Which is great because the Rakuten-owned shopping startup Slice has acquired Unroll.me, a startup that made its name by promising to free your email inbox from pesky email subscriptions.
The acquisition makes a lot of sense from a product point of view. Slice, which Rakuten acquired this past summer, helps shoppers keep track of their orders, packages, discounts, and so on. It does all that by pulling up and analyzing shopping receipts from your email.
Unroll.me is also in the email business. When it appeared on the scene in 2011, it promised to clear your inbox of all those email newsletters and promotional emails that clutter it up. The service now has 1.3 million users, according to cofounder and chief executive Josh Rosenwald.
The two teams have been in contact for quite a while — Rosenwald originally approached Slice to talk about a partnership. Over the years, he says, the teams stayed close. Eventually, Unroll.me came to a crossroads: remaining an independent startup or joining another company.
“When you stay independent, there’s a lot of stuff you have to focus on” in terms of staying afloat, Rosenwald said in an interview with VentureBeat.
Joining Slice means that Unroll.me’s team will be able to return its focus to its product and users, leaving the business operations to Slice. It will also be less focused on revenue for a while, though in the long term, Rosenwald believes there is definitely an opportunity to monetize Unroll.me well.
In terms of product, the two startups will mostly remain separate, with Unroll.me’s team staying in New York, although the teams will undoubtedly look to integrate some of each other’s features in the future.
Unroll.me is also planning on releasing a mobile app, something the team has wanted to do for a long time. The app should be out in the first half of 2015, if not earlier — although Rosenwald didn’t want to commit to a firm timeline just yet.
Rosenwald declined to disclose terms of the deal, but he did say the price tag was enough to keep his investors and employees “happy.” VentureBeat has learned that the deal was in the “tens of millions,” according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
Unroll.me was founded in 2011 by Josh Rosenwald, Jojo Hedaya, and Perri Gorman, although Perri is no longer involved with the company. It is based in New York City and raised an undisclosed amount amount of funding in early 2012.