We’re a bit intrigued by the buzz surrounding the online start-up Meetroduction, which lets you find your instant messaging buddies who are in geographic proximity.
Today comes news that Meetro has moved to Palo Alto from Chicago, and plans to finish raising a first round of venture capital between $3 million and $5 million in the first quarter — but a smidgeon of caution is warranted when reading the news surrounding this company.
First, the news suggests this will be quick round: “We just started looking a few weeks ago and things are moving quickly,” said Chief Executive Paul Bragiel, as quoted by VentureWire this morning (subscription required) in a story about the company’s plans.
Meetroduction’s downloadable software application, which is free to users, connects people as close as a quarter mile apart.
And yet this is the same company that InternetNews.com said Aug. 8 was going to be acquired by the big Mountain View search company — and not only that, but just four days after Meetroduction launched its…
…”Meetro” product for the first time. Red hot, must be, right?
Google is expected to announce the acquisition of Meetroduction later this week, a source close to the transaction told internetnews.com. Chicago-based Meetroduction launched the first version of Meetro, “location-aware social networking software,” on Aug. 4. The idea of Meetro is to find people to hang out with in the physical world.
Hmmm. That doesn’t seem to have happened, so now we’re left wondering how that rumor developed. And while the article said G. wouldn’t comment about the acquisition, the piece didn’t seem to contact or otherwise cite anyone from Meetro about the acquisition report, even though it quoted the CEO elsewhere in the story. Curious. So did the company itself help float the news? We don’t know, and we haven’t talked to these guys yet, and don’t want to unfairly accuse anyone. (Update: To be fair, we have since found an interview, published August 8, just a few days later, in which Meetro’s Wendell Davis stamped out the rumor. It seems Mike at Techdirt has already been down this path.)
It’s just that there’s a lot of hype in this space and exhaling slowly might be healthy. Riya, of course, is the other company that supposedly has been acquired — and yet no announcement yet.
Anyway, here’s a Wired article from October about Meetro: Meetro Eases Hookups in your Hood. Among other things, it says the following about the general area:
Google recently acquired dodgeball.com, a service that lets you use SMS to broadcast your location to nearby friends. A Germany-based company called Plazes that lets people report their location and contact information is drawing in Silicon Valley technologists. And several large cell-phone providers offer a service that lets you know the locations of friends on the same carrier.
And here is TechCrunch’s take on Meetro. TechCrunch, by the way, is building up an impressive bunch of profiles on Web 2.0 related companies — a great way to keep up with the flood of all these same-but-slightly-different bam-slam-wham start-ups lately.