Exit This Way

Marissa Mayer’s First Acquisition Means an Exit for Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, Ellen, and Ryan Seacrest

But can Biebs spell Xoogler?
screen shot 2012 10 25 at 3 16 12 pm Marissa Mayers First Acquisition Means an Exit for Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, Ellen, and Ryan Seacrest

Ms. Mayer with Team Stamped (Photo: Instagram)

This is about as close as Marissa Mayer has come to being featured in an episode of Entourage. Today, word leaked that the new Yahoo CEO made her first acquisition–or acqui-hire, depending on who you ask. Ms. Mayer has purchased Stamped, a New York City-based recommendations app cofounded by two fellow Xooglers. Stamped cofounder Robby Stein worked closely with Ms. Mayer when the two were both still employed by GOOG.

Mashable says Stamped’s team, five of whom are former Google employees, will be joining “a new mobile product team to be established in New York under the leadership of Stamped’s three co-founders.” In a blog post published to the Stamped site, the team confirmed that they will be “discontinuing the Stamped product” but are working on a solution for users to export their data from the app.

Business Insider reports that the deal was closed for a ”a nice size,” but nothing too hefty. That should mean some extra spending money for a group of people who have no need for it: Stamped’s celebrity investors.

photo 5 Marissa Mayers First Acquisition Means an Exit for Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, Ellen, and Ryan SeacrestBack in July, when Stamped decided to pivot from a ratings app into a recommendations app–the company brought on a slew of celebrity investors like Justin Bieber, his manager Scooter Braun, Ellen Degeneres, and Ryan Seacrest–alongside established players like Bain Capital Ventures, Google Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures. (Stamped wasn’t the only startup to give up on trying to rate things: Kevin Rose’s Oink shut down in March.)

Stamped is bright, sleek-looking, and easy-to-use, but around the time of the revamp, we wondered whether it would be able to get any traction in recommendations–even with Biebs filming videos about his favorite things. The gamble may not have worked as intended. Mashable notes both the iPhone and web app will be “discontinued by the end of the year,” with the team’s talents now geared toward helping Yahoo transform from a dotcom relic into a mobile company.

For some insight into how celebrity tech investments work, check out The New Yorker‘s profile of Scooter Braun, who had invested in ten startups, including Uber, Stamped, and Spotify, when the article was published in September.

“Cross-promotion is all part of the interdependent business culture that Braun has created. For instance, he cuts Bieber in on many of his tech investments. Sometimes he has Bieber put money into a start-up company directly; sometimes he offers to have him promote a product in return for equity. “If it makes sense for Justin’s brand, I show it to him,” Braun said. (He has a similar relationship with his other artists, and with Ellen DeGeneres, with whom he has shared tech-investing tips: “She put me onto something, and I put her onto something.”)”

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