Exit This Way
The saga of the lone OMGPOP employee to say no to Zynga isn’t over just yet thanks to a couple of acerbic late night tweets from OMGPOP chief executive Dan Porter. Last week, Shay Pierce, a former OMGPOP game developer penned a rather explosive column for Gamasutra about turning down Zynga’s post-acquisition employment offer over a difference of “values.” (The gist: he had them, Zynga didn’t.)
Guess Mr. Porter, now VP of general management at Zynga New York, was not a fan of Mr. Pierce calling his new employer “evil.” Late Friday night, Mr. Porter tweeted: “The one OMGPOP employee who turned down joining Zynga was the weakest one on the whole team. Selfish people make bad games. Good riddance!” In case you weren’t sure who he was talking about, he later added, “What’s so interesting about success is the number of failures who try to ride on your back. Shay Pierce is just one of many . . .” Read More
The New York Times got a ticket to OMGPOP’s after-acquisition party at the Bowery Hotel last week where they ran into the startup’s founder, Charles Forman, who was in such a daze over the $180 million deal with Zynga that he walked into traffic.
Mr. Forman, who left the company in 2011, but retained his stake, told the Times he made “way more” than $22 million from the sale, adding, “It’s the kind of money where I’ll be wearing whatever I want when somebody invites me to a wedding.”
OMGPOP was founded six years ago, went through a session at Y Combinator, and wound its way through a series of challenges and leadership changes before coming out with the superhit game Draw Something six weeks ago. Draw Something is like Pictionary, except it’s played on a mobile phone and is apparently as addictive as crack. With 35 million downloads, it is by far the largest game OMGPOP has ever made.
“We’re excited to announce Zynga has acquired New York-based OMGPOP,” Dave Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer, said on a media call, before praising the “smash hit Draw Something.” “If you haven’t played it already, I highly suggest you check it out. It’s super fun.” Read More
Video sharing service Vimeo, also known as the rich man’s YouTube, announced an executive-level shakeup this morning via a press release from parent company InterActiveCorp. Kerry Trainor, the senior vice president of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, is joining Vimeo as CEO. He’ll be taking over for Dae Mellencamp, who has been CEO and president of Vimeo since 2009. Ms. Mellencamp will keep her title as president, but hand over the CEO reins to Mr. Trainor. Read More
It appears we now have a concrete reason for Oink’s mysterious shuttering yesterday. Kevin Rose, Internet cutie pie and ex-overlord of Diggnation, has been hired by Google. According to AllThingsD, “Google is not outright buying or ‘acqhiring’ Milk, the sources explicitly said, but Rose and some others from the company have been hired.” Read More
Milk Inc., Digg founder Kevin Rose’s new app shop, announced today that it was shutting down its first app project, Oink. The iPhone app was meant as a servicey rating tool, where users could highlight and rate specific aspects of a restaurant or bar, like meals or drinks. It saw fast growth upon release in November 2011, but apparently very little after the initial excitement died down. Read More
Back in August, Fast Company reported that Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes had sold his startup Jumo, a social network to connect people to nonprofits, to GOOD, the magazine publisher and digital media platform, for undisclosed terms.
Betabeat reported the terms were for $0 and a graceful exit.
Our story said Mr. Hughes’s company was a flop, and that the sale was more of a face-saving effort than a true acquisition. “Rather than folding the grant-funded, well-meaning and inordinately high-profile startup and admitting what would surely be a very public failure, he arranged a deal with an old friend,” we wrote at the time. Ben Goldhirsh, who went to boarding school with Mr. Hughes, is the CEO and owner of GOOD.
Betabeat has now obtained documents pertaining to the sale, which confirm every bit of our theory, except one. At the time, Mr. Hughes insisted the sale price was not $0, and he was right: The sale had not yet been approved by the state attorney general, a requirement because of its nonprofit status.
The sale was approved and the approval was filed in the Supreme Court of New York on December 30, 2011.
Jumo, a nonprofit corporation which raised more than $3.5 million in grant money from the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation., among others, was not sold for $0. It was sold for $62,221, based on an appraisal of Jumo’s value by Morrison, Brown, Argiz and Farra. Read More
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. Compete.com says that Posterous gets just under 1.2 million unique visitors a month, compared to Tumblr’s 18+ million. Read More