It was just last week that Betaworks announced it had acquired a majority stake in fan-favorite reading service Instapaper, and today on the Disrupt NY stage, betaworks CEO John Borthwick shed some new light on the process of striking a deal with Instapaper creator Marco Arment.
“I got an email from Marco which came in at 2AM, and he said that he was lying awake and trying to figure out how he could balance his priorities between the magazine, his family and Instapaper,” Borthwick noted.
Arment came to the conclusion that he wanted Instapaper to continue growing, but didn’t want to deal with the tremendous headaches involved with but managing a larger team or raising funding (and who can blame him?). The two men later ironed out the particulars of a deal that would see a revenue share agreement take effect. As Borthwick puts it, they both crafted the transaction with a set of principles in mind: to align Instapaper for the long term, and to give Arment input on Instapaper’s development without saddling him with too much responsbility there.
Now that Instapaper has been added to the flock, Betaworks is now a company that makes money — Borthwick noted that Instapaper has a phenomenally loyal and avid userbase, and that it makes roughly “$1 million a year after Apple’s take.” Here’s hoping that Instapaper eventually sees the same sort of growth that the revamped Digg (which Betaworks acquired back in July 2012) has — BuzzFeed’s Aswini Anburajan pointed out earlier this month that Digg’s referral traffic has surged something like 93% over the last 12 months. Betaworks may devote plenty of time and effort to nurturing nascent companies and crafting nifty little projects of its own (including a game that we be unveiled this week) but it’s apparently no slouch at taking existing properties and propelling them to new heights either.
You can see Borthwick’s full chat with TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis below: