Yobongo, Which Launched at Last Year’s SXSW, to Be Acquired and Shut Down
The cash-and-stock deal will have Yobongo’s six employees form Mixbook’s new mobile team, while the Yobongo product is shut down. It’s a bit of a reunion, as three of Yobongo’s team previously worked at Scrapblog, which was also acquired by Mixbook.
Though the acquisition was not a loss for investors, according to Yobongo CEO Caleb Elston, it’s a bit of a cautionary tale. Yobongo launched exactly a year ago at the SXSW conference, with the promise of connecting people through a mobile app when they are near each other. That’s pretty much exactly what Highlight, Glancee, Kismet, Sonar, Intro and many more are trying to do this year.
Elston said he’s become skeptical about the idea of social discovery — or helping people serendipitously find platonic friends.
“Nobody wants to need friends,” Elston said. “It’s hard to be the first one to start a conversation, because you seem like you’re needy.” Platforms like Twitter or Flickr, where conversations about news and photos often lead to people meeting each other, seem to be a more natural environment for making connections, Elston said.
Yobongo had raised $1.35 million from True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Mitch Kapor and others.