Deals

Can you buy good Karma? Facebook just did

Buying its way into social commerce, Facebook has acquired mobile gifting app Karma for an undisclosed sum.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force,” the Karma team announced in a blog post late Friday.

San Francisco-based Karma offers an intelligent way to get ideas and send gifts to friends and family members. It pulls in data from Facebook to determine demographic information and recommend the most appropriate gifts for your loved ones.

The service, launched in February on iPhone and Android, is just months old, meaning that something about the company’s gifting technology or mobile appeal really hit a nerve with Facebook.

VentureBeat writer Jolie O’Dell was thoroughly impressed with Karma when she covered the company’s recent launch. “The design of the app itself is masterful; it’s a joy to look at and a pleasure to use,” she wrote. “But more important than the façade is the architecture of the content. Each gift you’ll find on Karma was hand-selected, tested by curators, and photographed and reviewed by the Karma team.”

Of course, the acquisition underscores Facebook’s dire need to monetize its 488 million monthly active users on mobile. The apps, which come with baked-in money-making potential, could provide the social network with an important new revenue stream.

“We’ve been really impressed with the Karma team and all they accomplished in such a short time,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “This acquisition combines Karma’s passion and innovative mobile app with Facebook’s platform to help people connect and share in new and meaningful ways.”

Before being acquired by Facebook, Karma raised $4.5 million in funding from firms and Angels, including Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Twitter founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams’ Obvious Fund.

The deal closed Friday and was announced after market close on Facebook’s first day of trading.

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