Official Google Buys Meebo, But What About Google+

It’s official Google has announced that they are acquiring social network company Meebo. This comes right on the heels of Google Plus’s one year anniversary. While this is great news for Meebo, it leaves some people wondering why purchase a social network when Google is telling everyone that Google plus is going so well.

Meebo began as an instant messenger type of service and then evolved into a social networking platform of it’s own with it’s user base hitting around 100 million.

“We are always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect with others across the Web, just as they do in real life,” Google said in a statement. “With the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google Plus team.”

According to Yahoo Google Plus currently has 170 million users but they are having trouble converting those users to regular daily users, as with Facebook and Twitter. Google’s number of users has been widely criticized because they recently lumped a bunch of their services under the Google+ umbrella. Also, new users to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, are persuaded to sign up for a Google+ account to activate their phone’s operating system.  Google has also made it really easy to hit a big button to sign up for Google+ when signing up for a new, free GMail account.

It’s cases like Android activations and new GMail users which result in a bunch of new users being created that never actually do anything with the social network.

Meebo specialty is working with web publishers and engaging users for longer more frequent periods, which is something the Google Plus team definitely needs.

Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg and Milk was recently acquihired by Google to lead the Google Plus team. It was announced in a separate announcement last week that Rose is moving onto the Google Ventures team and exiting his post with the social networking arm of the search giant.

Meebo seems very excited about the news of the acquisition. As with most Google deals the financials have not been revealed. Over the weekend we reported that Google acquired the software from DC startup KikScore for an undisclosed amount.

Google has spent more than $16 billion dollars acquiring over 140 companies since 2009. That does include the $12.5 billion dollar acquisition of Motorola.

Source: Yahoo

Washington DC Startup: KikScore Aquired By Google


Google has Acquired a Wahington DC startup called KikScore. KikScore is an online reputation startup that helps smaller online businesses build reputations and become more trusted for consumers.

CEO and co-founder Rajeev Malik created KikScore after his wife noticed that people would fill up their shopping carts on her furniture website and then abandon them. Malik and his wife did some research and discovered that most incomplete shopping cart purchases were partially based on the customers trust, or lack thereof, of the merchant.

Malik describes KikScore on their blog as:
a patent-pending online reputation score and interactive report card for small businesses around the world. KikScore enables online small businesses to take information and reputational data about themselves, their track record of responsibility and dependability and show their website visitors that their business can be trusted. Small businesses do this by placing the interactive KikScore Confidence Badge, real-time merchant report card and comment platform on their website so they can close more leads and sell more.

KikScore’s other co-founders are Travis Valentine CTO, Mike Collins Head of Product, Mike Mauseth Board of Advisors member, and Tom Lewis another Board Of Advisors member.

This article from SocialMatchbox positions the acquisition as a straight up acquisition without acquihire. Malik told SocialMatchbox that he aimed to spend more time with his budding family and work on his next startup.

Google will most likely fold KikScore into their current Trusted Stores product that falls under the Google Checkout/Google Wallet department.



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Facebook Acquires Karma

After a topsy turvy day on Friday for Facebook, and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s nuptials on Saturday, the company has decided to extend their good Karma. They’ve done this by purchasing San Francisco based startup Karma.

Karma is an application that allows users to send gifts. Karma says while their are a number of social gifting apps on the market, they differentiate themselves by combining intelligence, social discovery and easy gift giving.

Facebook recently acquihired the team from photo app Lightbox sans their Creative Director Giles Peyton Nicoll who started his own agency. Of course we also know about Facebook’s $1 billion dollar acquisition of photo app Instagram which is expected to close in the second half of the year.

Like Instagram the Karma purchase was a complete acquisition. Karma and Facebook are both saying that for now Karma will continue to operate as is, with a bigger “back bone”.

An acquisition of a startup like Karma makes sense since it is a social app that would inherently give “more” to the social experience. Until we see what’s to come, the LightBox acqui-hire didn’t make that much sense since Facebook did just acquire Instagram which is in the exact same space as Lightbox. In fact Lightbox used to directly compete with Instagram in their outbound marketing to Android users.

source: Engadget

UPDATED – London Startup: Lightbox Acquihired By Facebook

Facebook is obviously using their last days of independence to scoop up whatever companies they want. Of course everyone knows about the $1 billion dollar acquisition of Instagram. Facebook also recently acquired social discovery app Glancee which uses Facebook as it’s backbone and was the closest competition to Highlight at South By Southwest in Austin this year.

