Personal profile startup About.me is acquired by AOL. All of 4 days ago About.me was launching publicly. Form the Tech Crunch video, CEO Tony Conrad explains that they actually signed the LOI (letter of intent) back in November. In the leaked AOL internal email it stated that it will become part of the consumer applications group, led by AOL exec Brad Garlinghouse. This is not the first time Garlinghouse and AOL have acquired a company from Tony.
Garlinghouse and AOL acquired Conrad’s last company Sphere back in 2008. Sphere was a blog content engine. Before that there was Oddpost, a company Tony was an investor in, of which Garlinghouse acquired earlier this decade that became the revamped backbone of Yahoo Mail. AOL is betting big that Tony and the About.me team can come on board and find some unique ways to integrate with the mail and messaging products. Tony seems thoroughly convinced too, that this was the best way for the simple, yet compelling About.me to scale and scale quickly.
From the video:
“Because I think theres a great fit here, I really do. I think theres 45-50 million AIM users, I think theres (what) another 25 million email users in AOL, I think theres great things we can do together. I genuinely believe that. I think it can scale much much faster, and I’m extremely comfortable with AOL.”
Some will argue (Mike Arrington included) that this was too early an exit for About.me. Why now? They had 400,000 users sign up for the beta period that lasted only a short time (starting in September). And the product had positioned itself so well, that why wouldn’t they go for the home run? The long of the short is simple: they felt they had the perfect fit in AOL.
About.me raise just $425,00 from investors including True Ventures and AOL Ventures. So its still a big win for employees and investors, including cofounders Tim Young and Ryan Freitas. The terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed yet. There might be one team thats even more excited than to hear of the acquisition news, and thats the Flavors.me team, a competitor to About.me. This means bigger companies are going to start sniffing around their way more in hopes to grab a like personal profile tool.
I’m not so sure that this was the best exit for about.me … how about.you?