Marissa Mayer's First M&A Deal: Yahoo Buys Mobile Start-Up Stamped
By Colleen Taylor
Yahoo has bought Stamped, the New York City-based startup that built an iPhone app to let people record and share recommendations of their favorite things, we've confirmed with a source at Stamped. Update: The news has also been confirmed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who posted an Instagram of herself with the Stamped founders. Update 2: Now there is a blog post about the deal.
The price tag is in the double-digit millions, we hear - a nice return for the startup's star-studded list of investors including Ellen DeGeneres and Ryan Seacrest, who pitched a total of $3 million into the company.
The Stamped buy is the first big step in a major mobile push being led by Marissa Mayer. All of Stamped's nine employees are joining the company, and are tasked with building a "major mobile development center" based in New York City that will focus on bringing much-needed coherence to Yahoo's mobile strategy.
The Stamped team is starting at Yahoo today, and have already started an aggressive hiring effort to staff up the NYC mobile office. The Stamped app as it exists today will be sunsetted by the end of the year.
This is certainly not the last deal we'll see of this sort from Yahoo - we hear the company is on a major acquisition hunt for small startups with mobile expertise. In Yahoo's earnings call this week, Mayer said that mobile was a big priority for her at the moment, pointing out that right now Yahoo's mobile experience is "splintered" across more than 70 apps for iOS and Android. She said:
"Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy... at some point [in the near future] we'll have to be a predominantly mobile company."
This is not the first time that Stamped's co-founder and CEO Robby Stein has worked with Mayer. Before starting Stamped he worked at Google as an associate product manager, a sort of executive grooming program for especially promising young employees that was led by Mayer.
Here's a bit of what Stamped's founders wrote in their blog post about the deal:
"We couldn't be more thrilled to join Yahoo!. As a team of mostly former Googlers, we've all worked with and are big fans of Marissa. So when an opportunity arose to become a part of the team at Yahoo!, we jumped. As entrepreneurs, it's never easy to walk away from something you built from the ground up, but the folks we met with at Yahoo! are simply top-notch and we're thrilled to be joining them!
The Stamped team will be creating a brand new product and engineering office for Yahoo in NYC's Bryant Park. After everything we learned from building Stamped, 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. If you're interested in joining us, send us an email."