Pretty art screen startup Meural gets acquired by ugly wifi router company

The startup behind the Meural art frame has been acquired by Netgear. The deal was announced during the router company’s analyst day and was confirmed to TechCrunch by a Meural spokesperson. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Netgear may feel like an odd suitor for this consumer hardware startup, but they were an early investor in them and the buy is certainly no more strange than the last exit in this smart art space, when Giphy bought Electric Objects, torched the hardware business and made the subscription content free to existing users.

Meural has built some very nice hardware. At $595 the company’s art frames are a bit pricier than other products in the market, though its $40 annual subscription to its art network is much more palatable. The device’s gesture controls also offer some quality controls beyond the mobile app.

Netgear seems to have some real interest in bringing the Meural hardware into its plans to hide wifi routers in plain sight in people’s homes, an analyst at the event noted in Forbes.

It’s certainly an interesting prospect, this seems like an odd product to exercise this strategy with though. Smart art frames are at their ugliest when the power cord can’t be hidden and it’s probably going to be a tad difficult for you to hide ethernet cords on your wall unless you’re hiding them in the wall which doesn’t work great when so many smart home hubs need a direct connection to your router.

Meural raised $9.3 million in funding from investors including Corigin Ventures, Bolt, Forefront Ventures, Firstrock Capital and Netgear.