Facebook Buys And Shuts Down Shopping Site TheFind To Boost Commerce In Ads

Facebook today announced it has acquired personalized shopping search engine TheFind to help improve its commerce ads. TheFind had raised $26 million from Lightspeed and Redpoint since getting off the ground around 2005, but will now be shut down. Some, but not all, members of the team are joining Facebook.

TheFind’s product allowed people to get customized recommendations for products while searching through its massive database of products. A user could enter somewhat generic terms like “black sweater” and then compare prices on black sweaters from a wide array of retailers aggregated by TheFind. They could also discover places to buy their chosen product locally if they want it immediately.

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Amazon Has Quietly Acquired 2lemetry To Build Out Its Internet Of Things Strategy

Amazon is taking another step into the Internet of Things. TechCrunch has learned, and confirmed, that the e-commerce and cloud services giant has acquired 2lemetry, a startup based out of Denver that has developed an enterprise-focused platform to track and manage IP-enabled machines and other connected devices.

Terms of the deal, which we heard was finalized earlier this week, were not disclosed. 2lemetry, founded in 2011, had raised $9 million, including a $4 million round in January of this year from investors that included Salesforce Ventures.

Reaching out to 2lemetry, our queries were forwarded to Amazon. A spokesperson confirmed the acquisition with a short statement that noted that the service will continue to operate for existing customers.

“I can confirm that Amazon has acquired 2lemetry and we look forward to continuing to support 2lemetry customers,” a spokesperson said. Those customers include Honeywell, the Demeter energy group and First Mile, an office recycling service.

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Google buys Launchpad Toys as it seeks more kid-friendly products

Google is buying the kids app-maker Launchpad Toys, the startup announced Wednesday.

LaunchPad Toys makes a handful of popular mobile apps for children including an augmented reality app called TeleStory and an animation storytelling tool called Toontastic.

The San Francisco-based startup was founded in 2010 and took part in Y-Combinator in 2011. It is backed by high-profile investors including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal to Mashable but declined to give further details.

While it remains to be seen what exactly the search giant has in mind for the acquisition, the deal appears to be part of the company’s bid to entice a much younger crowd with more kid-friendly products.

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Twitter Confirms Acquisition Of India’s Missed Call Marketing Platform ZipDial

Last week TechCrunch reported Twitter was in final talks to acquire ZipDial for between $30 million and $40 million, and today the company announced the deal has closed.

ZipDial allows people to call a special phone number for a business, hang up before they incur a charge, and then receive a phone call or SMS with information about the business. This “missed call” marketing platform allows people to access content for free, which is especially useful in the developing world where many can’t afford data plans.

Twitter said about the deal “For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device – but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone.” When asked about the acquisition price, Twitter told me “We aren’t disclosing financial terms of the deal” but did say
“The majority of ZipDial’s team will be joining us.”

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Ousted Founder Gurbaksh Chahal Raises His Offer To Acquire RadiumOne

Founder Gurbaksh Chahal isn’t giving up on his efforts to acquire RadiumOne, the ad-tech company that fired him last year.

Back in April, Chahal was ousted from his role as CEO after he pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic violence battery, leading to intense criticism of the company. RadiumOne and Chahal later issued a joint statement saying that they had resolved their differences.

Then, last month, Chahal made an offer to buy the company for an undisclosed price, and while RadiumOne said it would take the offer to its board of directors, it also responded that “RadiumOne is not for sale” and described the offered price as one that “fails to reflect the value that has been built in the company.”

But as I said, Chahal isn’t giving up. I’ve obtained a copy of a subsequent letter in which he raises his offer by 25 percent. My copy doesn’t include the price, but the source who gave it to me said it’s in the nine figures. (Re/code heard that the initial offer was for just over $400 million. If that’s true, the subsequent offer would add $100 million.)

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Why Mark Cuban Bought a Dying Business for $200,000

Shark Tank host Mark Cuban surprised a pair of entrepreneurs–and all four sharks–by offering to buy 100 percent of a struggling small business during Tuesday’s special episode.

Sisters Ellie Brown and Becca Nelson came to the tank seeking $100,000 for 30 percent of their wearable fabric sticker company evREwares. The company’s flagship product, Sticky Ties, is a collection of reusable stickers consumers can wear on clothing to make it look like they’re wearing bow ties and neckties.

While the company has generated $600,000 in revenue since debuting in 2011, sales have tanked recently, with just $50,000 in projected revenue for 2014.

The problem with the business, according to the sharks, is the price of the stickers, which sell for between $4.99 and $7.99. Brown and Nelson made the case that Sticky Ties’s reusability is what warrants a higher price than all other party stickers on the market, but the sharks weren’t biting.

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Ad Company Crossboard Mobile Acquired By Flatiron Media And The Berry Company

Crossboard Mobile, an ad-tech company with a focus on helping businesses find sales leads, has beed acquired by two different companies, according to CEO Steve Oriola.

Founded in 2008 as Pontiflex, the company rebranded as Crossboard Mobilemidway through last year.

However, it’s been pretty quiet for the past few months, and I reached out to Oriola after receiving an anonymous tip that the company had sold off its assets and was shutting down. He confirmed the sale, adding that Crossboard was sold in two parts because it was “effectively in two businesses.”

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