Amid Yahoo Turmoil, AOL Makes An Acquisition

On Monday AOL will announce the acquisition of San Diego-based Goowy, a startup founded in late 2004 and which launched, incidentally, in my living room in late 2006 (we had a TechCrunch party where Goowy, Meebo, Sphere and other startups launched). The size of the deal is not being disclosed.

Their first product was a Flash-based webtop or alternative operating system. But later they went into the widget space with their YourMinis product, and that is the reason AOL has acquired them.

AOL SVP of Social Media, Messaging and Homepages David Liu said this was a deal they’ve been considering for the last nine months, and that they plan to integrate Goowy’s technology into both user-facing AOL products (to widgetize them) as well as their Platform A advertising network. Expect Platform A to launch significant new advertising products in the widget space soon, Liu says.

This is a significant win for Goowy founder and CEO Alex Bard, who has run a tight operation over the years. The company has just six employees and raised a single round of financing from Mark Cuban in April 2006 (the size of that round remains undisclosed, but it was almost certainly under $1 million). He says the Goowy team will remain in San Diego for at least the short term.

Goowy competes with a number of startups in the widget advertising space, including Widgetbox, ClearSpring and Gigya. VideoEgg, Slide and RockYou also compete in this area.

AOL has been busy acquiring promising young startups – they bought Israel-based Yedda last November as well.