Now we’ve learned that Facebook has acquired the seven man team behind Lightbox. Including designer Giles Peyton-Nicoll, the companies creative director and the driving force behind their UI.

Giles Peyton Nicoll The Creative Director behind Lightbox, acquired this week by Facebook, has announced plans to launch a new global design consultancy and build a portfolio of brands “as cherished as Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike”.
As the seven-strong Lightbox engineering team prepares for its relocation to the States, Creative Director and Product Designer Giles Peyton-Nicoll is staying in London and is set to launch a new agency.  Full Press Release Below

No financial details were announced. The Lightbox team is based in London, so it’s also unclear where they will work out of or if they will all move to Silicon Valley.

Lightbox is a photo sharing app for Android. They debuted last year and had a pod set up at Google IO. The service is very similar, at least in the sharing aspect, to Instagram. In fact, before Instagram arrived on the Android platform Lightbox would send out emails to it’s user base touting it as a better than Instagram and available on Android. They continued with the same marketing message after Instagram launched on Android just days before the Facebook acquisition.

It was widely reported that on the Facebook investor road show, the company was highly criticized on their mobile efforts. Despite pushing out regular updates of the Facebook app some investors seemed worried that more and more users are resorting to the mobile device and that Facebook needs to make sure they own that position the way they do with social media.

It’s also obvious that Facebook is taking photography very seriously. They recently updated their mobile site and mobile apps to enlarge the size of photos on users walls and news feeds. With the acquisitions of both Instagram and Lightbox they must be working on some bad ass mobile photo app to integrate into the social network.

source: VentureBeat




The Creative Director behind Lightbox, acquired this week by Facebook, has announced plans to launch a new global design consultancy and build a portfolio of brands “as cherished as Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike”.
As the seven-strong Lightbox engineering team prepares for its relocation to the States, Creative Director and Product Designer Giles Peyton-Nicoll is staying in London and is set to launch a new agency.
The 41-year-old is a world-leading branding strategist with a wealth of experience in designing and developing global brands. He founded boutique design agency Aspect, which sold to GYRO in 2000. He then took on a Creative Director role at GYRO, helping them achieve global recognition.
After leaving GYRO in 2002 he became a Digital Strategy and Design Consultant working on global brand, advertising and marketing campaigns for some of the best London digital agencies.
With extensive experience in brand guardianship for many of the world’s favourite brands, his true talent lies in creating successful brands from conception – his last two brand identities – Nakama and Lightbox – have become global success stories.
Mr Peyton-Nicoll said: “I wish my Lightbox colleagues all the best. We had a great time developing the product and I am very proud to have played a major part in the development of what is now a globally-recognised digital brand.
“I’m now looking to the future and the exciting prospect of creating similar powerful brands, as cherished as Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike, for my new clients.”

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Boston Startup Play140 Acquihired By OOmba Founded By The Creator Of Atari

Play140 CEO Shawn Broderick and his team thought they were onto something that could be game changing. The company had built an acronym game, called The Acronym Game, to be played on Twitter. Their thinking was simple, make Twitter more than just communication. It was a novel idea, play games on Twitter, I mean everyone was doing it on Facebook.

The game was simple, see who could make the most clever phrase out of the acronym provided. For whatever reason the game never took off. The company’s Twitter feed shut down and they stopped posting on their blog. reports that the employees of the company, including two of the three co-founders went to find other jobs. That left Broderick and the company’s CTO Michael Johnson left manning what was left of the game.

Fast forward to this week and they’ve had some rather exciting news. A venture funded startup called Oomba has acquired Play140 for an undisclosed amount. What’s really interesting is that this startup’s founders include Nolan Bushnell. Now if  y you’re thinking that name sounds familiar, it’s because Bushnell founded Atari and Chuck E Cheese among other feats in his career.

