It only seemed like a matter of time before someone big swooped up PaperKarma, the popular junk mail eliminator app.
And that’s happened today. Reputation.com, a leading provider of online reputation products and services, has acquired PaperKarma, the Seattle startup that allows recipients of junk mail to snap a photo of the worthless offer, catalog or flyer, and, in a few simple clicks, unsubscribe from the distributor’s list.
Redwood City-based Reputation would not disclose financial terms of the acquisition. PaperKarma co-founder and CTO Brendan Ribera is now part of the Reputation team, while co-founder and CEO Sean Mortazavi will be a consultant and continue working full-time at Microsoft.
PaperKarma debuted in February 2012 and picked up traction immediately as Ribera and Mortazavi struggled to keep up with demand. We were impressed with the simplicity of the app and so were many of our readers who made the PaperKarma story one of the most popular on GeekWire.
Mortazavi told us that he came up with the idea after speaking to Seattle entrepreneur Hadi Partovi, an adviser to the company and avid junk mail foe. Prior to PaperKarma, Partovi collected names in an Excel spreadsheet of advertisers that sent him junk mail. The former Microsoft and iLike exec would then spend hours calling each company one-by-one asking to be removed from the lists.
“The idea popped into my head that perhaps we could make this process less painful by enabling people to just snap pics of their junk mail and have someone take care of the rest of it,” said Mortazavi, adding that the environmental aspect of the idea really resonated with a lot of people.
The company hit a major milestone late last year when Apple named PaperKarma to the prestigious lineup of “disruptive services” alongside well known names such as Airbnb, Uber, Square Wallet, TaskRabbit and Hotel Tonight.
Reputation’s Lesile Hobbs told us that the recognition from Apple, along with the app’s traction, made PaperKarma very attractive.
“It has an incredibly enthusiastic following and a great team,” Hobbs said. “It also aligns with our privacy advocacy as a company.”
“Like PaperKarma, Reputation.com does not sell, rent, share or trade your personal data to third parties,” the co-founders wrote in an email to users. “Our two teams believe strongly in obtaining your explicit consent, versus relying on a hard-to-read terms of service document.”
Founded in 2006, Reputation has more than one million customers in more than 100 countries. The 160-person company has raised $63 million in VC funding from August Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Jafco Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. This is the company’s second acquisition.
Previously on GeekWire: Junk mail eliminator PaperKarma processes more than 1M requests, named one of Apple’s top apps