We’ve heard a rumor that Shutterfly, the photo and personal publishing company founded in 1999, is set to acquire online photo sharing and storage startup ThisLife. We’re hearing the acquisition price is around $25 million.
The service was founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife team Matt and Andrea Johnson. While there is no shortage of cloud-based photo storage apps (including Shutterfly), ThisLife’s interface is pretty slick compared to some of the dinosaurs in the space.
The startup had previously raised $2.75 million in funding led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Morado Ventures, Rogers Venture Partners, Animoto co-founder Brad Jefferson, Isilon co-founder Sujal Patel, and YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse.
ThisLife lets you import your photos from most of the popular online photo-sharing sites (Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Shutterfly, Flickr, Twitter and SmugMug), but it also comes with a desktop uploader (Mac and Windows) for transferring your iPhoto galleries and uploading folders or individual files. If you decide to connect your account to other online photo services, ThisLife will also regularly import your images from there to make sure they are stored in a safe spot.
Once uploaded, the service displays your images, which are shareable, on a timeline that scrolls horizontally. Other compelling features of the service are an algorithm that always gives preference to the file with the highest resolution, as well as a facial-recognition tool that makes it easier to tag people in your photos (and that can get names and other data from your Facebook account if you connect the two). And the company’s pricing is relatively inexpensive.
Shutterfly may be interested in the the company’s algorithm, and engineering and product talent. The company has been making acquisitions left and right, most recently buying Penguin Digital. Shutterfly picked up online stationery company Tiny Prints; bought Nexco, which became Shutterfly share sites (private photo-sharing networks); and acquired Photoccino, which had developed 29 algorithms for sorting through photos. Earlier this year, the company announced the acquisition of bankrupt-ridden Kodak’s online photo-sharing platform for $23.8 million.
Shutterfly declined to comment on this report.