Yahoo is set to acquire Hitpost, the maker of a handful of sports-centric mobile apps, to beef up its own sports offerings on iOS and Android, say sources familiar with the deal. The company’s team of seven or so is heading over to join Yahoo.
The company was co-founded by Aaron Krane who learned the science behind making social games at Slide. He wanted to marry that knowledge with products that appealed to sports fans. The idea was that there was an unexploited sweet spot in between freemium games like Zynga Poker and sports media. (We hear that Krane, who shifted into an executive chairman role from the CEO position, isn’t joining Yahoo. But Courtland Alves, who took over, is.)
Indeed, betting on sports is probably as old as sports are to human civilization. But an analogue to this behavior hadn’t really existed on mobile platforms.
So for the last two years, Hitpost has made a series of apps that support live discussions and polls on sports. They also supported virtual currency bets (not real-money gambling, though). The biggest one, SportsBet, appears to have between 1 and 5 million installs on Google Play.
In the app, players can make bets on who will win games, or which player might end up having more rebounds in basketball or strikeouts in baseball.
Their expertise in building these sports apps enticed investors like Floodgate’s Mike Maples, Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures and Quotidian Ventures to put in more than $2 million into the company.
So now Yahoo is pulling the team in to augment its own mobile sports offerings. This actually comes on top of another fantasy sports-related acquisition earlier this year, with Yahoo picking up a one-man sports app shop called Bignoggins. The company also unveiled a new sports app in the second quarter.
The company’s mobile acquisition strategy has been to pick up talent to bolster six or seven different core product areas like mail (Xobni), weather, Flickr, search (Qwiki), sports, news (Summly), and the main Yahoo! portal.