Themeum, a WordPress theme and plugin company founded in 2013, has acquired the Kirki Customizer Framework plugin from its former developer, David Vongries. In April 2023, Vongries announced he was sunsetting the product and discontinuing development. He put the plugin up for sale for $30K and sold it for just under the asking price.
“I met the Themeum team at WordCamp Europe in 2019 and have fond memories of our encounter,” Vongries said. “They reached out to me immediately after the blog post was published on the Tavern, where I expressed my search for a new home for Kirki.
“Themeum is a major player in the WordPress world and I truly believe they’ll be a fantastic fit for Kirki. They have the resources to take the plugin to the next level and give it the attention it deserves.”
Rayhan Arif, Assistant Vice President of Business Development at Themeum, is expecting the Kirki plugin to come under the profile of Themeum on WordPress org shortly. Themeum is the company behind Tutor LMS, Qubely – Advanced Gutenberg Blocks, and nearly a dozen other smaller plugins.
“Since 2012, we have been deeply involved in creating a similar product on another platform,” Arif said. “Our past experiences have equipped us with the necessary skills and knowledge that we believe will greatly enhance the value of this plugin. With this improvement, developers will find it easier to add customization options to their WordPress themes. In a sense, this feels like a homecoming product for us.”
Vongries reported that support on the plugin was “basically zero,” despite there being more than 600,000 active installs. This makes sense as it is a framework geared towards developers. The majority of the plugin’s users have installed the free version from WordPress.org.
“There are only a hand full of Kirki PRO customers,” Vongries said, although some had grown unhappy with Kirki’s lack of development before the acquisition.
Themeum does not have any block-based theme products at this time, so this Customizer-dependent plugin fits in with the company’s catalog.
“Our initial focus will be on enhancing the plugin, after which we will undoubtedly proceed with integrating it into our themes,” Arif said.
“We are considering making certain adjustments to our pricing or business model, all with the intention of benefiting both existing and future customers. For example, we might substantially decrease the price.”
Existing users may be concerned about the product changing hands, but Arif said it’s unlikely they will experience significant changes.
“The acquisition is unlikely to bring about any negative implications for users,” he said. “The only perceptible change will be that product maintenance will now be handled by a professional team, well-versed in technology and carrying a wealth of experience.”