updated 11:39 am EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Creators of Potluck iOS app rumored to be bought for $15M
Facebook has acquired a social networking startup backed by the creators of Twitter. The nine-person team behind Branch Media, creators of the Branch conversation service and the iOS link-sharing app Potluck, has confirmed the acquisition and will form a new Facebook Conversations group, though the entire team will remain in New York City instead of relocating to Facebook's headquarters in California.
Josh Miller, CEO of Branch, made the confirmation in a Facebook post earlier today, with sources of The Verge suggesting the purchase price to be around $15 million. According to Miller, the social network's pitch to the startup was an offer to "build Branch at Facebook scale," and though the company has taken up the offer, the existing Branch and Potluck services will continue to operate outside of Facebook.
Branch allows users to highlight sections of websites and to start a conversation with other people, adding more by invitations over Twitter and e-mail, as well as embedding the conversation itself on web pages. Potluck is an app that provides images and links to items online, allowing users to share stories with other users and to converse over what is shown. Considering the two services, the new Facebook Conversations group could help Facebook improve its existing conversation system, as well as working on alternative ways for users to talk to each other on Facebook in ways not currently offered through the website nor its apps.
The company raised $2 million in investment from a number of investors, including some funding from Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Obvious Corp, Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, and SV Angel.