Mobile shopping startup Wish — fresh off a $500 million round of funding — has made its first acquisition. The company has acquired Locket, a startup that makes lockscreen apps for Android handsets: an eponymous app that serves tailored news to your lockscreen; and lockscreen messaging app ScreenPop.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. From what we understand there could have been others who had approached Locket, including Facebook and Yahoo.
(Yes, both of them have already made acquisitions in the area of lockscreen apps, respectively Cover and Aviate. “I guess you could say they were looking to double down on the space,” our source says.)
Locket had raised around $3.2 million. Investors included Great Oaks, Turner Broadcasting and Tyra Banks.
Yunha Kim, right, one of Locket’s co-founders, will be joining Wish as head of growth. There were seven people working at Locket, including the two other co-founders Kaushik Pendurthi and Paul Jang. It’s still being decided who else on the team will be coming over.
The fate of Locket’s apps, however, is a bit more certain: Kim says that both Locket and ScreenPop will remain and get integrated into Wish’s bigger business in two ways.
First, starting next week, items sold on the Wish app and the other apps in its portfolio — Geek (gadgets), Mama (parenting), Cute (beauty) and ScreamPrice (bargain deals) — will be injected into Locket and ScreenPop.
This won’t be the first time content in Locket’s apps gets interspersed with a little marketing and promotion.
When Kim left her job as an investment banker to co-found Locket because she didn’t like the look of her plain blue screen on her Samsung Galaxy phone, the app was significantly more commercially focused. It actually started out mixing its content with ads: If you swiped right to interact with the ad, you earned a little bit of money. If you swiped left, you unlocked your phone.
Second, some of the technology, design and native content that Locket has been working on will start to get integrated into Wish and its other shopping apps.
“There are things we built at Locket that will benefit some of the apps that Wish has,” Kim said in an interview. “If you think about it, Locket’s content recommendation is not unlike what Wish does when it recommends products.” She added that Wish is a very data scientist-heavy organization, mostly focused on data and the platform’s recommendation engine. Locket’s focus on user experience and the lockscreen should be a good complement to that.
Wish, which was founded in 2011, has seen a lot of success in its mobile-first approach to shopping. Today the company has 100 million users, who on average spend around 30 minutes on the site.
Like Amazon, eBay and other large e-commerce portals, Wish positions itself as a marketplace platform, where different merchants sell goods alongside each other. Wish is different from the rest of the pack because it is built with mobile browsing in mind. For example, scrolling through items is quick and easy, and Wish puts extra emphasis on recommendation so that it can present a smaller but hopefully more relevant list of items to match what you are looking for.
The other way Wish is different is that it has a strong emphasis on interest verticals — for example by having individual apps for specific categories and demographics.
It’s been a winning enough formula that the company has also attracted the attention of investors. In June, we reported that Wish had raised a $500 million round at a $3 billion valuation, with the investment led by DST. The company has never officially confirmed this number. Earlier backers include Jerry Yang, Founders Fund, Jared Let, Formation 8 and several others).
This would give the company, which has raised nearly $580 million to date, a warchest to invest in future development.
“Locket is the first acquisition, but we have huge plans,” said Kim.
Update: We’re removing the price we’d published as there is some dispute about it now.