Truro software developer Delicious Brains has sold a raft of its intellectual property to Austin, Texas-based WP Engine.

The deal includes five WordPress plugins — pieces of software that enhance website design tool WordPress — that collectively boast about a combined 4 million users. Among the products changing hands is Delicious Brains’ popular Advanced Custom Fields tool, which allows users to create more technically complex sites than would otherwise be possible.

The company, led by CEO Bard Tousenard, is an anomaly in the startup world — a business that pioneered the remote workforce model years before COVID-19 forced the issue, and which has never taken outside investment. WP Engine, meanwhile, has about 1,100 employees and sells its own range of WordPress plugins, as well as selling webhosting services.

“These plugins represent our latest investment in essential WordPress builder tools to enable (users) development efficiency and ease,” said WP Engine in a statement.

“As with our previous acquisitions, we are resolute in our commitment to the continued advancement of these solutions on behalf of developers everywhere.”

Delicious Brains launched its first plugin in May 2013. That product, WP Migrate DB Pro, was a tool to help web developers transfer data from a site developed on WordPress to another WordPress website. Usually, this is a cumbersome process, but WP Migrate DB Pro simplified it down to a single mouse click.

WP Migrate DB Pro was an immediate success, receiving 312 orders worth $17,000 in its first three weeks. It is also among the five being bought by WP Engine, as well as WP Migrate, WP Offload Media, WP Offload SES, and Better Search Replace, which provide various services related to improved website functionality and the automation of previously cumbersome processes.

As the company expanded, bootstrapping additional hires with revenue, Tousenard emulated the culture of the WordPress community, embracing remote work at a time when most startup founders insisted on brick-and-mortar work environments. Such companies as Automattic, which runs, employ only remote staff, and Delicious Brains followed suit, with its employees — 14 as of Dec. 2020 — based throughout Canada, the United States and India.