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Bridgeline's Conflicting Strategies

Mar. 09, 2020 2:30 PM ETBridgeline Digital, Inc. (BLIN)2 Comments
Accord Partners profile picture
Accord Partners


  • The stock is down 98% from its mid-2018 levels.
  • The company has failed at selling expensive enterprise apps to big clients.
  • It acquired two products, further complicating its product line and creating two customer tiers.
  • Accord is holding onto its small stake, waiting for the company to decide which way to go.


This tiny company has been trying to sell big-ticket enterprise software to big clients. It has failed. Sales declined steadily from $23.7 million in 2014 to $10 million in 2019. Through Q319, the company was spending $4.0 million in operational expenses quarterly to win approximately $2.7 million in sales. The stock is down 98% from only two years ago. In the spring of 2019 it acquired two more products, which confused the product line even more and required the company to split its resources over three engineering platforms and two client segments. The germ of a resurrection is there, but it's unclear if the company can focus quickly enough to survive.


Bridgeline Digital is an enterprise software company that sells marketing and sales applications for websites, intranets, and online stores. It includes marketing automation, content management, e-commerce, social media management, inter-site search, lead generation, and web analytics. Generically, this is referred to as “martech” (marketing technology). Bridgeline offers it as SaaS (software as a service) and self-hosted applications. The company’s internally-built “Unbound” products – marketing automation, content management, ecommerce, and insights – have been evolving since 2008, and are oriented to large clients doing $200 million to over $2 billion in revenues. In early 2019, the company acquired two new products, adding another content management system (OrchestraCMS) on the Salesforce.com platform and is oriented to large companies, and an in-site search product (Celebros) that runs on a third platform and is oriented to smaller clients. All this from a company with annual revenues of $10 million. See Timeline, Other Documents, People, and Cap Table.

Market and Competition

Martech is a large and still-growing market. Digital Commerce 360 concluded in a study on ecommerce, here, that “consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2018, up 15.0% from $449.88 billion spent the year prior, according

This article was written by

Accord Partners profile picture
Accord Partners runs a microcap fund. We focus on stocks trading on NASDAQ or the NYSE with market caps of under $250 million that – for clear and reparable reasons – have significantly depressed stock prices. If management hasn’t already started repairs, we engage with the company to help it realize shareholder value. We only invest long for appreciation. Our principal, William Urschel, has had a 35-year operating history as an entrepreneur and CEO, starting, running, and selling seven companies in marketing software, online advertising, accounting software, eBook publishing, investing software, manufacturing software, and big data. He has served on the boards of a wide array of companies and non-profit institutions, and he is the author of four books and over 40 magazine articles. He launched Accord Partners in 2019.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I am/we are long BLIN. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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