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AOL Scoops Up Rally Up To Boost Their Mobile Team

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AOL has just acquired Rally Up, the Santa Cruz-based mobile application company, we’ve learned. The 9-person team will become a part of AOL’s mobile group reporting to David Temkin, the new head of mobile. No word on the price, but we hear it was less than $10 million.

The company made a mobile location app (also called Rally Up) which we first covered back in December of 2009 when it launched as “Rally” — a location-based social network for your real friends. They were also among the first to bring a location social network to the iPad. But more recently, the team had built a pretty cool app called FacePlant — which allowed you to easily see who you could use your iPhone 4 to FaceTime with. Apple’s current functionality for this is very limited — you basically have to guess that someone has both an iPhone 4 and is on WiFi to use it. FacePlant got around that with a slick app — but Apple has yet to approved it.

Some may recall that a good portion of the team behind Rally Up is the same team that made 12seconds, one of the initial “Twitter for Video” services. The remainder of that team is separate though, and will continue on for now, I’m told. But Sol Lipman, co-founder of both will be moving over to AOL.

Update: I just got off the phone with Lipman who confirms both the acquisition and that he’ll be joining AOL as a new Senior Director of Mobile. He confirms that all 9 people will be moving over the AOL working out of the new Palo Alto office. Lipman says that the team under him will continue to work on both location and mobile applications, noting that AOL was “looking to take our scrappy energy.

Lipman also confirms that 12seconds will continue to live on. He says that aside from some employees, there was no overlap and that it takes minimal efforts to keep the service running — and that it’s already paying for itself thanks to their video contests.

As for FacePlant, Lipman says they’re still focused on it and will continue to work on it at AOL (they bought that app as well alongside the purchase). As to why Apple hasn’t accepted it, Lipman says: “I think we struck a nerve with Apple. Internally, some people really liked it — some others had issues with it.” He notes they’re going to make some tweaks that Apple suggested and submit it again.

The Rally Up team will begin their new jobs at AOL on September 7.

Update 2: Here’s the full release from AOL:

RALLY UP JOINS AOL

Team to Support AOL’s Efforts to Bring “Mobile-first” Apps to Market

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Aug. 31, 2010 – AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) today announced that Rally Up, the team who has been behind the popular Rally Up and FacePlant mobile applications, has joined AOL to further enhance the Consumer Applications and Mobile talent under Brad Garlinghouse and David Temkin’s leadership. The team will be based in AOL’s new West Coast office in Palo Alto and work closely with David Temkin, the Vice President of Mobile at AOL, to build mobile-first experiences.

Mobile-first marks a new approach to the mobile market at AOL. For the first time, AOL mobile applications will consist not only of mobile versions of its popular desktop and web offerings, but also will include all-new products that launch first on mobile devices. The infusion of mobile product development talent provided by the Rally Up team will provide AOL with an additional spark to ignite its mobile-first initiatives.

“Within the last year, the Rally Up team has demonstrated its keen understanding of the way that people want to use their mobile devices to interact, share and better communicate and of the tools necessary to address those needs,” said David Temkin. “We are thrilled to have such a talented group of mobile innovators join AOL, especially given the rapid evolution of this space.”

Rally Up was founded in 2009 by a team of Santa Cruz, California based entrepreneurs and developers with the goal of providing consumers with best in class mobile applications. The Rally Up team has built two applications to date including Rally Up and FacePlant:

  • Rally Up, a Location Based Service that enabled users to combine private microblogging with location, allowing users to share text, photos and direct message each other
  • FacePlant, an application currently under review, that would enable users to see which of their friends are available to chat on the FaceTime application available on the iPhone 4

“We are excited to join the AOL team for the opportunity to work with great leaders like Brad and David and because we are impressed with AOL’s drive to innovate on mobile devices,” said Sol Lipman, CEO of Rally Up.

Additional information about AOL’s mobile offerings can be found at mobile.aol.com.

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