More after the break
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Madison WI Based Digital Estate Planning Startup Entrustet Acquihired By Largest Competitor SecureSafe

A big problem that many of us will face in the next 50-60  years is one that hasn’t been around before. That is, what happens to all these accounts, all these cloud stored files and all this data when we pass away. Nobody likes to face mortality but it’s definitely something you want to keep track of.

That masterful idea you’ve been working on your whole life, will it be buried with you? Will your legacy be carried out? What about all those passwords for your bank accounts and credit cards? What if you use online desktop office software like Google Docs. Heck I haven’t used Office since the beta of Google Docs. What if my life was cut short, where does the data go?

Companies like Madison Based WI startup Entrustet have been working on that. Entrustet was founded by Jesse Davis and Nathan Lustig with a vision to give users a piece of mind when it comes to your data. They want to allow people to quickly, easily and securely prepare last wishes for their digital assets.

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Chicago’s Groupon Acquihires Ditto.Me

Lately the news about Groupon hasn’t been the good news we’re used to hearing. First, there is a group of investors that are suing Groupon suggesting that the Chicago based startup had cooked the books. Also over the weekend Groupon disappeared from Apple’s iTunes app store.

That hasn’t stopped them from making acquisitions though. Social check in, recommendation, chat with friends app was just acquired by Groupon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed however a post on’s website clearly indicates that this is a total acquihire.

Ditto’s founder and CEO Jyri Engestrom posted this on ditto’s website:

“We can’t reveal what we’ll be working on at Groupon but we are excited to give it 100% – to enable this, we’ll be winding down Ditto. On April 30th we’ll switch off the service and remove the app from Apple’s and Nokia’s stores*. We think you’ll love what we and Groupon dream up next.”

If Groupon manages to come out of the investor lawsuits unscathed and whatever this issue is with the Apple iTunes app store they have their work cut out for them. As a pioneer in the daily deals space, they are just like FourSquare. FourSquare was a pioneer in the check in space, but then after checking in that was it. The same thing holds true for the original Groupon, you’ve got group deals, and daily deals, everyone has those now.

Groupon may be using this acquihire of to make their daily deals and group buying app more social. Perhaps share deals with friends and then go in together? The technology is definitely there as is the technical know how from Engestrom.

We’ll be watching this one closely.

source: Forbes


Chicago Startups Yield $160M In Q1 From Funding To Acquisition: What’s This Midwest Mentality?

Whoever said Chicago didn’t have a thriving tech scene may need to crawl out from under their own angels and actually look at the facts. has just released the Q1 numbers and they are mighty impressive for a town with no startup culture and entrepreneurs who are at home by 5:00pm.

According to the latest data from builtinchicago, 32 new startups were launched in Q1 2012. 17 startups saw funding to the beat of $33 million dollars and there were 12 acquisitions for a total of $127 million dollars. If you put your basic arithmetic hats on you’ll see that Chicago startups (and just the ones reports on) yielded $160 million dollars in funding and acquisitions.

Ageology, gtrot, Band Digital, Hireology, BodyShopBids, Kauzu, Buzz Referrals, Lab 42, CareShare, MediaFly, Channel IQ, Retrofit, Eved,, Fippex, Univa and Vmock all saw some kind of funding in the first quarter of 2012.

Cellit, ClearTrial, Pointbridge, PrepMe, FeeFighters, RegistryPro, Intelli, RoundArch, ki edit + design, Savid Tech, MobManager, and Quiet FDN all saw exits through acquisition.

data from

Facebook’s Other Acquisition This Week: Tagtile

Now that we’ve all heard that Instagram’s $500 million valuation drove Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg into a frenzy because he had to have Instagram, it’s time to check out Facebook’s other acquisition this week. While Instagram looks like a pretty solid acquisition into the Facebook family, their other acquisition, Tagtile, may fit better with the Facebook business.

Tagtile is a company that allows you to walk into a store, and tap your phone against a special cube. When you do that, your phone shakes hands with the business. The business gives you discounts and special offers and your phone shares the information you allow it to, back to Tagtile, like your contact information, and a little more if you let it.

Business Insider suggests that the Tagtile deal was an acqui-hire. A posting on Tagtile’s website suggests that Tagtile won’t continue the way it has been once they join Facebook. This is similar to the Gowalla deal, not the Instagram deal. Zuckerberg quickly let people know that Instagram would function as is, for now. Gowalla on the other hand officially shut down during SXSW as the founders and team relocated to Palo Alto to work on Team Facebook.

