Fastlane Communications LLC acquired iPlusSocial, a company that Gaspare Marturano created to help marine businesses build their social media platforms, as Fastlane looks to expand into the virtual marine marketplace.
The acquisition is less about assets and more about Marturano’s expertise, Fastlane founder and CEO Christopher Faust told Soundings Trade Only.
“It’s what he brings to the table and it’s his connections in the boating and yachting world that we were looking to particularly leverage,” Faust told Trade Only.
Faust began developing virtual platforms and trade shows in marketplaces about two years ago with a venture called Marketplace Makers. The company has become such a presence as a virtual marketplace maker for industries that he speculates that arm of the business will break off from Fastlane, Faust said.
“The platform is able to develop virtual platforms and trade shows in different marketplaces,” Faust said. “In two years’ time we’ve become one of the leading virtual marketplace makers in the industry.”
“I’ve actually pulled back the reins a little bit on going out and selling marketplaces because we have marketplaces coming to us as we’re starting to generate inbound interest,” Faust said. “I’m conservative in how we grow. I want to make sure we get behind something that’s going to be successful.”
The endeavor has been so popular that the marine marketplace, called Boating Galaxy, had been put on the back burner, Faust said.
But now, with the addition of Marturano, Faust hopes to launch the marine industry’s next-generation virtual boat show — the industry that prompted Faust to expand his business in this way.
“I have a real passion for boating and anything related to water or water sports. It’s just something I personally enjoy and I wanted to get into, so when we formed this part of the company we wanted to have a ‘sandbox marketplace’ so we could hone our skills in the virtual marketplace,” Faust said.
Read more about Fastlane in the November issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— Reagan Haynes