It’s Rumor Sunday!® again here at TechCrunch. We have been hearing a recurring report, from a couple of different sources, that Apple has been interested in buying Snapguide — the web and mobile app that lets people create and share do-it-yourself guides for things like crafty holiday gifts, cooking, and teaching your dog to play the piano.
Before we go any further with the details, we should let you know that Daniel Raffel, the co-founder of Snapguide, has been very clear that the startup, which has to date raised $7 million from a mix of VCs and angel investors — including Index Ventures, Atlas Venture, CrunchFund, SV Angel and Dave Morin — is not engaged in any formal negotiations with Apple.
“Snapguide has not been acquired by, nor is in acquisition conversations with, Apple,” he said. “While we have a ton of respect for Apple, and love developing products on iOS, it would be inaccurate to imply that either an acquisition or M&A conversation has occurred (or is occurring). We’re excited about the company that we’re building, the opportunity in front of us and are looking forward to the release of a major product update in the near future.”
But! (There’s always a But.) Here are the various tips that we have heard and what we’d like to share with you, dear readers. We can’t confirm whether any of it is true. We’re laying it out here:
- Apple has approached the company for a sale. The price we’ve heard was around $45 million.
- It’s not the first company to court Snapguide, whose list of suitors includes some major players.
- Apple has done due diligence on both Raffel and his co-founder, Steve Krulewitz.
- Raffel was recently seen having dinner with Apple VP of Industrial Design Jony Ive.
All juicy (and somewhat spurious) tidbits sure, but, based on Raffel’s comment above, it appears that whatever is happening between the two companies isn’t a directed M&A conversation. So why would a rumor about Apple and Snapguide arise in the first place? The reason may be as simple as Snapguide is itself.
Remember iAd? Apple’s rich-media mobile advertising network is one example of how Apple is interested in building out and further monetizing its mobile platform, and making it a more sticky place for brands.
Snapguide, a beautifully made (and slightly addictive) place to check out bursts of useful/aspirational information, has a lot of potential as a place for brands to market themselves with more active how-to content rather than simple, static ads. A little like micro-versions of apps that some brands like to make.
We could easily see Snapguide as a brand-extending platform for the likes of Conde Nast and Martha Stewart. Snapguide was even referred to as “the Martha Stewart of the digital age” on Quora once.
There is also the fact that Apple has been gradually adding more functionality to its platform to give people more ways of using their phones. (Think Passbook, or iBooks, or Newsstand on top of the biggest one of them all, the App Store.) Something like Snapguide could be one more fun and practical way to use an iPhone or iPad.
We have reached out to Apple for comment and will update if we hear anything back from them.