Saturday, August 20, 2011

Skype Acquires GroupMe for Mobile Group Messaging

Skype has acquired GroupMe, a provider of mobile group messaging services, for an undisclosed sum.

GroupMe offers a sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms. The company offers free apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and WP7. It allows you to start groups with people already in your contact list. With the group, you can then ask questions, share location on a map, or start conference calls.

Skype said the acquisition advances its vision to provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications experience that enables users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest ties. The group messaging will be tied to Qik , which Skype acquired earlier this year.

  • GroupMe, which is based in New York City, was founded a year ago by Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. The company traces its origin to a project conceived at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Investors in GroupMe include Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Betaworks, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Founder Collective, as well as other angel investors.

  • In July 2011, Facebook and Skype announced deep integration providing "the easiest one-click way to get connected via video with friends and colleagues." The companies said their partnership will make video calling widely pervasive and easily accessible for billions of people. Group video chat is not initially supported, although Facebook is also announcing a text-based group chat.

  • In May 2011, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash -- its biggest acquisition to date. The deal is still pending.

  • In January 2011, Skype acquired Qik, a provider of mobile video software and services, for an undisclosed sum. Qik's app enables mobile phone users to share live or recorded video clips. The Qik service is available on over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms, and comes pre-loaded on a wide variety of mobile handsets through partnerships with leading handset manufacturers and carriers. Qik was founded in 2006 and has 60 employees in Redwood City, California and Moscow, Russia.