Facebook Acquires Pittsburgh Speech Recognition And Translation Startup

Jibbigo, Pittsburgh Startup, Facebook, AcquisitionOn Monday morning Tom Stocky, Director of Product Management at Facebook, announced that the social networking giant had acquired Mobile Technologies, the Pittsburgh startup behind the app Jibbigo.

Jibbigo is an app with the kind of technology you’d think the NSA would be after. The app allows you to record someone talking in a foreign language and translates the voice snippet for you in both text and spoken word in the language selected. This is the kind of technology that everyone has wished they had at one time or another. You know, you’re riding the subway and you hear a loud argument in another language? Jibbigo is perfect for that.

Now obviously Facebook is going to use this technology for translating and speech recognition, but its specific uses have yet to be announced. What Stocky did say, by Facebook post of course, was “I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Mobile Technologies, a company with an amazing team that’s behind some of the world’s leading speech recognition and machine translation technology.”

Facebook already integrates Bing’s translation technology into news feeds and posts. Anthony Sarvas at ITProPortal speculates that they could use the technology for improving their mobile ad network and expanding a mobile ad campaigns reach.

The Pittsburgh-based team will relocate to Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. Terms of the deal were, of course, not disclosed.

“With this deal we will welcome some of the industry’s most talented people to our engineering teams in Menlo Park, California,” Stocky said in the Facebook post.

Find out more about Jibbigo here.



Angie’s List Acquires Denver Startup BrightNest

BrightNest, Denver startup, Angie's List, Indiana startup

On Friday it was announced that Indiana-based Angie’s list, the worlds largest referral startup, has acquired Denver startup BrightNest.

BrightNest was founded in 2011 in Denver’s River North Arts District.  The startup is a community-based platform centered around homeowners. They offer tips, tools, and ideas that they say will “shape up your home and simplify your life.”

While Angie’s List is a great place to find a handyman to change a door, over the years their offerings have evolved to include contractors, carpenters, and other service people who can help complete long renovation projects and bigger home improvements.

With  BrightNest incorporated into the Angie’s List site, home owners will be able to get suggestions for projects and then find the people they need to work on the projects.

“The only way to transform the local services industry is to solve real problems in a bigger, better, and new way,” Angie’s List Chief Executive Officer Bill Oesterle said in a statement. “With two million members and more than 18 years in this space, no one has better data on local service providers than Angie’s List. BrightNest adds a user-friendly front end and personalized member experience to our marketplace platform which is built on rules, tools and transparency.”

Angie’s List also announced the national rollout of its new communication and scheduling tools. In the second quarter, Angie’s List processed more than 116,000 transactions on its marketplace platform. This represents a tiny fraction of the total transactions that flow through Angie’s List. “We’ve been quietly transforming the way local service is transacted, and we are now in a position to scale it. We will put the platform everywhere our members want it to be, including web, mobile ,and call center,” said Oesterle.

In the new marketplace, Angie’s List can monitor and evaluate each transaction as it progresses through to completion. “If a transaction gets stuck at any point, we are going to step in and fix it,” said Oesterle. “We have the critical mass and the relationships with local service providers that allow us to change service outcomes.”

BrightNest Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Justin Anthony echoed Oesterle’s statement. “We’re excited to join a trusted brand and help facilitate the solution to make it even easier to hire local service providers. Our tools and interactive content allow us to tailor a custom experience for every member because no two homes and no two homeowners are exactly alike.”

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Angie’s List acquired basically all of the assets of BrightNest for $2.65 million in cash. The cash value included $2.15 million at closing and $0.5 million payable at the one-year anniversary of closing, subject to certain performance criteria. Angie’s List funded the acquisition with existing cash. In addition, Angie’s List will grant options to purchase $3.65 million of Angie’s List common stock to the members of the BrightNest team, all of whom have been retained by Angie’s List. The transaction closed on August 2, 2013.


