Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Buys E-Commerce App Platform Startup Lexity (Like ATD Said)

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We already reported days ago that Yahoo was likely to buy e-commerce app platform Lexity. And so it did.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Lexity said the service would continue to run, but eventually under new Yahoo branding.

It returns to Yahoo one of its well-regarded techies, Lexity CEO and founder Amit Kumar, who had worked at Yahoo for many years, focusing on search and semantic advertising, including inventing SearchMonkey there. He then went to semantic advertising firm Dapper, which was later bought by Yahoo.

Kumar then left Yahoo again to found Lexity — formerly Vurve — in 2009. According to its website, the startup “will build apps that help merchants with customer acquisition, retention and monetization.” That includes Lexity Live, which offers all kinds of data about store traffic and more.

Lexity, which also has a labs unit in India, has raised close to $6 million from angel investors like Esther Dyson, Joshua Schachter, Vish Makhijani and Ash Patel, and also venture outfits including Spark Capital, True Ventures and 500 Startups.

The purchase will be Yahoo’s 19th since CEO Marissa Mayer took over a year ago. She has bought a disparate collection of startups, most of which are in the mobile space, for small sums, although she did fork over more than $1 billion to acquire blogging platform Tumblr.

As I noted recently, it’s not entirely clear what Mayer’s overall integration strategy is — one post jokingly called the myriad of acquisition efforts “Franken-Yahoo” — except to acquire a lot of talented entrepreneurs to help turbocharge innovation at Yahoo.

While I ferret out the price — this is not a very big one, like most others done over the last year by Mayer, who never met a startup she did not acquire — here is the blog post on it from the Mountain View, Calif., startup:

We’re thrilled to announce that we are joining Yahoo!. All Lexity products, services and initiatives will transition seamlessly and get even better, faster and stronger.

Four years ago (to the day!) we founded Lexity with the goal of helping small businesses succeed. Since then, we’ve built an amazing set of simple, affordable and effective apps — some our own, some by our developer partners — and made them available for all merchants, including those hosted by our ecommerce platforms partners. Today, we serve tens of thousands of customers across 114 countries. And, we’ve been humbled by the overwhelming positive response.

Today, we are excited to join forces with Yahoo! and to continue building on our vision. Together, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to help make small businesses even more successful.

All Lexity apps, including our flagship app Lexity Live, will continue to run seamlessly, and we are putting more resources towards making them even better. We will continue to support merchants on any ecommerce platform — BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, you name it. We will also continue to support and enhance Commerce Central, our write-once, run-anywhere platform for developers.

Lastly, we would like to give a huge thanks to our board members: Santo Politi from Spark Capital and Jon Callaghan from True Ventures, as well as our angel investors and advisors. Thank you for believing in us!

Keep up with our big move on Facebook and Twitter. Have a question? Check out the FAQ. And do stay tuned; lots of new products and features are just around the corner!

Amit and the Lexiteers


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus