Yahoo acquires social media visualization startup Vizify

vizify122Vizify, a Portland-based startup that turns your social media chatter into visualizations, today was acquired by Yahoo.

Founded by Todd Silverstein, Jeff Cutler-Stamm, and Eli Tucker in 2011, Vizify is all about helping individuals make great first impressions. It does this by sucking in information that people already share online on social networking sites, and turning that data into easy-to-consume visualizations. Users can also create their own domains and access back-end analytics.

As a result of the acquisition, Vizify will be shutting down its service and will no longer be accepting new users as of Wednesday.

Vizify CEO and co-founder Todd Silverstein

Vizify CEO and co-founder Todd Silverstein

“Since last summer, we’ve been engaged in a conversation with some of the incredible folks at Yahoo about the ways this more visual approach to data can inspire and entertain,” the company wrote today. “As our conversations progressed, we realized we’d found a partner who shared our passion for user experience, design, and visualizing information. Ultimately, we just couldn’t say no to the opportunity to bring our vision to the hundreds of millions of people who use Yahoo every day.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company said it is “excited to bring a more visual approach to data at Yahoo.”

Vizify is unique because it participated in both the Portland Seed Fund and TechStars Seattle incubation programs. Today’s deal marks the third Techstars Seattle grad to be acquired; others include companies like GoMiles (bought by Traxo in 2012) and Thinkfuse (acquired by Salesforce in 2012).

Vizify offers users social media analytics.

Vizify offers users social media analytics.

Vizify, which previously teamed up with Twitter for a few partnerships, had raised $1.2 million in 2012 from a number of leading Seattle area angel investors. Participants included Voyager Capital’s Bill McAleer, BigDoor chief design officer Matt Shobe, Seattle super angels Geoff Entress and Bill Bryant, former Qpass CEO Chase Franklin, venture capitalist Tim Draper and Picnik co-founder Jonathan Sposato. (Editor’s note: Sposato also is an investor in GeekWire).

This marks the 37th acquisition for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s since the 38-year-old took over in July of 2012, most of which have been small companies in the social, gaming and content spaces. This is Yahoo’s eighth acquisition of 2014.

Wednesday’s deal is also the second acquisition of a Portland company this year. Online banking startup Simple was swooped up by Spanish banking giant BBVA last month in a deal valued at $117 million.

Existing premium Vizify users will be refunded for what anything they’ve paid to the company. More details about what’s happening to Vizify accounts can be found here.

Update, 10:35 a.m PT:

The five-person team at Vizify will join Yahoo’s media product organization in San Francisco. A Yahoo spokesperson wouldn’t divulge many more details, only saying that “we have found in Vizify a company that shares our passion for visualization technology and the user experience.”

  • 2ndPlacetotheValley

    Great, another acquihire. Investors are getting hosed. When the product is shutdown it means the startup wasn’t viable as a business. Too many of these startups are forgetting to build businesses not just features.

    • balls187

      >Investors are getting hosed

      Do you have information that the rest of us don’t?

    • guest

      The investors did not, as you say, “Get hosed” in this transaction. Nor did the founders.

      Perhaps you should try it yourself (building a business) rather than throwing uninformed, anonymous commentary from the sidelines.

      • peanutgallery12

        Guest criticizes other anonymous commenter for anonymous commenting. Oh the hypocrisy. I love you internet.

    • http://adamlieb.me/ Adam Lieb

      Investors I have seen talking about the deal seemed pleased with acquisition. It doesn’t mean they made 10x their investment, but it means they probably didn’t get “hosed.”

  • Thomas R.

    It’s a stretch to say that investors got “hosed” on this deal without knowing the specifics. There are several factors that could influence how much a startup sells for:

    Talent: How good is the team and what value will they add? The going rate at least for negotiations is somewhere between $100-250k per engineer and $50-100k per non-engineer. Talent is hard to come by and sometimes it’s easier just to acquhire than headhunt.

    Technology: Businesses that buy startups make a simple cost/benefit calculation when it comes to IP or proprietary technology. Can we build this? How much would it cost? How long would it take?

    Business: Is the company still growing and how much is it making? Will we shutdown the business or keep it operating?

    The Board: Does the board want to sell the company or keep it operating. Sometimes investors can push founders to sell or help them stay independent and raise another round.

    Other Interested Parties: Is anyone else interested in buying this startup? This can raise the price substantially. (Whatsapp, $19B from FB, $12B offer from GOOG)

    There are probably several other factors I’m forgetting but these are the major ones. And unless you know the details of the terms, which is doubtful given that most acquisitions have strict confidentiality clauses, it would be difficult to judge the outcome of an acquisition.

  • AcquihireNotSuccess

    Per a comment elsewhere on the web:

    “There’s a difference between celebrating an profitable 9-digit acquisition and celebrating a mercy buyout from a company fond of mercy buyouts. (per TechCrunch, Vizify’s last raise was about $1.5M in its life with the last raise in 2012, and it’s likely that their options were raise more money, get acquired, or die.)”