Jeff Bezos To Purchase The Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, Washington Post, Amazon, Graham

Jeff Bezos is no stranger to entrepreneurs and startups. As the founder of Amazon, he has become one of the wealthiest men in the world off of what seemed to be a crazy idea. Amazon has grown to the number one online destination for e-commerce and web sales. Millions of products are sold across Amazon and its partners.

Amazon has also been an instrumental player in developing startups both in their hometown of Seattle, across the country, and around the world. Many web based businesses rely on Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud system for their infrastructure and web presence. They’ve found a way for people to pay with “credits” vs a flat monthly rate, which for some entrepreneurs makes it easy to grow and scale their startups and businesses.

Through Amazon’s launch in 1995 to today. Bezos has remained committed to entrepreneurship and startups and even now still mentors young startup founders. He’s also helped advocate for startups to the government and speaks at startup events, making him one of the most successful and one of the most respected entrepreneurs.

Late Monday evening The Washington Post reported that they have agreed to sell the historic newspaper to Bezos directly (not to Amazon). Bezos will take the company private and according to the Post’s Publisher Katharine Weymouth, he will be able to “experiment with the paper without the pressure of showing an immediate return on any investment.”

The paper has been in Weymouth’s family since 1933 when Eugene Meyer, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors purchased the paper. In 1946 Meyer was succeeded as publisher by his son-in-law Philip Graham whose wife Katharine Graham served as chairman and CEO until 1993. Her son, Donald Graham, succeeded her at the Post. Weymouth is Katharine Graham’s granddaughter and Donald Graham’s niece.

Over the past few years the post has tried to become more progressive with their online and social offerings. Laura O’Shaugnessy (Graham’s daughter and wife to Living Social founder Tim O’Shaugnessy) is the general manager of SocialCode a Washington Post startup that helps companies expand their brand on Facebook.

Bezos plans to remain true to the readers of the Post and plans to be in it for the long haul. “I don’t want to imply that I have a worked-out plan,” Bezos told The Post in an interview. “This will be uncharted terrain, and it will require experimentation.” He continued, “There would be change with or without new ownership. But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

Bezos plans to keep Weymouth in her position as publisher. Also, what may come as a relief to the newsroom, Bezos says there will be no layoffs of the company’s 2000 employees as a result of the transaction.

The paper has been in the Graham family for eight decades, and although no clear long term plan was announced on Monday, Bezos may be planning on keeping the paper in his family for generations as well.

Bezos was not a surprise bidder. The Post reports that Bezos and Donald Graham have been friends for years, often turning to each other for advice. Graham was influential in the way newspapers are displayed on Amazon’s Kindle devices.

You can read more about this historic transaction here.










Photo: Jeff Bezos

Great Examples Of Good Tech Companies Destroyed After Being Acquired?

Startups, Acquisitions, dead acquisitionsBusinesses buy out other businesses. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and acquisitions are part of the grand game of business baccarat. Amongst the main benefits of an acquisition are:


  • Increased plant capacity
  • Product diversification
  • Reduced financial risk
  • Bigger share of the market
  • Acquisition of research, development and market expertise


If all goes according to plan, the newly acquired company ought to increase in value as investors see cost savings and revenue increases ensue.


But it doesn’t always go according to plan. There are often problems that only become apparent after the deal has gone through. Integration plans can be demolished by white collar turf wars and culture clashes. Brand dilution, incompatible processes and systems and lack of knowledge about the acquired company’s business methodology can all have an impact in the successful marriage of two corporations. Such failings may have an irreversible impact on shareholder value and see the stock price of the acquiring organization plummet. The ship sinks with all hands, and there’s not a lifeboat to be seen.


It’s a particular problem in the world of dotcoms. Corporate quicksand lies in wait to suck even the most seemingly healthy companies to their doom. Here are just a few examples of the good tech companies that have gone bust following their acquisition.



This was the original social networking site and granddaddy of them all. Andrew Weinreich founded the company in New York while the dotcom boom was rumbling on, and it was later taken over by Youthstream for over $130million in stock. Within six months it was shut down. The legacy of sixdegrees however was awareness of the vast potential of social networking, and the likes of Linkedin and other SN platforms took up the baton and ran with it.



