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pinterestPinterest, the fast-growing social networking startup that raised a $200 million funding round last month at a reported $2.5 billion valuation, just gobbled up tiny Seattle startup Livestar for an undisclosed price.

What’s interesting is that many are already labeling the deal an “acqui-hire” — meaning Pinterest was more interested in the people than the technology. But don’t get your hopes up that the deal will lead to yet another engineering office in Seattle from a Silicon Valley giant — following the paths of Facebook, eBay, Splunk, and Google.

A Pinterest spokesperson tells us that the three-person engineering team at Livestar will be joining the social networking powerhouse in San Francisco.

Fritz Lanman
Fritz Lanman

“We don’t have any plans for an office in Seattle at this time,” said Pinterest spokeswoman Annie Ta. “We think the Livestar team is a natural fit for Pinterest because of their commitment to inspiring people to do things in their everyday lives through social and expert recommendations.”

Livestar CEO and founder Fritz Lanman — a former Microsoft employee and active angel investor in companies such as Square, Getaround and Pinterest — will not be joining the team in San Francisco. But he will continue to advise Pinterest, and plans to be involved in startups as an investor. According to Pinterest’s Ta, he “will be undertaking a new, yet to be announced project.”

We have an email into Lanman, who helped lead Microsoft’s blockbuster and controversial investment in Facebook a few years ago, to find out more about what he’s doing. Livestar’s backers included Mike Slade of Second Avenue Partners; former Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie; Seattle entrepreneur Hadi Partovi, and others. 

In the meantime, here’s the note that Livestar sent out to its community today announcing that the service will be shut down:

Our goal at Livestar is to help people find great recommendations from friends, critics and strangers with similar taste. Over the last two years, the Livestar community has shared millions of ratings and reviews. Today we wanted to let you know that we’ll be making our next move: the Livestar engineering team will be joining Pinterest.

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s an online tool that helps people discover things they love and inspires them to do these things in their everyday lives. We think this is aligned with what we’re doing here at Livestar. While we are excited to join Pinterest, we are sad to also announce that Livestar will be shutting down immediately.

We are so thankful to all of you. We hope you discovered great recommendations and enjoyed sharing your own experiences with your friends and others. We have put all your reviews in the attached spreadsheet so that you can take them with you.

Thanks again for your support and contributions to Livestar. We will miss Livestar dearly, and we will especially miss reading all of your great reviews. We hope to see you on Pinterest soon!

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