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Decide's CEO Mike Fridgen taps power of data to change how we shop.
Decide’s CEO Mike Fridgen taps power of data to change how we shop.

eBay is buying Seattle startup Decide.com, gobbling up the online shopping research service that predicted whether prices were going up or down on consumer electronics, housewares and other products.

As part of the deal, the Decide.com service will shut down on Sept. 30.

Terms are not being disclosed, but CEO Mike Fridgen tells GeekWire that it is “positive” outcome for investors and employees.

“There are 25 million sellers on the eBay platform, and we are going to empower them like never before with tools and help them make smarter decisions around pricing, and formats and other things” said Fridgen.

All 26 staffers from Decide.com will join eBay’s growing Bellevue office. eBay, which is officially opening the Bellevue office today under the direction of Microsoft vet Ken Moss, now has more than 200 people in the Seattle area.

Fridgen, who previously worked at Farecast and Alaska Airlines, will remain at eBay as general manager of seller insights. Decide.com co-founder Oren Etzioni will not join eBay. Just this week, Etzioni, a former professor of computer science at the University of Washington, joined a new artificial intelligence institute bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The Decide team will be joining eBay in Bellevue
The Decide team will be joining eBay in Bellevue

eBay CTO Mark Carges tells GeekWire that they will use the “tech and talent” from Decide.com to improve how sellers glean insights from data flowing through the marketplace.

“What got us excited as we were doing these pilots (with Decide) is: ‘Gee, if we could give a seller — based on all of the past historical data that we have about what sold, how did it sell, what didn’t sell, what the different conditions were in which buyers were buying it — if we could give those insights to sellers to help them when they bring their inventory onto eBay, that’s going to help the sellers, and ultimately it is going to put the right type of prices and the the right type of listings in front of buyers,” Carges said.

Decide.com raised $17 million in funding from Maveron, Madrona and Vulcan, including an $8 million round earlier this year. Fridgen declined to comment when asked whether the company sold for more than $17 million.

Here’s the full blog post that Decide.com posted this morning.

Fridgen_BioWorldwide commerce leader eBay Inc. reported Friday it has acquired Seattle-based price research firm Decide.com, which specializes in helping consumers find the best times to buy products based on billions of data points from across the web. Financial terms were not disclosed.Decide.com’s employees, including Chief Executive Mike Fridgen, will join eBay’s new Seattle-area office, while co-founder Oren Etzioni has just taken on a new role as the Executive Director of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He will not be part of the new team at eBay.

“Technology innovation – and the engineers behind it – are critical to eBay’s mission of connecting buyers and sellers to the things they need and love,” said Mark Carges, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Products, Marketplaces. “Our vision is only as strong as the people behind our platform, so we are always looking to bring strong technologists into our company, especially those who are passionate about data and e-commerce and have developed products at web scale, into our organization.”Immediate goals for Decide.com’s software developers and data scientists will include helping eBay build an improved pricing tool that helps sellers better price their merchandise and sell items faster, and leveraging their analytical skills to produce more detailed insights, intelligence and price guidance to sellers – information that will ultimately help sellers better compete, regardless of changing market dynamics.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring Decide’s expertise in data and predictive analytics to the worldwide commerce leader and empower over 25 million eBay sellers,” said Mike Fridgen, CEO of Decide.com. “We believe teaming up with eBay allows us to realize our mission of leveling the playing field in commerce.”The deal is the latest in a stream of targeted acquisitions for eBay, which has been actively growing its portfolio of technology in new and emerging frontiers of e-commerce, such as Social (Hunch), Local (Milo), Mobile (RedLaser) and now price forecasting (Decide.com).

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