Wal-Mart Acquires Kosmix to Move Into Social and Mobile

Wal-Mart is buying Kosmix, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that has built a social media platform that organizes content by topic.

The company did not disclose terms of the agreement, but said the acquisition would be instrumental in building out both its social and mobile initiatives.

Kosmix will join the newly formed @WalmartLabs and continue to be based in Silicon Valley, the company said.

Wal-mart said the @WalmartLabs team will work on building out its social and mobile commerce strategy to link together its bricks and mortar stores with e-commerce. Today, Wal-mart operates physical stores in 15 countries and e-commerce businesses in nine countries.

Kosmix was founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, who sold their first company, Junglee, to Amazon.com in 1998.

The six-year-old company Kosmix has raised $55 million in funding from Time Warner Investments, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dag Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Jon Miller, and Ed Zander.

In explaining what the company does on its Web site, it writes: “On any given day, people share 830 million items on Facebook, upload 6.1 million photos to Flickr, add 2.1 million minutes of video to YouTube and send 65 million tweets. Kosmix cuts through this noise to find content that matters to you.”

It’s not particularly clear how Kosmix leads to better mobile and social interactions. The company may be best known for powering TweetBeat, which it defines as a real-time social media filter for live events. It also operates Kosmix.com, where people go to discover social content by topic, and it operates RightHealth, which it claims to be one of the top three health and medical information sites by reach.

The transaction is subject to the customary closing conditions; the company anticipates it will close during the first half of this year.


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