DigitalTown, Inc. and Congo, Ltd., have entered into an agreement for DigitalTown to acquire technology, expertise, and other assets of Congo. Congo’s flagship product is JustLegal.com, an online service for legal service provider discovery.
“The combined capability powers a global platform for connecting people with service providers online, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors, through geo-targeted web and mobile portals for transacting in real-time.” (A PDF about JustLegal.com can be downloaded here.)
“DigitalTown is transforming how the citizens of the world discover and consume local goods and services. From restaurants in Miami to hotels in London, DigitalTown’s platform connects buyers and sellers seamlessly online via web and mobile devices. The Congo acquisition expands DigitalTown’s footprint in the legal industry, making it easy for citizens to find the right attorney, schedule a free initial consultation, and choose to connect in person or online through secure video chat. The same technology is designed to work across other service categories where one to one live consults are desirable, including the ability to do on-demand video consults and the ability to pay by the minute through the DigitalTown SmartWallet or other payment methods.”
Rob Monster, CEO of DigitalTown, explained the logic of the deal: “The Congo team has built a robust platform for managing online services procurement. Service platforms like Angie’s List, Houzz, Porch, ServiceMaster and Thumbtack attempt to lump all service provider discovery in one bucket. Niche platforms like Avvo and ZocDoc cater to specific niches. DigitalTown is using the new web extensions such as .LAW, .SHOP,.CITY and more to put the consumer at the center of the experience in a way that is intuitive, personalized, real-time and secure through an integrated network of digital portals that cater to specific geo-targeted verticals and which can be operated in cooperation with local partners.”
Concurrent with the acquisition, DigitalTown, a provider of smart city portal solutions, announced the hiring of Congo’s CTO, Frank R. Robles. Mr. Robles, a technology executive joins as President of the newly-established Service Provider Business Division and VP of Global Operations for DigitalTown.
The hiring of Mr. Robles and the acquisition of certain assets from Congo Ltd. will be leveraged to help accelerate DigitalTown’s online service provider business. Initially with the legal vertical leveraging DigitalTown’s 1,668 City.LAW domain names and then moving on to other verticals such as accounting, medical and other professional services as well as other service categories where live consults are standard practice.
Most of the 1,668 City.Law domain such as newyork.law, losangeles.law and boston.law were bought in May 2017 while a few others were acquired in September 2017. Most of the city.law domains were reserved domains. DigitalTown’s goal is to either (1) sell the city.law platform to the local Bar Associations where they exist, and/or (2) operate and then sell the entire network. The outreach to local law firms has started, e.g. see Austin.Law. DigitalTown exhibited and sponsored at the National Association of Bar Executives Conference in New York back in August, in cooperation with JustLegal.
DigitalTown worked out a special deal with MMX, the .law registry, but still many of these domains have premium renewals. DigitalTown will be working with MMX actively promoting .law domain names. DigitalTown is working closely with Lou Andreozzi and Carl Jaeckel who manage that registry.
DigitalTown also owns more than 30,000 .CITY domains. .City is a Donuts domain name extension.
“I am excited to join the DigitalTown team and to build upon the work we have done to date, using technology to reinvent how consumers procure services in the Digital Age,” said Frank R. Robles. “Given the great foundation DigitalTown has created, the opportunity looks enormous.”
“With their robust platform and global domain network, DigitalTown is leading the proliferation of smart cities around the world,” said Congo’s Founder and CEO, Willy Ogorzaly. “Our team believes strongly in the DigitalTown vision, and we see this opportunity as furthering the mission of increasing direct access to reputable service providers.”
The asset purchase transaction is expected to close on or before December 5, 2017 with integration of operations already in progress.
Also, in related news, Braden Pollock has just joined DigitalTown as an investor and advisor. He was already a shareholder and Director of Epik, an ICANN accredited registrar.