SimpleHoney Acquired By Payment Startup OpenCoin

SimpleHoney, a startup co-founded by Joyce Kim (who was previously CEO of and co-host of the GigaOm show) and Eric Nakagawa (creator of the I Can Has Cheezburger blog), just announced that it’s being acquired by payment company OpenCoin.

That’s the company developing Ripple, an open source payment protocol. In her blog post announcing the news, Kim describes the excitement around new payment options, especially the virtual currency Bitcoin, as “one of the fastest growing movements in tech,” and when SimpleHoney had a chance to join that movement, it couldn’t refuse. She continues:

During our initial conversations with the creators of Ripple, we were impressed by their vision for creating a new payment system that gives consumers freedom and independence. As longtime fans of Bitcoin, my co-founder (a casual miner) and I had ideas of how Bitcoin and other virtual currencies could be easier for normal folks to use. Soon, Chris [Larsen] and Jed [McCaleb], who were looking for a strong consumer-focused team, proposed we join them and roll up our sleeves to start working on the root problem facing consumers in every vertical, from travel to ecommerce.

When Kim emailed me to tell me about the deal, she also said that Ripple isn’t a Bitcoin competitor, but rather “a complementary service that allows for easier conversion and spending of Bitcoin into any other currency.”

SimpleHoney launched in May of last year as a website that recommended hotels based on the user’s personality, then it shifted focus to an easy-to-use wish list app called I Want Wish List. The app, Kim said, “is separate from the deal but we will continue to operate it since it is self-sufficient.”

The four-person SimpleHoney team will be joining the 12-person Ripple team, Kim said. The financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.

SimpleHoney had raised a seed round from Socialcast and co-founder Tim Young, Mochi Media co-founders Jameson Hsu and Bob Ippolito, former Middleware Company CEO Ed Roman, Causecast founder Ryan Scott, and 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, Nakagawa, and Kim.