Danish startup Zyb has confirmed our report from last week that it bought mobile social-networking startup Imity. Here is Zyb’s press release and Imity’s blog post. Terms were not disclosed, but it wasn’t very big (Zyb has raised only 3 million Euros so far). The deal was a combination of cash and stock and Imity’s three employees are now working at Zyb. As we noted previously:
Imity is a mobile social network that locates people via the bluetooth feature on their handsets. It detects other members via bluetooth and send basic profile information to your phone. It also keeps track of people on its website, so you can check that out periodically from your normal computer. It bridges mobile and traditional social networks, which may help it gain critical mass. We first mentioned them last year.
ZYB is a much larger startup that originally helped users back up data on their mobile phone to the web. When they realized how much relationship data they had collected on users (who you know, via who is stored on your cell phone), they launched a social network of their own.
Zyb has 250,000 users who have already stored 16 million contacts on the service. It is working on a new service called the Zyb Phonebook, which will incorporate Imity’s Bluetooth social networking feature and is due to roll out sometime this quarter. Location-aware mobile social networks are becoming hot again (see today’s launch of Fireball). But relying on Bluetooth alone to determine which of your friends are nearby is too limiting. After all, chances are if a friend of mine is in the same room I won’t need to look at my cell phone to find him or her.
Update: Imity co-founder Nikolaj Nyholm, who is now an adviser to Zyb, argues that a Bluetoth network is actually valuable because it bridges your virtual relationships with the physical world. Says Nyholm:
It is not about where, it is about here. What Imity has been focused on is figuring out what is happening around you here and now, not that a movie is playing five miles away from you. It is about sensing the information here and now, and making those connections that would not happen otherwise. For instance, people who were reading each other’s blogs but didn’t know each other in real life have ended up meeting each other because they are at the same restaurant.
Okay, there might be something there. Ultimately, though, you’d want to be able to sense people in your virtual network who are both 300 feet away and three miles away. And to make yourself invisible to those people as well.