Just one month after publicly announcing its acquisition of Restrict Content Pro (RCP), iThemes purchased WPComplete for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is for the product, website, and customers only.
Paul Jarvis and Zack Gilbert created the WPComplete plugin in 2016. However, it has outgrown what the duo could maintain and support alone. After the transition period in which the new owners take over, the two will step away from the project.
In essence, WPComplete is a “course completion” plugin. Site owners can create online courses while allowing students/users to mark their work as completed. It also gives students a way to track their progress through courses, which can often boost the potential for them to finish.
“Paul and Jack believe a key to their success has been their ability to keep their team small and manageable,” wrote Matt Danner, the COO at iThemes, in the announcement. “The growth of WPComplete has presented a number of challenges for a team of two people, so the decision was made to start looking towards alternative ownership solutions that could continue to grow WPComplete and provide it with a stable team. iThemes is a perfect fit.”
iThemes customers who have a Plugin Suite or Toolkit membership will get automatic access to the pro version of the WPComplete plugin. For current WPComplete users, Danner said everything should be “business as usual.” However, iThemes has assigned a few of its team members to work on the product and site, so customers should see some new faces.
RCP and WPComplete are obviously complementary products. RCP is a membership plugin that allows site owners to restrict content based on that membership. WPComplete allows site members to mark lessons or coursework as completed. “We’ll be rolling out a new bundle later this month that combines both RCP and WPComplete for course and membership creators to take advantage of these two plugins,” said AJ Morris, the Product Innovation and Marketing Manager at iThemes.
WPComplete is still a young product. The free version of the plugin currently has 2,000+ active installs and a solid 4.7 rating on WordPress.org. If marketed as an extension of the RCP plugin, it automatically puts it in front of the eyes of 1,000s of more potential customers. It should be much easier to grow the plugin as part of a membership bundle.
iThemes is making some bold moves in the membership space. It will be interesting to see if the company makes any other acquisitions that could strengthen its product line and help it become more dominant. There is still a ton of room for growth in the membership segment of the market. There is also the potential for integrations with other major plugins.
“Adding WPComplete to the iThemes product lineup also allows us to move more quickly on some plans we have for Restrict Content Pro,” said Danner in the initial announcement. He also vaguely mentioned a couple of ideas the team had in the works but did not go into detail.
With a little prodding, Morris provided some insight into what they are planning for the immediate future. The biggest first step is tackling integration with the block editor. Currently, WPComplete uses shortcodes. The team’s next step is likely to begin with creating block equivalents for those shortcodes.
“After that, we’ve touched on a few deeper integrations with Restrict Content Pro, like the possibility to restrict courses to memberships,” said Morris.
The iThemes team does not plan to stop with WPComplete as part of its product lineup. One of the goals is to use the plugin for the iThemes website itself.
“We always try to eat our own dogfood when we can,” said Morris. “You’ll see that with RCP and WPComplete early next year as we look to integrate them into our iThemes Training membership.”