The Active Network Stops for Overhaul Following a Decade of Acquisitions

About as far back as I can remember, The Active Network usually has made at least one acquisition by this time of year.

But it’s been a silent spring over at Active HQ in San Diego’s Sorrento Valley, where the venture-backed company develops software that customers use to manage recreational sports events, including online registration, payments, and marketing. Combining a business that’s focused on helping people to get out and about (triathalons, campground reservations, tennis tournaments) with strong capabilities in software development (I’m imagining code written by pudgy and translucent-skinned programmers who feed at night on bear claws from the snack machine) makes me wonder sometimes how active The Active Network’s 2,200 employees really are.

But I digress.

Until recently, The Active Network has been pursuing an aggressive growth-through-acquisition strategy that I once compared to kudzu, “the vine that ate the South.” To fund its growth, the company has raised more than $200 million from VC firms and other investors, including ESPN, Canaan Partners, Tao Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, Comdisco Ventures, and Performance Equity Partners. But The Active Network made its last noteworthy acquisition more than a year ago, when it bought the online campground reservation provider Reserve America from IAC, (NASDAQ: IACI).

So what happened? Is there a reason for The Active Network’s inactivity on the M&A front?

As it turns out, there is.

CEO Dave Alberga tells me that while the company has made some very small, undisclosed acquisitions, it began an ambitious program in late 2008 to overhaul and replace … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Baughman

    I know a software engineer at the company. Indeed, he is pounds down the bear claws.

  • The Keck

    I am a software engineer at the company. I too pounds down the bear claws.

  • chukapriest

    I am pounds down the bear claws also. With Diet Coke With Lime!

  • drfeu

    I am pounds down the bear claws with identity theft!

  • chukapriest

    Go home, Doctor Fire, you’re drunk… with power!

  • Arch Fuston

    I am a well respected Software Engineer at Active. And I’ll have you know that I am very fit. We run, cycle, and triathalonize during lunch every day.

  • Homer Simpson

    I too am a Software Engineer at Active. I don’t eat bear claws from the vending machine. I get them from Dunkin.

  • Nick

    My skin is opaque! How dare you sir.

  • Irony

    I’m imagining finance articles written by pudgy and translucent-skinned bloggers who feed at night on bear claws from the snack machine. Kettle meet pot. Prejudice much?

  • chukapriest

    You don’t work for Active, “Nick”! Nice try, but we can see right through you!

  • drfeu

    Hey chuka. Where do you want to go for lunch today?

  • The Keck

    My heavy amounts of bear claw consumption has unfortunately led to some gastrointestinal problems.

  • chukapriest

    The Keck, you need to ease off the heavy stuff. Time to switch over to all-natural organic danishes, sandwiched between pop-tarts. The pop-tarts should be s’mores flavored. Good for the colon.