Danger was the creator of the T-Mobile Sidekick. Microsoft acquired the company in 2008. They actually prototyped a new product but then completely scrapped the development and platform in favour of the Windows Phone 7, leaving the product team in, as they say, a right old mess amidst a flurry of contradictory goals. The Kin was eventually launched and proved a total flop, and the original development team was dispersed to the tech winds. Just to finish the demolition job off, Microsoft shortly afterwards lost just about all of its Sidekick customer data late in 1999.


Apple bought up Lala, an online music store, for over $80million in December 2009 and a few months later shut the site down. They seem to have done nothing with the acquired technology and nor have they replaced it.

Goowy Media

Goowy Media, a Californian-based widget software firm, was acquired by AOL/Time Warner in 2008 and everything was fine until AOL split off from TW, when everything went haywire. According to Goowy staff, the TW staff whose office they shared barely acknowledged their presence and they were not assigned work for long periods of time. About a year after the acquisition Goowy was shut down, despite having a basically good product.

Flawed system

It’s worth mentioning that acquisitions and mergers often fail because of a focus on short-term gains by the acquiring company. What they’re mainly interested in is seeing the acquisition run smoothly and after that they often don’t much care about how the acquired company performs. This attitude seems to be inherent in the business world and may often be the fault of no one in particular.


Carlo Pandian worked at Adzuna, a tech start-up based in London. He is currently writing a tutorial on QuickBooks (accounting software for entrepreneurs), and has previously published for Techli, Killer Startups and Under30CEO. Connect with him on Twitter @carlopandian.



Brooklyn Startup Makerbot Acquired in $604 Million Dollar Deal

Makerbot, Stratasys, New York startup, acquisitionMakerbot, the Brooklyn startup that came on the scene in 2009 and made 3D printing a household name, has been acquired in a $604 million dollar deal.

Makerbot developed the first desktop 3D printer, dubbed the “Makerbot” and quickly sold out of the initial 20 printers they had ordered. Fast forward to just two weeks ago, the company opened up a 50,000 square foot factory in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. In addition to the 3D printers, Makerbot has a consumer facing web platform called Thingiverse that allows people to upload their 3d printer plans and have them printed by the company.

Almost immediately after the opening of the new factory rumors started swirling that Makerbot had put themselves on the market. This afternoon those plans materialized with the announcement that industrial 3d printing giant, Stratasys, acquired the company in a deal worth up to $604 million dollars.

Many tech sites, including CNet, reported earlier in the day that the all stock deal was worth $430 million howeverThe Verge reports that the initial 2/3 of the deal would happen when the deal closes with the remaining 1/3 of the deal contingent on Makerbot’s performance.

Stratasys has been a mainstay in the industrial 3d printing space. While their printers print molds and parts for several industries, they came into light earlier this year when Defense Distributed used one of their high end printers to print a 3D gun that actually worked.

3D printing continues to explode. While the original Makerbot desktop printer sold for over $2,000, back in April there was a desktop 3d printer featured in the SkyMall magazine for under $1000. We saw that advertisement on the way to TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 where we got a chance to see 3DLT pitch their platform which is like 99 designs for 3D templates.

Makerbot is also working on a 3d scanner so that users can scan objects and then print them using a Makerbot printer.

This acquisition will give Stratasys a firm footing in the consumer 3D printing space. Early adopters are seeing an approaching time when people will be able to print shoes, sunglasses, cups, bowls and just about any household item from their home. 3D printing could end up being the alternative to same day delivery from giant retailers like Walmart, at least for goods that can be 3d printed.

Just last month NY had another huge exit with Tumblr.


Chicago’s GrubHub And New York’s Seamless Merging To Dominate Food Ordering Market

GrubHub,Seamless, Chicago Startup,New York startupChicago based food ordering startup GrubHub and New York based food ordering startup Seamless have announced that the two companies will merge, pending regulatory approval.

