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Yahoo's spree continues, buys up GoPollGo and Milewise

Yahoo has made eight start up purchases since October

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 9, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2f64

Remember that Living With Michael Jackson special that aired 10 years ago? It was the one where everyone suddenly realized he had a child named Blanket. There was a scene in that show that always stuck with me: it was Michael Jackson going into some super fancy antique store and basically just buying everything he laid eyes on, even if they cost millions of dollars.

That is kind of how I am beginning to see Yahoo these days. The company has been on a wild shopping spree over the past nine months, buying up startups left and right, mostly to bolster its mobile offerings.

Thursday saw the acquisition of two more companies for Yahoo:  GoPollGo and MileWise, both of which appear to be acqui-hires, since the teams are joining Yahoo offices and are shutting down their companies.

Palo Alto-based GoPollGo was a real-time polling tool founded in 2011 by Ben Schaechter. As of today, the company will no be supporting its properties on the site, embeddable widgets or mobile app.

"It has been so rewarding to build a product that scaled up to millions of people and supported large media properties and diverse brands -- all while staying true to promise to deliver fun, engaging, real-time experiences," GoPollGo wrote on its homepage.

"We're so excited to bring the knowledge and experience we've gained at GoPollGo to Yahoo!. We share an enthusiasm for building delightful user experiences, and we couldn’t be happier to join forces."

A Yahoo spokesperson tells VatorNews that the company will be joining its mobile organization in Sunnyvale, California. 

The company had raised $425,000 in seed funding from Idealab and CrunchFund in July 2011.

Frequent flier search startup MileWise will also be shutting down, and relocating to join Yahoo in its office in Bryant Park in New York City.

"It's tough to say goodbye to something we've dedicated so much to. But, we've tried to make it easy to take your data with you. We'll be sending everyone an email with instructions on exporting your data," MileWise wrote in a note on its homepage Thursday.

"We're thrilled to be joining such a talented group of inventors, and can't wait to get working on the next big thing coming out of Yahoo."

MileWise, which launched four years ago, raised $1.5 million in debt financing in January 2011. 

Spokespeople from both Yahoo and MileWise would not disclose the financial terms of these deals. 

GoPollGo has not responded to our request for further comment. 

Yahoo's acquisitions

Since Marissa Mayer took over as CEO in July of last year, Yahoo has made a series small purchases and acqu-hires.

The first one was Stamped, the Justin Bieber-backed mobile app that lets users “stamp” and share their favorite restaurants, movies, books, and music, which was purchased in October; and OnTheAir, a video chat service that can be used for casual hangouts or to organize largish webinars

In February, Yahoo purchased location discovery app Alike, and then, earlier this month, Yahoo acqu-hired the team at personalized recommendation service Jybe, giving the company both a location service, and now a team with knowledge in personalized recommendations.

Most recently the company bought news summarizer Summly and then it scooped up Astrid, a productivity app which helps people manage lists. 

In case you are counting, Yahoo has now made eight start up purchases in just seven months!

And Mayer is not simply content to buy up small companies. In the last month or so it has become clear that she wants to make a big purchase a big video company as well.

First it was DailyMotion. Yahoo was set to purchase up to 75% of the company, which is valued at $300 million, but the deal was scuttled by the French government, when it stepped in and attempted to renegotiate the terms of the deal, offering Yahoo a chance to buy a stake in the company without having majority control, an offer which Yahoo declined. 

In recent days, it has been reported that Yahoo has now moved on, and is looking to buy Hulu instead.

(Image source: http://www.blacknbougie.com)


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