Coinbase Acquires YC-Backed Kippt To Beef Up Its Product, Design Talent

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Coinbase, one of the biggest Bitcoin consumer wallets and merchant processing platforms in the world, just acquired Kippt, a two-person YC-backed startup that had been working on a platform to share and store content.

Both companies, which came out of Y Combinator, had been collaborating informally for a long time. On the side, Kippt’s main designer Karri Saarinen had been doing a lot of work on Coinbase’s branding and visual look. Kippt’s other co-founder Jori Lallo also had worked on a Coinbase app gallery as the company builds out a Bitcoin-centric app platform with hundreds of developers.

This deal, done with a combination of cash and stock, is clearly one for talent. It shows that while many Y Combinator companies understandably don’t pan out, founders and engineers who go through the program have many soft landing opportunities elsewhere. Kippt is Coinbase’s first acquisition after raising more than $30 million in venture funding from firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

Kippt originally was a consumer tool where users could intelligently bookmark and share links, and then they pivoted toward being more of an enterprise-centric tool called Inc that was comparable to Yammer or Convo. It ended up being used by companies like Teehan+Lax, Betaworks and Swiggle.

“Although our service has been loved by many, we never achieved the growth and the scale that would allow a sustainable future for Kippt,” Lallo and Saarinen wrote in a blog post. “Building personal knowledge online continues to be a challenging and ambitious problem.”

The pair said they’ll keep the free versions of Kippt and Inc running as a side project, but the pro versions will get discontinued.