Personal profile startup About.me launched publicly, oh, all of four days ago. And, boom. Today AOL (our parent company), will announce that they’ve acquired the company. It will become part of the consumer applications group, led by AOL exec Brad Garlinghouse.
Making About.Me a sister company to TechCrunch.
Frankly I’m a little surprised by the acquisition.
Not because About.me isn’t a potentially fascinating product. They had 400,000 people sign up for the service during the short beta period that began in September. Despite the simplicity of the service there’s something compelling about it.
And not because it’s not a good fit. Cofounder and CEO Tony Conrad sold his last company, Sphere, to AOL as well. And Conrad was an investor in Oddpost, which Garlinghouse acquired earlier this decade to revamp Yahoo mail. AOL seems to be genuinely excited about getting the About.me team on board and finding ways to integrate it into their mail and instant messaging products.
But frankly it’s just too soon to take About.me off the market. Conrad has had multiple wins as an entrepreneur and is more than financially secure. and I’m surprised he didn’t wait to see this one through a bit.
Still, it’s a big win for employees and investors, including cofounders Tim Young and Ryan Freitas. About.me raised just $425,000 from investors including AOL Ventures and True Ventures. The size of the acquisition isn’t being disclosed but our guess is it’s in the tens of millions of dollars.
This is also the best news in world for competitor flavors.me, which has a similar product. Other buyers will likely be taking a long look at them shortly.
I had a chance to sit down with Conrad for a few minutes to talk about the deal. We’re long time friends, so excuse the mutual ribbing. And don’t miss the outtakes at the end where Conrad demands a bottle of Badoit (the cadillac of mineral waters, I guess), and complains when he gets generic Costco water. He also tells us the real price for About.me. Video is top of post.
Read Tony Conrad’s blog post on the acquisition here.