updated 10:08 am EDT, Tue July 17, 2012
New acquisition expected to stay mostly independent
Socialcam has been bought out by Autodesk in a deal worth about $60 million, reports All Things Digital. The arrangement should be finalized within the next 30 days. Rumors of Socialcam's acquisition have been circulating for months, and other potential buyers are said to have included Google and Zynga.
Socialcam is an extremely small firm with just four people, helmed by Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel, who spun it off as a separate entity not long after it began as a mobile project within Justin. The Socialcam app is, however, now the top application on Facebook, with about 3.7 million active users daily, and about 56 million per month, although numbers have been declining since the start of July. Much of this success can be attributed to featuring popular YouTube content; people sharing videos on Facebook will often be sharing the Socialcam versions, requiring other people to install the Socialcam app to view them. Seibel defends the company's policies as within the API rules established by Facebook and YouTube, companies he says his own firm are in regular contact with. Behind the Facebook app is a video app for iPhone and Android, similar in scope to Facebook's own recently-acquired Instagram.
Regarding the Autodesk buyout, Seibel explains that "Partnering with a bigger company allows us to address the long-term opportunity and gets us out of minute-by-minute startup roller coaster." He expects his firm to stay mostly independent, like other recent Autodesk buyouts Instructables and Pixlr. Autodesk's interest in Socialcam is likely another attempt to branch out from its roots in professional CAD and visual effects software; Pixlr, for instance, is responsible for the Instagram rival Pixlr-o-matic.