Now businesses that are being built on top of Twitter are starting to consume others that were in fact features of those very businesses to begin with. Case in point: StockTwits has just acquired Chart.ly, which is a tremendously logical deal. Chart.ly is a stock-chart service designed specifically for StockTwits (which is dedicated to talking about stocks on Twitter). Think of it as a Twitpic for stock charts (you can Twitter about a stock with a link to a chart on Chart.ly).
Howard Lindzon, the founder of StockTwits (and before that, WallStrip), confirms to me that StockTwits now owns the code behind Chart.ly and that its creator, Adarsh Pallian, will continue to oversee the development site. Lindzon will help with ad deals. He paid less than $10,000 for the development work and will now split ad-revenues on Chart.ly 50/50 with Pallian.
In a world of open APIs, this is how small M&A deals are done. Pallian came to StockTwits with his idea for Chart.ly and just went out and built it. “He just came to us,” says Lindzon. “He is a young guy who wanted to design something for us, and we didn’t have the time.” Lindzon and his team were more focused on the stream of data coming into StockTwits, which currently has 70,000 followers on Twitter. Since Chart.ly launched a few weeks ago, about 3,000 stock charts have been created and shared. It was an obvious feature for StockTwits. Pallian proved that it was a good idea by building it and gaining traction for the feature quickly. Right now it is connected to StockTwits loosely, but will become more integrated now that StockTwits owns it.