userplane.jpg

AOL just said it has acquired Userplane, a five-year old start-up that made chat and instant messaging tools to be used within Web sites. Why should you care? Well, it is another example of a company that launched a product, kept a shoestring budget and never raised a penny, according to Silicon Valley angel investor Jeff Clavier, who advised the company but who never invested.

Just when the Los Angeles-based company started getting serious traction (several million people are using it at more than 100,000 Web sites, including MySpace), it began thinking about raising venture money go into rocket mode, but then AOL came along and scooped it up. The amount was undisclosed.

Userplane was built with Flash, and so is easily integrated into most sites.