Why Polyvore’s Jess Lee Sold To Yahoo

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Yahoo bought Polyvore in what we’ve heard could be anywhere from a $25 million* to $60 million** deal today. Both Polyvore and Yahoo were mum on those details, but Polyvore co-founder Jess Lee did tell TechCrunch her company will continue to do the same thing as it’s been doing before – now on a larger scale and with more resources from the tech giant run by Marissa Mayer.

“We also think there’s a lot of exciting opportunities to integrate and combine forces with the digital magazines, such as Yahoo Style and Yahoo Beauty,” Lee said.

Polyvore will remain a standalone product, according to Lee, but she will now report to Yahoo SVP of publisher products Simon Khalaf, who reiterated the community integration aspect of the deal.

“Every time we’ve seen an integrated community we’ve seen magical things happen,” Khalaf said. “We’ve seen it in Yahoo Sports, we’ve seen it in Yahoo Finance and we definitely see that in Polyvore and the great product that the Polyvore team has built.”

By partnering with Yahoo we can roll out our ad platform across the Yahoo network by integrating with Yahoo Gemini.
— Jess Lee, Polyvore
Mayer played a big part in the deal, according to Khalaf and Lee. However, Khalaf emphasized that it was the blending of community and commerce opportunities on Polyvore that drove the acquisition. “That’s what drove us to consider this and get it approved and talk to the Polyvore team who definitely reciprocated,” he said.

This also gives Polyvore another avenue to monetize. “By partnering with Yahoo we can roll out our ad platform across the Yahoo network by integrating with Yahoo Gemini,” Lee said.

Polyvore has partnered with Yahoo on a few other projects, and Lee told TechCrunch talks of the deal started from there. We should also note that three ex-Yahoo engineers — Jianing Hu, Guangwei Yuan and Pasha Sadri — started Polyvore back in 2007.

When asked why this was the time to sell, Lee said it was “the right time and the right amount” and that she was “very, very happy with the outcome.”

*A tip sent to us after we published suggested the deal was closer to $25 million. Another source told us the deal was for $25 million in cash, $20 million in RSU’s to employees and a $15 million tranche set aside for senior execs.

**According to other outlets the purchase price was anywhere from $200 million to $230 million.

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