Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Buys Qwiki for About $50 Million (Like ATD Said)


As AllThingsD reported two weeks ago that it was likely to do, Yahoo said it has bought Qwiki, the New York startup that makes an Apple iPhone app that allows users to turn photos, music and videos into short movies automatically.

ATD had reported a $40 million to $50 million price tag, which sources said was in the correct range.

Yahoo said it will not — as it has done with most of its smaller acquisitions — kill off the brand.

“We will continue to support the Qwiki app, and the team will join Yahoo! in our New York city office to reimagine Yahoo!’s storytelling experience,” said Yahoo in a blog post.

Qwiki recently released that app, but began as a multimedia search offering, with another iPad app that creates video summaries of search terms, as well as other video-creation tools for storytelling. And last year it hooked up with Yahoo news partner ABC News on a publishing platform to quickly create interactive stories.

While all that pivoting seems unusual, the company recently settled on its mobile-only focus, which is just where Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been aiming Yahoo’s efforts, looking to create a series of daily apps and services to reinvigorate its offerings.

She has also been on the lookout for talent. Qwiki is led by CEO and co-founder Doug Imbruce, but its other co-founder is Louis Monier, the founder of the AltaVista search site, who left the company in 2011.

“We don’t want to be the world’s 10th video-sharing app. There are plenty of those,” said Imbruce to Lauren Goode in an interview in February. “We want to be the first real storytelling app.”

Over its history, Qwiki has raised just over $10 million from a range of investors, including Lerer Ventures and Lightbank, as well as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Yahoo has been on a buying spree of late, mostly of inexpensive mobile app companies. But it also forked over $1.1 billion in cash for Tumblr recently.

I have also reported that Yahoo is close to purchasing address book app creator Xobni for $30 million to $40 million, but that deal seems to still be steeping.

Until that’s done, here’s a little (and decidedly awkward) video that Qwiki did on its journey into the arms of Yahoo:

(Also, as it happens, it is Imbruce’s birthday today — and Qwiki’s throwing a party tonight for both the company and him. Happy Birthday, Doug!)

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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