Sources Say Pivotal Labs Has Been Contemplating a Sale For Years, Wants To Scale to ‘Sapient-Levels of Huge’

Pivotal NYC (via foursquare/connellmcgill)

Update: Pivotal Labs was acquired by EMC Corporation.

Late Monday night, Om Malik, GigaOm’s top (and only, as far as we know) Om, broke the news that Pivotal Labs was in talks to be acquired.  The San Francisco-based company, which Mr. Malik described as “one of the smartest Web consulting firms, known for its pioneering work in agile development,” he said, is “in talks to be acquired” by a large technology company.

Pivotal currently has offices in San Francisco, Boulder, and, of course, its beloved local outpost in Union Square, which frequently hosts Skillshare classes and, until recently TechStars NYC. Pivotal has an interesting business model. It helps technical teams from clients like Groupon, TaskRabbit, and even Best Buy and the Associated Press by working in tandem with Pivotal staffers. After a few months, they leave with progress on their product and training in agile development so they can do it all over again.

“The thinking behind this move,” a source familiar with the company told Betabeat, “is to scale pivotal to Sapient levels of huge,” adding that Pivotal SF was up for sale. (Sapient is a publicly-traded interactive services agency.)

Another source familiar with the company, who also requested anonymity, mentioned Sapient randomly as well. The source said he had talked to former VP of technology Ian McFarland about selling Pivotal numerous times “through the years.” Read More

Exit This Way

Twitter Acquires Posterous, Tumblr’s Valley-Based Competitor

Picture 2

Twitter announced today that it has acquired Posterous, the B-List blogging platform and temporary homepage for DJ sensation Paul Phusion. Once heralded as one of the “Hottest Silicon Valley Companies,” Posterous failed to successfully differentiate itself from its much more popular (and NYC-based!) competitor, Tumblr. says that Posterous gets just under 1.2 million unique visitors a month, compared to Tumblr’s 18+ million. Read More

Pick Ups

Fab Makes Its First Acquisition: NYC-Based Fashion Stake

From the people who brought you Gay Yelp...


The surging startup Fab is spending some of the $40 million in funding it just booked. Today Fab announced that it’s acquiring New York based startup Fashion Stake as it looks to expand its focus on its best selling category, clothing. FashionStake’s co-founders Vivian Weng and Daniel Gulati will join Fab, but beyond that terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“They are super well respected with the kind of independent designers we want to feature on Fab, so having their industry connections will be a great help,” said Fab CEO Jason Goldberg. The Fashion Stake site will fold and become part of But Mr. Goldberg said that they may look to incoporate elements of the company, like their crowdsourced model for voting on items to see which goes on sale. Read More


What Obligation do Startup Founders Owe Their Investors?

What did you sign?

This is a guest post from Eric Wiesen, a general partner at RRE. It originally appeared on his blog.

The recent acquisition of Gowalla by Facebook is just the latest incidence of the potential tension between investors and founders when a company is acquired primarily for the team rather than for the technology, product or business that they’ve built. People around the web will take the opportunity to observe that in situations where a company is acquired in this way, the founders typically get a package of equity to motivate them to join (and remain at) the acquiring company, while investors usually get anywherefrom zero to a small return on invested capital. Look around and you’ll find people willing to condemn the founders for unethically “selling out” their investors and you’ll find people who say the exact opposite, that such a company didn’t have saleable assets anyway, and so investors are owed nothing because the business failed. Read More

Seed Stage Slaughter

Scoop St. Sidesteps Tough Funding Market, Acquired by BuyWithMe

Co-founder Justin Tsang.

BuyWithMe, “a daily deal contender” or “Groupon clone,” depending on who’s doing the talking, announced last night that it acquired its fifth company this year. This time they plunked down cash for Scoop St., which took a hyper-local approach to discounted deals, focusing only in New York City. AllThingsD reports that the terms of the deal weren’t discussed, beyond the fact that it was all-cash, but considering Scoop St. just announced its own branded mobile app earlier this month along with a new lottery feature, it probably wasn’t in the works for that long.

A recent report from the 451 Group found that acquisitions were up in the suffocatingly crowded deals space, but the Scoop St. buyout is also another indicator of the impending seed stage slaughter we’ve been trying to warn you about, as the early stage funding banked in the heady days of 2010 runs out. Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Facebook AcqHires Daytum and Another Day, Another Hackathon


Your week in New York start-ups:

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE FACE. Facebook has [edit: not acquired, hired the people behind] pretty, pretty Daytum, the two-person New York-based start-up that has been helping users organize and make spiffy all that data we create: check-ins, runs, hot dogs eaten. The app will live, the company said, but the team is moving out West. Read More