GrubHub’s co-founder Matt Maloney will become the combined company’s CEO while Seamless’ CEO Jonathan Zabusky will serve as the new company’s President. A new name for the combined entity has not been announced. Both companies have said they don’t plan on reducing staff. GrubHub employs around 350 people while Seamless employs 300 people.

GrubHub hosted Startup America Regional Champion’s during last October’s Startup America Summit. During that event we enjoyed breakfast, a tour of the company’s new offices and keynote sessions by Maloney, Scott Case and later in the day Brad Keywell of Groupon and LightBank fame.

While rivals GrubHub and Seamless were responsible fora reported $875 million dollars in food sales to local restaurants bringing in over $100 million dollars in revenue.

“We have the luxury of having two amazing brands right now. Honestly, we don’t have plans to consolidate brands at this time,” Matt Maloney, CEO and co-founder of GrubHub, told ABC News. “We are looking to position ourselves as a combined unit within this massive industry.”

Maloney acknowledged that Seamless has a great iPad app. 30% of each company’s business is currently coming from mobile an area where Maloney sees the need for improvement with GrubHub.  GrubHub offers in-restaurant tablet technology which could (and probably will) combine with the tablet offerings for Seamless.

The combined company will have a stable of over 500 cities and 20,000 local takeout locations.

The GrubHub Seamless merger lost some of it’s thunder once Yahoo announced the acquisition of Tumblr.


SideCar Acquires Ride Sharing Competitor Heyride

HeyRide,SideCar, Austin startup,ride sharing, startup, acquihire, acquisitionRidesharing has been a very popular means of transportation in Europe for many years, it’s just now starting to take off in the United States. Startups like RidePost, who recently graduated from the Iron Yard accelerator, and HeyRide have started a trend in peer to peer ride sharing.

San Francisco based SideCar has, by far, been one of the most popular ride sharing platforms to date. With SideCar you use the companies web based and app based platform to find someone “going your way” and then book a ride with that person. Unlike Uber and Halo users aren’t relying on pricey, already existing ride for hire drivers. Rather, with these kinds of apps you’re just looking for someone going the same place you are. These apps essentially take the ride bulletin board off the campus wall and put it in an app.

HeyRide, was a startup founded two years ago when the founders were embarrassed by the lack of adequate transportation in their hometown for SXSW. People were tweeting, updating their Facebook status and finding other ways to use the web to communicate the need for rides. The HeyRide team turned that need into an app that took off and quickly spread.

Now, with less than a month to go before SXSW 2013, SideCar has acquired HeyRide for an undisclosed amount.

“We’ve heard from people across the country and around the world that they want the SideCar community to take root in their cities and towns,” said Sunil Paul, CEO of SideCar. “Heyride’s talented team has developed a unique design and experience that will help take the rideshare movement we started here in San Francisco nationwide. We are thrilled to welcome Heyride to the SideCar family.”

SideCar and Heyride have a shared vision for empowering communities to solve transportation problems. Heyride’s world-class user experience and design team will join SideCar’s product team to focus on creating an outstanding experience for SideCar drivers and riders. Heyride’s assets include its critically acclaimed iPhone application for ridesharing available at Heyride.com.

During its initial launch phase SideCar will be available for drivers and riders Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm – 3am in West LA, Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City in Los Angeles; and downtown Austin and Philadelphia. Expanded hours and days will follow as the community grows. SideCar is actively recruiting drivers in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington, DC. Drivers can sign up to be part of the community at www.side.cr/drive. SideCar’s free mobile application is available for download for riders via the App Store for iPhone and GooglePlay for Android users.

How SideCar works
SideCar matches everyday drivers with a car with people nearby who need a ride. It’s like getting a ride from a friend or a neighbor when you want it. Riders place a request to share a ride by setting a pick-up and drop off location using the SideCar app. Once the request is accepted, drivers can be viewed approaching in real-time. Riders can make a voluntary donation at the end of the ride.

