Ripple News acquires Hoodline, bringing two local news startups together

Ripple News has acquired Hoodline, a deal that combines two different approaches to covering local news.

Founded by former Viki CEO Razmig Hovaghimian, Ripple News launched earlier this year and taps community contributors for its coverage. Hoodline, meanwhile, has an editorial team (led by TechCrunch’s former co-editor Eric Eldon) taking advantage of local data to cover neighborhood news.

Hovaghimian described the deal as a way to strengthen Ripple News’s editorial operation — he said that when it came to neighborhood news, it made more sense to acquire the Hoodline team than compete with them: “Hoodline was just too good.”

Eldon (a longtime friend and frequent colleague of mine) will remain on-board as editor in chief, and he said the “bulk” of Hoodline’s editorial team will be making the transition to Ripple News.

Hoodline will also continue to operate as a separate website, and there are plans to expand beyond San Francisco, something that will become easier with elements of Ripple News’s more partnership- and community-driven approach. Hovaghimian said the goal is to find a more affordable way to cover individual neighborhoods while still having a local connection: “We don’t want someone sitting in Chicago [while] reporting on LA.”

“Content will come in many ways, through APIs, partners, original editorial,” he added. “What’s important, though, is agnostic of where the stories come from. We want to make sure it’s really good content that’s relevant for the user, and it bubbles up at the right time and the right place.”

Hovaghimian also said he’s interested in following the lead of Hoodline’s Neighborhood Kits, which package Hoodline stories and data for real estate agents. He’s planning to find distribution channels beyond the Hoodline and Ripple News websites and apps in order to “reach the audience wherever they are.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Hoodline raised a $1.6 million round last year, while Ripple News has raised $4 million in funding.)

Hoodline’s chief operating officer Jes Wolfe will become COO of the combined company, while Hoodline founder and CEO Andrew Dudley remains involved as an adviser. Chikai Ohazama, founder of Muxventures and previously a director of product management at Google, has also been named as an adviser.

Updated to reflect the correct name of the acquiring company from Ripple to Ripple News.