Exit This Way
We suppose there’s worse ways to end a blue winter Monday than by watching another startup cash out. Business Insider is reporting that Twitter has acquired social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs. While headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (nestled in the warm bosom of its mother institution, MIT), CEO J.P. Maheu is based here in the New York City.
So far there’s no number, but Business Insider says it’s Twitter’s largest acquisition to date, north of the $40 million it paid for Tweetdeck, suggesting a price tag somewhere between $50 million and $100 million. Cha-ching!
It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It
Five months after Facebook announced that it would be acquiring Instagram for $1 billion in cash (yay!) and stock (hrmm), the social network is rolling out the welcome mat. The deal was held up by a Federal Trade Commission investigation into potential anticompetitive practices. The FTC approved the acquisition a couple weeks ago, concluding that the popularity of Instagram competitors (like Hipstamatic and Camera Awesome) compared to Facebook Camera meant that competition was thriving.
In its report, the Office of Fair Trading included the fact that Instagram didn’t have any revenue to speak of and didn’t have data on its users–misreading the situation entirely. As The Next Web noted: “That discounts, of course, the enormous contextual value of the location data recorded with each image, not to mention the facial recognition database that Facebook has been working on making second-to-none.”
After rumors all but confirmed it, Face.com, the Israeli facial recognition startup, finally acknowledged on its blog today that the company has been acquired by Facebook. TechCrunch’s sources estimate that the acquisition price was between $80 million and $100 million, the same figure circulated that month in the Israeli press. The deal was reportedly not part of an acqui-hire to bring Face.com’s staff into the fold, but rather centered around leveraging the company’s technology to help Facebook with mobile photos.
In fact, for the first deployment of its technology, Face.com released an app called KLIK that let users tag Facebook friends in real-time by scanning public photos in your social network and suggesting tags for friends. Once Face.com’s technology is embedded in Facebook, users would theoretically be able get suggestions and tag friends with one click.
Oh You Fancy Huh?
This morning, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg joined high-end photo-sharing site The Fancy under the name “zuckd.” I guess you could say: fancy recognize fancy? In that time, the Facebook CEO has already amassed more than 102,000 followers. He’s also following some fellow Facebookers, such as Dave Morin, the CEO of Path, and Serkan Piantino, who will head up Facebook’s engineering office in New York. (Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes sits on company’s board.)
A few months back, we described the aspirational site as “kind of like Pinterest, but all about the money.” The Fancy is growing fast and has a plan to turn anything users share into a chance to buy.
Zuck has also registered for Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest itself, but naturally, his presence on a young site is bound to jump-start the rumor mill.
When the news broke this Monday that Twitter was acquiring Posterous, the reaction among the tech blogs was a rather muffled meh. Posterous, the microblogging platform that was pitted again Tumblr as soon as it game out of the gate, simply never got much traction. The platform’s founder, Garry Tan moved on to a more promising role as designer-in-residence and now venture partner at Y Combinator.
But what if Twitter had purchased Tumblr instead?
According to Gawker’s Ryan Tate, that’s exactly what Twitter was hoping for. His characterization of a partnership between two companies that hemorrhage cash? “The millenium’s worst merger,” beating out Time Warner-AOL’s “worst deal of the century.” As Mr. Tate writes:
Do It For Me
Once upon a time in a real-time peer-to-peer marketplace, an auction-based website for local skills met an auction-based platform for local tasks, fell in love and got acquired! At least that’s how TaskRabbit and SkillSlate might tell it to their grandkids. That is if this outsourcing your dirty work business catches on.
This morning, TaskRabbit, the San Francisco-based company that helps users find nearby “Rabbits” to do unwanted tasks officially announced that it had acquired SkillSlate, a New York-based company that helps users find people with skills they need, such as fire breathing and personal chefery. Combined they hope to form a national “service network.”
Neither startup is currently disclosing the acquisition price. But reached by email earlier this morning, SkillSlate co-founder and CEO Bartek Ringwelski told us: “Let’s just say the last few months have been busy. I think I may even have hinted about consolidation in the market when we talked a couple months ago “
GroupMe just celebrated its one year anniversary, and founders Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht certainly had something to smile about. A deal in the works for months was just completed, with global VOIP giant Skype acquiring GroupMe for an undisclosed price north of $50 million.
The two co-founders have scored positions at Microsoft but will run the company from New York. And while GroupMe will remain independent, it is likely to become core to Skype’s efforts in mobile, SMS and social. Skype’s over 560 million global users will certainly do a lot to boost GroupMe’s profile and user network if the two companies are deeply integrated.