In 2007, Gardner created the Revolution theme which took the WordPress world by storm. According to some people, it ignited the WordPress Premium theme market.
Early in 2010, StudioPress released the Genesis Framework. This framework would go on to power thousands of themes and be the cornerstone of StudioPress’ theme business. In 2010, StudioPress was merged into Copyblogger Media LLC, which eventually went on to create the Rainmaker platform.
Fast forward to 2018 and StudioPress has been acquired by WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting company founded in 2010 that earlier this year, received $250M in venture capital funding from Silver Lake.
According to Jason Cohen, founder of WP Engine, this is the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
“In all, our contributions to the WordPress community in time, money, writing, coding and thought leadership totaled more than $1.7 million in 2017 and we’re already doing even more this year,” he said.
“As WP Engine continues to grow and scale, the way we give back to the WordPress community must grow and scale also, which was one of the deciding factors behind our acquisition of StudioPress—our largest acquisition in WP Engine’s history.”
The company plans to heavily invest in the Genesis Framework community and ecosystem by hiring people to work on different aspects of the framework. Support will receive a boost as well as the ecosystem surrounding StudioPress’ products.
With Gutenberg on the horizon, Cohen says the Genesis Framework will be a shining example of what’s possible with WordPress’ new editor.
“There’s been plenty of concern about how Gutenberg will affect existing plugins and themes, so Genesis can serve as an example for how Gutenberg can work brilliantly,” Cohen said.
“This directly advances the goals of WordPress Core. This precedent doesn’t stop with Gutenberg, either. Gutenberg is the transformation of today—there will be more tomorrow. While the topic of the day will change, the idea of supporting Core through themes and theme frameworks that support those efforts is an asset for the wider WordPress community.”
Gardner will stay on board and be part of StudioPress’ leadership team at WP Engine with an emphasis on product development and community. Nathan Rice along with the support team will transition to WP Engine with Rice continuing to serve as the lead developer of Genesis.
Gardner admits that the acquisition is bittersweet, but that it’s a founding moment in the company’s history.
“As my new colleague, Jason Cohen, the founder of WP Engine often says, ‘There are many founding moments in the history of a company.’ This is one of those moments and I know it’s time for StudioPress to take the next step—and WP Engine is the right partner to take it with.”
StudioPress customers can expect better support, more themes to choose from, and little to no disruption of service.