SideCar has many features in place to keep riders and drivers safe. All SideCar drivers are pre-vetted for safety. All rides are tracked and passengers can share their progress and ride status in text, email and social media. Donations are made through the app, so the entire experience is cashless and hassle-free. The SideCar community sets and enforces high standards for safety and quality. Drivers and riders rate one another and people with low ratings are removed from the SideCar community. SideCar’s safety features can be found at www.side.cr/safety


Lookout Amazon, Google Acquires Waterloo Startup BufferBox

BufferBox,Waterloo startup,Canadian startup,startup,startup newsAnyone who’s followed mobile technology over the last 18 months or so knows that Google and Amazon are in an all out war .When Amazon launched their Kindle Fire tablet, loosely based on the Android operating system, they immediately set up a walled garden ecosystem to provide Amazon content to the tablet device.

Amazon has been in the online e-commerce business a lot longer than just about everybody else. For that they are one of the most trusted names in e-commerce. They’ve also built up a huge collection of content that fuels everyone’s taste in movies, music and of course books.

Many feel that Google’s Android powered tablets, dubbed “Nexus 7 and Nexus 10” are direct competitors for Amazon complete with their own media and app store called “Google Play”.

Now it looks like Google is planning on expanding their click and mortar business to directly compete with Amazon. The acquisition of Waterloo based BufferBox is just another indicator of what Google may have planned in the not so distant future.

BufferBox preceded “Amazon Lockers” by over a year.

When BufferBox co-founder [Mike McCauley] first heard about Amazon Lockers he was disheartened and felt their idea had been ripped off. He was later able to turn it into a much more positive spin when he said: Amazon “put credibility behind the technology,” McCauley said. “Now there’s a big new market Amazon has created. Because Amazon controls 30% of the e-commerce market, you need a third party to offer the service for everyone else.” to the Wall Street Journal read more at http://markerly.com/p/_ZhMm73

The concept is simple, BufferBox lockers are placed in high traffic businesses. Customers of e-commerce shopping sites that have partnered with BufferBox can use the lockers for a safe, secure, and sometimes 24 hour a day place to receive packages. With BufferBox and the Amazon Lockers, long gone are the days someone has to worry about their purchase becoming lost, stolen or damaged, waiting in an overnight carriers pick up location or on the front step.

We’ve even heard from several sources that Memphis based FedEx is working on a similar locker based system that will solve a billion dollar problem with drivers having to attempt a delivery to the same address multiple times a week. This will also solve problems for e-commerce customers who may not get off work until after their local delivery service closes for the day.

Late last month Google announced that they had acquired BufferBox.  The team at BufferBox will all be joining Google in the acquisition but they don’t have to move far. Google’s Waterloo offices are on the upper floor of the building where BufferBox is based.

It’s obvious from our interview with BufferBox co-founder Mike McCauley that the small startup is looking to disrupt the way that packages everywhere are delivered.  Now they’ll get to do that on a huge scale as part of Google.

“Being a small company and a startup, there’s obviously a lot of challenges,” BufferBox chief executive Mr. McCauley said in an interview with the Financial Post

“So us being able to work very closely with someone like Google allows us to leverage their resources and share vision and combine thoughts and talent together to really make something a lot bigger than we ever would have imagined. We’re really excited to be able to build out that vision quite a bit quicker than we otherwise would have without them onside.”



Source: Financial Post

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Yahoo’s First Mayer Acquisition, New York Startup Stamped

Stamped,New York startup,Yahoo,Marissa Mayer,Startup,Startups,acquisition,xooglerLast April we brought you the profile of New York startup Stamped. Stamped, which is made up of a team of 11 with five being Xooglers, created a recommendation platform that allowed users to put their “stamp of approval” on their favorite places and things.

Stamped offers a unique value proposition by having a quick, easy to understand way of providing recommendations without having to read 1500 word reviews. It’s the recommendation platform for those on the go.

Stamped marks the first Yahoo acquisition under the leadership of new CEO Marissa Mayer who took over the helm at Yahoo six weeks ago after a thirteen year stint at Google.

