SLO-based SMS Masterminds to be acquired by Iowa company

kleslie@thetribunenews.comOctober 16, 2013 

Alex Minicucci is the founder of SMS Masterminds, a loyalty marketing business that provides contact through text messaging, email and social networking.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

SpendSmart Payments Company, a Des Moines-based prepaid payments provider, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SMS Masterminds, a San Luis Obispo technology firm that specializes in mobile marketing for small businesses.

Terms of the deal, expected to close within 30 days, were not disclosed. The companies announced the acquisition Wednesday, after a month of rumors regarding a possible deal.

SMS Masterminds specializes in mobile marketing for small and medium businesses, mainly through loyalty programs. It was ranked 731 on Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies this year — the highest of seven local firms to make the list.

The company’s chief executive officer, Alex Minicucci, 34, was named this year as one of The Tribune’s Top 20 Under 40, which recognizes local young professionals who excel in both their professions and community service.

Minicucci told The Tribune on Wednesday he is “cautiously excited” about the deal, because by joining forces with SpendSmart, SMS Masterminds will be able to offer its customers a greater range of resources, as well as grow more quickly.

“It won’t change the nature of our relationship with customers,” Minicucci said. “It’s going to bring more to the table.”

The firm, which Minicucci began in 2009 in a one-room office in downtown San Luis Obispo, will continue to operate from San Luis Obispo — one of Minicucci’s main requirements in making the deal.

“Most people worry that (with an acquisition) the company will move away,” Minicucci said. “SpendSmart has actually encouraged us to grow in San Luis Obispo and acquire other businesses and bring them into the fold.”

SMS Masterminds employs 12 people and reported annual revenue of $2.5 million last year. SpendSmart, a pink sheet stock whose shares are typically thinly traded over-the-counter, employs 16 and had about $1 million in annual revenue in 2012.

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