitors have more resources than you?

For Thomas Gareis, who grew a suite of SEO tools called Seobility to 5,000 paid users and millions in revenue, the answer was an acquisition that would add more support to his small team of 15.

In September 2022, when a buyer approached him about selling, Gareis recognized it as an opportunity to strengthen his company’s future after running the business solo for over a decade. He sold his German-based SEO company to, a SaaS acquisition company, in a mid-7 figure deal.

“After several years of bootstrapping this startup, I am very happy that we have found a new home for Seobility, where growth and further development can happen on a new and even more professional level,” Gareis said in a press release announcing the acquisition.

Handing over the reins of his company has given him time to focus on some personal matters. He has been able to spend more time with family and restore his health after 11 years of bootstrapped startup life.

How Gareis scaled Seobility

Gareis started his company in 2011. At first, he was using search engine optimization to create online business directories. That work inspired him to build a suite of SEO software.

Gareis’ company debuted a free tool called SEO Check in 2013 before officially launching the Seobility brand in 2014, according to the company’s website. Seobility started with 1,000 users in its first year, and Gareis added more tools and offerings, like rank tracking and backlink analysis, as time progressed. By 2017, Seobility was known as an all-in-one SEO tool with 30,000 users.

Two years later, the company reached a milestone: more than 100,000 Seobility users. By the time Gareis sold the company, it had amassed 400,000 users, including 5,000 paid customers. Annual revenue was between $2.5 and $5 million.

The company’s financial growth came from selling access to the software via subscriptions, which Gareis said he preferred over a business model based on ad revenue.

“Having customers who love your product is so much more satisfying than making money with ads,” he said.

Why Seobility was acquired by SaaS.Group

While Gareis wasn’t actively seeking to sell when approached him about acquiring his company, he said “it was the right time in terms of business growth.”

Seobility had a relatively small team, which made it challenging to compete in the SEO tools market.

“It was one reason for the exit,” he said. “Not having enough talent to compete with other software like Semrush, Ahrefs or even Surfer SEO.”

Seobility had a team of 15 employees, plus some additional contractors, at the time of the sale. (In comparison, as of early 2024, competitors Ahref and Surfer SEO had teams of about 100 each and Semrush had around 1,000 employees, according to their respective websites.) had already acquired two companies in the SEO industry — Prerender and — and Gareis said in a press release that the company had the resources to accelerate growth. He told us he worked with FE International, an M&A advisory firm, to get a valuation of his company prior to the sale.

Gareis’ advice to other entrepreneurs looking to sell their businesses is to organize all the company’s paperwork ahead of time so you don’t get stuck in due diligence.

“Get your numbers prepared, and think about what you can do to improve them, before looking [for] a buyer,” he said.