Prior to this announced acquisition, Stamped had already attracted the attention and investment from Bain Capital Ventures and Google Ventures. Their first round of funding was $1.5 million dollars.  They also have rockstar advisors like Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and food personality Mario Batail.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Mayer made it clear that acquisitions were part of Yahoo’s strategy going forward, in her first quarterly earnings call earlier this week. Several tech and startup focused sites have been speculating on some of the other possible target startups in Mayers cross hairs.

On Tuesday we brought you the story about the hot and heavy rumor that Yahoo may be looking to acquire Baltimore mobile ad startup Millennial Media. 

Like Millennial Media, Stamped is a natural fit for Yahoo who hasn’t had a good review product, much less a mobile product for reviews. Mayer also said that mobile was one of the key focuses for Yahoo going forward as well.

Yahoo Senior Vice President Adam Cahan told the Associated Press that Stamped would be “a great asset as we expand Yahoo’s mobile efforts and build a world-class mobile development organization.”

Stamped issued a statement on their website today that said:

“We’re excited to start work again on something big, mobile, and new — but we can’t discuss the details just yet. And we’re really stoked to be able to hire lots of talented engineers and designers for this new project.”


Stamped is here

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CEO Remorse? After Firing Mollie Spillman On Vacation Is Marissa Mayer Eyeing Baltimore Startup Millennial Media?

The 37 year old fireball we’ve all come to know and love, Marissa Mayer, has been hard at work in her new role as CEO of Yahoo. During that time she’s mandated free smartphones for her staffers, made meals free, hired a new CFO and even had a baby of her own with just a few weeks maternity leave. Mayer knows that Yahoo’s share holders are looking for a big change and quick. So far she seems to be delivering.

The next thing Mayer and the Yahoo team have to do is lock down solid revenue streams.

It appears that Mayer is going to attack revenue from all angles and focus on the angles that she knows the best. A new version of the Yahoo home screen recently leaked out that showed a higher profile for search. For those that didn’t know Mayer had a long tenured history at Google.

She also seems to be honing in on Yahoo’s content properties and cutting away other under performing properties.

Mayer’s also focusing heavily on mobile a place she knows well from her Google days. Yahoo held their first quarterly conference call under Mayer, Monday afternoon. During that call Mayer spoke about her plan to focus the company’s efforts on mobile. At one point in Yahoo’s long dot com history the page, with their silly tv commercials, was a destination of browsers everywhere to find just about anything in a portal design moreso than a straight search engine.

In the early days of Google, Yahoo search was actually powered by their Mountain View rival. A time Mayer knows all too well from the other side of the fence.

Mayer is hoping to make Yahoo and it’s many apps a go to destination on mobile devices. Once their mobile product line is beefed up they are going to need a better monetization strategy than they currently have in place.

Mollie Spilman,Millennial Media, Yahoo, Mayer,Marissa Mayer, Baltimore Startup,Startup,Startups,startup acquisitionTo that end, this past weekend Business Insider reported that Mayer may have her eye on Baltimore mobile ad startup giant Millennial Media.

 Millennial Media was created by a group of former advertising.com and Verizon Wireless employees and is led today by co-founder and CEO Paul Palmeri who was integral part of the creation of Verizon Wireless’ v-cast service.  With their engagement and developer centric mobile ad strategy Millennial Media quickly rose to prominence as the second largest mobile ad company in the world, eclipsing even Apple. Google is of course at the top, and by all accounts they are not for sale.

Millennial Media went public back in March. They debuted at $13 and quickly shot up to $25 with a high on opening day of $27.90. Unlike many of the tech companies and “startups” that went public this year, Millennial Media trades on a day to day basis, very close to where they debuted at, closing yesterday at $14.25.

All around it’s a solid company and a solid acquisition candidate for Yahoo.

Of course no one at Yahoo or Millennial Media is speaking about this however Yahoo could truly benefit from having the second largest mobile ad network behind Google in their stable.

There’s also a huge connection between Yahoo and Millennial Media. Millennial Media’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer is Mollie Spilman. You may remember Spilman’s name as the CMO from Yahoo that was fired by Mayer while she was on her vacation. Perhaps there isn’t such bad blood between Mayer after all.


