Pinterest acquires Instapaper from Betaworks

Instapaper, which lets users save online content for future reference, will remain a standalone app

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 23, 2016
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Pinterest has built its model around letting users collect things for later, as well as providing them with the kind of content they'll want to save. Now the company is looking to make those experiences better by buying a company whose expertise lies in not only understanding the signals associated with dynamic content, but then using that data to serve recommendations.

 Pinterest has acquired Instapaper, a Web application that allows users to save online content for future reference, it was revealed in a blog post from the Instapaper team on Tuesday.

Instapaper had previously been acquired by Betaworks in 2013. The financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Instapaper will remain a standalone app. Betaworks will retain no interest in the app, or its technology, going forward.  

Two Instapaper employees are joining Pinterest, including CEO Brian Donohue, and they'll be working on both Pinterest and Instapaper, Jamie Favazza, a spokesperson from Pinterest, told me.  The Instapaper team will be moving from betaworks, in New York City, to Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Founded in 2008, Instapaper allows users to save anything they find on the Web, including articles, videos, cooking recipes or song lyrics. It then syncs the articles and videos that are saved so that they can be access on iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle, and they can be read offline. Instapaper currently has millions of users, the majority of whom are male.

Instapaper also allows users it to highlight and comment on text in any article, and then share it.

While Instapaper may seem similar to Evernote, as that application also allows users to clip articles from the Web, the Instapaper app is actually integrated into the Evernote platform, allowing users to share content with their Evernote contacts.

Given that Pinterest's whole model revolves around users saving things to look at later, it would seem that Pinterest could easily find a way to incorporate the technology.

Favazza told me that while "it's still early," Pinterest is already "exploring how the team’s expertise with dynamic content can be used to power some types of Rich Pins."

"In addition, Instapaper uses content signals to determine the most popular content and power features like Popular Sort, Instapaper Daily (the top article of the day) and Instapaper Weekly (a weekly digest of the top articles of the week), and this technology could further improve the way we index and recommend fresh and evergreen content on Pinterest," she said.

As the world's catalog of ideas, we're focused on making it easy to save and discover content on any device. The Instapaper team are experts in saving, curating and analyzing articles, and they’re a welcome addition ‚Äčto Pinterest," Steve Davis, lead product manager, Pinterest, said in a statement provided to VatorNews.

"Instapaper will work with us to continue building indexing and recommendations technologies, and we look forward to building great products together."

For Instapaper, the company writes that " there is a lot of overlap between Pinterest and Instapaper," based on the company's core mission, "which is allowing our users to discover, save, and experience interesting web content."

"Joining Pinterest provides us with the additional resources and experience necessary to achieve that shared mission on a much larger scale," Instapaper said. 

This is Pinterest's sixth acquisition of 2016, and, interestingly, the first one that isn't an acqui-hire.

It first brought over Daniel Nordh, the founder of design app Curator, in April, before hiring the team behind URX, a mobile deeplinking provider, in May. It also purchased the team from smart keyboard app Fleksy in June. The company also acquired the team behind shopping app tote.

Most recently Pinterest had acquired the team from mobile app developer Math Camp. 

VatorNews reached out to Betaworks for comment on the deal. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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