Yahoo Buys Justin Bieber-Backed Start-Up

By Abby Ellin

Oct 29, 2012 7:28am
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                                                                   Image credit: marissamayer/Instagram

New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has given a Justin-Bieber backed company her stamp of approval. In fact, Mayer liked it so much, she bought it—her very first acquisition since taking the reins in July.

Yahoo purchased the mobile-app Stamped, which was founded in 2011 and is based in New York, for about $10 million.

The purchase jibes with Mayer’s stated goal during the company’s third-quarter earnings call of becoming “a predominantly mobile company.”

“At some point at least half our technical workforce should be working on mobile,” she said.

Mayer verified the acquisition on Twitter with an Instagram photo from Stamped headquarters. “Got to visit our new acquisition, Stamped, this morning — happy to be reunited with Robby (@rmstein) and his team,” Mayer tweeted.

Stamped—which is backed by a gaggle of celebrity investors, including Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Seacrest and Justin Bieber, along with Bain Capital Ventures, Columbia Records, Google Ventures, and The New York Times Company–lets users keep track of and recommend things like restaurants, books and music to friends online.  Its app was first launched last November.

As it happens, The Bieb is a savvy tech investor, and Stamped isn’t his first investment.  According to Forbes, the young mogul has holdings in Tinychat,  Sojo Studios and Spotify,  as well as Stamped.

Five of Stamped’s nine-person team once worked at Google: Co-founder  Robby Stein, was a project manager under Mayer, and co-founder Bart Stein once worked at Google Creative Lab.

In a statement about the acquisition, Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of emerging products and technology, noted that mobile is becoming one of the company’s “most important priorities” and that it is “accelerating our efforts to build a world-class team of mobile engineers, product managers and designers.”

Stamped founders said that the start-up will be creating “a new product and engineering office for Yahoo in NYC’s Bryant Park,” but declined to specify what it is.

Stamped’s iPhone and web app will both be discontinued by the end of the year.

ABC News has a content-sharing partnership with Yahoo.


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