Tagtile hasn’t said how many merchants they have using the Tagtile cube or how many users have downloaded the app however they did say that Tagtile will continue to work the way it has, again for now…

source: SAI

Google Acquires TxVia To Help Bring Google Wallet Into The Prepaid Space.

New York based TxVia has been working in the prepaid space since 2008. They reportedly handle over 100 million accounts and have partnerships with some of the biggest brands in the world.

Google announced on their Google Commerce Blog last week that they’ve acquired TxVia.  Google didn’t disclose any of the financials behind the deal.

Google’s VP of Wallet & Payments Osama Bedier said on the Google Commerce Blog:

“They’ve partnered with the industry’s best known brands, and their leadership team has played an instrumental role in defining the fast-growing prepaid card segment of emerging payments.”

Google is working relentlessly as of late, on refining the Google Wallet platform and trying to build scale as quick as they can before ISIS rolls out.


While Google has teamed up with the nation’s third largest carrier, Sprint, to roll out Google Wallet the other three carriers have teamed up to form ISIS another virtual wallet and checkout program.  ISIS has been successful in partnering with not only three of the for major carriers but some of the largest payment partners as well. For instance, Google’s current POS partner for Google Wallet  transactions is Mastercard’s Pay Pass.  ISIS on the other hand, has secured Verifone for their POS transactions.

According to Google TxVia has a payment network that is fast and reliable. 

It hasn’t been revealed what role TxVia will play in all of this.  Gift cards and prepaid cards have always been in the plans for Google Wallet.  It appears, that with this transaction, Google Wallet will be closer to rolling out more “funding” options for Google Wallet customers.

Source: Google Commerce Blog

Another Day, Another Possible Black Mark On Pinterest

Another day, another possible black mark on Pinterest. The site that has been marked in the past with Link Baiting, Spam issues, and copyright infringement maybe up to it one more time. Business Insider is reporting that “VC’s” are trying to get a new round of investment valued for the company at around $1 billion dollars. There is just one problem with that, everyone they’ve called to talk to has denied it with no known knowledge of a new round. Nor does Pinterest “want” to raise a new round of funding as of yet they claim. This is also a company that still has no business model for revenue yet as their past one with links didn’t work out.

What they are hearing is VC’s are trying to bribe and are showing up uninvited to Pinterest in hopes of starting those talks.

Could it be a rogue investor trying to drum up more interest as one of the original investors as either bringing more money in or a possible exit plan? Or could it just be that Pinterest is trying to drum up hopes of another round, so that hopefully someone buys them out instead.

Source: Business Insider

Amazon Buys Robot Firm For $755 Million To Help Automate Warehouses


Amazon announced today that they are purchasing robotics company Kiva Systems. Kiva specializes in warehouse automation.

Kiva Systems robots can be guides by barcodes on the floor and shelving systems. The robots can then pick and bring items to stationary workers.

By keeping the workers stationary and letting the robots do all of the product picking the warehouse process becomes several times more efficient.

“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment, “Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”“For the past ten years, the Kiva team has been focused on creating innovative material handling technologies,” said Mick Mountz, CEO and founder of Kiva Systems. “I’m delighted that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can provide even more valuable solutions in the coming years.”

Amazon will also pick up 24 contacts Kiva Systems already has in place, including giant toy retailer Toys R Us and outdoor company Timbaland.

Source: Mashable

Breaking: CNN To Buy Mashables Says A Reuters Blogger


While SXSW hasn’t had any break out hits like in the past with Twitter, Foursquare or the now defunct Gowalla, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been major News coming from it. Reuters Blogger Felix Salmon is reporting that he has been told from a close source that CNN which is at SXSW for the first time, will be buying Mashables for upwards of $200 on Tuesday.

In the past major companies buying a Tech site hasn’t worked out so well, AOL, however, if CNN lets Mashable’s be them selves, this should great help both sides.  So while SXSW for new Start-Ups may have been a bust, at lest we got one major News coming out of Austin this year. Its also unclear as of now if the management will stay the same, or movement will have to happen.


Here’s looking at Tuesday kids…


Source: Reuters