Millennial Media

Source: SAI

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Google Acquires German Company Nik Software For It’s SnapSeed Startup

While the Instagram staffers were taking their new offices at Facebook on Monday and Tuesday, Google announced that they have acquired German company Nik Software and with that, their photo sharing startup SnapSeed.  Instagram officially moved it’s modest staff of under 20 into Facebook’s headquarters Monday where they will be able to integrate and innovate closely with the existing Facebook team.

Nik Software, which has been around since 1995, catapulted in recent days with their picture sharing app SnapSeed.  Forbes recently called SnapSeed “Instagram and a lot more”. SnapSeed has more features and more ways to edit and play with photos in the mobile environment.

Nik Software has a few photo apps out there already but none as popular as SnapSeed. SnapSeed boasts 9 million users, which may seem like very little compared to the 100 million that Instagram says they have. However, SnapSeed’s 9 million users have paid $4.99 for the app, opposed to Instagram which is free.

Parmy Olson at Forbes Magazine suggests that SnapSeed may fit in better with Google+. Google+ has a huge community of semi pro and pro-mateur photographers who have taken a liking to Google+ and the fact that they allow you to save high resolution photos directly to the Google+ network.

Vic Gundotra, the Google executive who oversees Google+ said this about Nik Software “We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone…”

Nik Software’s US office is in San Diego. The terms of the Google deal were not disclosed. It’s unclear whether or not Nik Software employees will immediately move to Mountain View or if they’re staying on at all. It’s also unclear as to whether SnapSeed will remain a stand along product or if it will be integrated into Google’s Picassa product.

In regards to the acquisition, Nik Software said  “We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.”


Check out snapseed here

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Florida Startup: EarlyShares Acquires HelpersUnite, Well, Early!

Crowdfunding has exploded onto the scene and it’s not entirely ready from a regulatory standpoint. Earlier this year the JOBSAct was passed and with that the SEC has been diligently (we hope) working on regulations that will allow the general public to invest in startups via crowdfunding, up to one million dollars.  As soon as the JOBSAct looked like it was going to pass, shingles for crowdfunding startups went up everywhere.

One of our favorite startups in the crowdfunding space is EarlyShares. First off EarlyShares is based in Miami Florida so of course it’s an “everywhere else” startup. Secondly, CEO and founder Maurice Lopes has decided not to sit on his ass and wait out the SEC, which could go into the early part of this year.  While most of the crowdfunding startups loaded up a back end, and a launch rock page they’ve, for the most part been waiting.

Lopes has actually been proactive about promoting EarlyShares, but moreso promoting the entire concept of crowdfunding. He’s in the midst of a nationwide road tour, offering free workshops about exactly what crowdfunding is, how to do it and the ramifications of it. We’ve seen Lopes in Chicago at TechWeek and in Memphis for one of his road trip work shops(we like road trippers).  Getting in the trenches with other entrepreneurs and startups is definitely going to work to Lopes’ advantage when it comes time to officially startup crowdfunding.

Apparently while Lopes and EarlyShares have been on the road they’ve also been very busy. They announced earlier this month that they had acquired HelpersUnite. HelpersUnite is a crowdfunding portal dedicated to artistic and cause related projects. This is a milestone in the crowdfunding industry as it’s the first reported acquisition and it comes before crowdfunding for equity has officially been released.

The year old HelpersUnite is the world’s first platform to combine artistic creativity, entrepreneurial crowdfunding and event ticket sales, with charitable giving. It raises money, increases awareness, and generates an audience for special events all at once in one place. To date, HelpersUnite has assisted more than a 100 artists and entrepreneurs in funding their dream projects while also providing access to more than 1,000,000 U.S.-based charities.

“We investigated several potential partners and HelpersUnite was by far the best,” said EarlyShares co-Founder and CEO, Maurice Lopes. “HelpersUnite was attractive, because we wanted to be able to operate in the crowdfunding space, while the SEC writes the rules governing Equity Based Crowdfunding.”  Lopes continued  “Through this acquisition, EarlyShares will expand its capabilities and continue the great work done by HelpersUnite,”


Check out EarlyShares here

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Portland Startup: CrowdCompass Acquired By Cvent for $10 Million

A Portland Oregon startup up that specializes in producing smartphone apps for conferences and events, has been acquired by event planning software company Cvent. CrowdCompass is Cvent’s second acquisition in just one week. Last week Cvent, who’s based in Virginia, acquired Austin startup Seed Labs.

