Looks like Science Inc. is getting more serious about mobile development — the startup studio is announcing that it has acquired an eight-person company based in Yerevan, Armenia called Inlight.
That company developed the iOS app of the same name, a social newsreading service targeting women. Science CEO Mike Jones and Chief Business Officer Peter Pham (pictured above at TechCrunch Disrupt) both told me that while the firm will continue to support the app, the real purpose of the acquisition was hiring a mobile development team to support Science companies.
That gets at one of the reasons that the firm calls itself a studio, rather than another incubator or accelerator. It doesn’t just fund and mentor companies, but also employs a team that can build products and provide other services to its companies (it invests in some of those companies and owns others outright). At this point, Pham said Science has built “a code base to launch e-commerce companies,” so that, for example, any Science company in that area can launch “with all the analytics and optimization pieces built in.”
And even though the firm is headquartered in Santa Monica, it has a development team in India, too. What’s been lacking, Jones said, is a team that’s specifically focused on mobile.
“Part of my belief on mobile is that we need to take a lot of bets very quickly,” he said. “And the belief was that in order to do that we really needed a best of breed, fast development team.”
Pham added that having the team in place could help Science “experiment more with just pure social products,” an area that hasn’t been a big focus yet (despite Jones’ experience as a former CEO of Myspace). He said it would also be useful for Science companies that are “maybe not a core mobile company” — they need to build a mobile app but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to employ a mobile developer full time.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.