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Rumors abound about a social-media buyout, and new life for AOL's social media after Bebo Flop
AOL and Thing Labs, are in what appear to be the final stages of acquisition talks. Thing Labs is the creator of a Twitter and Facebook management application called Brizzly. While no firm numbers have been set, sources have reported that the buyout number is likely to be in the low double-digit millions, when all is said and done. The sources, who initially spoke to Tech Crunch, went unnamed. The previous rumor that had Foursquare buying Thing Labs seems to have fizzled out.
Ask whether he was in talks with AOL, and Jason Shellen, Thing Labs CEO, wouldn't comment. But he did have this to offer:
Brizzly is a third-party Twitter application with Facebook integration that pioneered a wide range of features, such as creating lists of friends and in line picture and video support before Twitter had added them to the mix itself. This type of application could be useful to AOL, given the unfortunate state of its own social network, Bebo, which was shut down in April of this year. This was major egg on the face of AOL since it had only purchased the site two years prior for close to $1 billion.
If the rumors prove to be true, this would be the second acquisition fro AOL in as many months. Near the end of the month of August, AOL purchased Rally Up, making the nine-person Santa Cruz-based team part of its mobile applications department. Rally Up was best know for making a mobile application by the same name that was a a location-based social network for your real world friends. The combination of the two companies into AOL Is undoubtedly going to be fodder for more serious speculation. Will AOL be taking a more aggressive stance on mobile social media? Only time will tell.
Thing Labs received a little over $2 million in funding from Polaris Ventures, SoftTech VC, and angels in November of 2009 in its B Series funding round. That $2 million brought its total funding to $2.2 million. The Thing Labs team includes Jason Shellen, the founding product manager of Google Reader who originally came to Google when they bought Blogger, Chris Wetherell, a former senior engineer at Google where he started Google Reader, Dolapo Falola, a member of the Google Reader team, Ben Darnell, formerly of Facebook and FriendFeed before they were aquired, Zachary Taylor the founder of both Artbreak and Silicon Valley Ruby on Rails Meetup, Grant Shellen, a former trainer in Google's online sales and operations division and Corinna Psomadakis, the business manager. The company is currently backed by Mike Hirshland (Polaris Venture Partners), Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC) and Michael Jones.
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