“Let’s be clear: We bought this for their people,” said Cvent chief executive Reggie Aggarwal. “We’re going to let the management team run the place they way they’ve been doing it.”

Mobile apps and technology have been changing trade shows, conferences and conventions over the past few years. It’s already been seen that the more robust your tradeshow app is the better. South By Southwest 2012 had a great app that covered every speck of the event officially produced by SXSW. As did the CES app earlier in the year.

Last fall the Oregon company raised $1.3 million led by the Oregon Angel Fund.

CrowdCompass was founded in 2009 and makes apps that connect event go-fers to specific events, other attendees and social media.

CrowdCompass corporate portfolio includes event apps for

E*Trade, Daimler, and Intuit; and meetings industry organizations, like The Meetings Technology Expo; and associations, like the American Bar Association, Association of General Contractors and American Society of Anesthesiologists.

“Cvent’s success is predicated on delivering best-of-breed technology solutions to our event industry clients and partners. This acquisition is an important step to ensuring we continue to lead the industry in the adoption of mobile technologies,” said Reggie Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Cvent. “We selected CrowdCompass because it was clear that they are a leading developer of native mobile apps for business and association events. With experience building hundreds of apps for a wide variety of mid-to large-sized public and private events, the addition of CrowdCompass gives us unparalleled expertise in creating mobile apps for events. We have offered mobile friendly event web sites for some time, but the CrowdCompass product takes the mobile experience to the next level.”

To date CrowdCompass has produced 435 event apps which have seen over 500,000 downloads for Blackberry,Android and iOS.

“Becoming part of Cvent will allow CrowdCompass to operate on a greater scale than it ever has before,” said Tom Kingsley, Founder and CEO of CrowdCompass. “Our technologies and expertise will be a great fit with Cvent’s unmatched reputation and client base; we’re looking forward to all the services we will be able to develop under the Cvent umbrella.”

“The CrowdCompass app demonstrates the excellence and innovation that attendees have come to expect from the Mental Health and Addictions Conference,” said Courtney Young, Digital and Social Media Specialist at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. “We had over 3,000 healthcare professionals and administrators in attendance, and the response to the app was overwhelming, with 80% of them downloading it. By offering the CrowdCompass app, we showed our attendees that we are listening to their demands and care deeply about their conference experience.”

Cvent was founded in 1999 by Reggie Aggarwal. Aggarwal took the company from a two person team to a team of over 900 in McLean Virginia, the city that was once home to America Online. Cvent has been profitable over the last ten years.


For more on Cvent check out their corporate website here

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New York Startup: SinglePlatform Acquired By Constant Contact For $100M

Another New York startup has just had a really big exit. This time it was, web and mobile advertising specialists SinglePlatform. As the name implies, SinglePlatform is one centralized robust advertising platform that allows advertisers to update their advertising in one centralized location.

Our friends at tech.li report that SinglePlatform estimates their reach to be 200 million people every month. SinglePlatform allows the management of advertising space both big and small.

“SinglePlatform lets small businesses quickly distribute rich content so that consumers can find it at the very moment they are looking to make a purchase decision,” Constant Contact said in a press release. “The SinglePlatform offering complements the current Constant Contact suite of online engagement marketing tools by helping small businesses reach and engage their next customer even earlier in the customer lifecycle.”

Forbes reports that the deal was structured as $65 million in cash, $5 million in cash and equity for retention purposes, and up to $30 million based on performance over the next two years, for a total of $100 million.

The company expects the deal to contribute $10 million in 2013 and adds that it should be accretive in late 2013 to early 2014.


More on Constant Contact Here

More on SinglePlatform Here

Source: Tech.Li & Forbes

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