Pinterest announced that it has acquired the team at Math Camp, the company that produced the location-based app Highlight and also photo-sharing app Shorts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both cofounders Paul Davison and Ben Garrett, along with a “majority” of Math Camp, will be joining Pinterest to work on mobile discovery products within the company’s engineering, product, and design teams.
Math Camp’s technology was not part of the deal and as such will be sunsetted in the coming weeks, according to a Pinterest spokesperson. However, there are plans for Math Camp to open source many of its libraries and frameworks for developers to work on.
If you’re not familiar with Math Camp, then you might recognize Highlight. It burst onto the scene at South by Southwest years ago when location-based services were rather popular, thanks to the competition between Foursquare and Gowalla. Highlight is an app that sent you push notifications when you were near another user, with the intention of creating serendipity. Years later, the company launched Shorts, which lets you meet people based on photos they’ve taken.
“Pinterest is focused on helping people discover ideas on mobile, the web and in the real world,” said Steve Davis, lead product manager at Pinterest. “The team behind Math Camp are experts in building innovative mobile products to connect people with similar tastes and help them discover day-to-day images and video across platforms.”
Where Math Camp’s team could come in handy is in the mobile discovery space, perhaps leveraging what was done within Highlight and nearby stores or fellow Pinterest users in order to build more of a community. It’s also the possibility to bring swiping behavior into the visual ideas site that could make it even more compelling to use. After all, the more time you spend on Pinterest, the greater the opportunity to make money off of you, which attracts more advertisers and brands to use Buyable Pins.
It could also pair well with Pinterest’s recent announcement that it’ll allow you to do visual searches with the camera on your mobile device and place items into a virtual shopping bag.
In a statement, Davison said, “We’re excited to extend our learnings around recommendations as well as visual and real-world discovery to the millions of people who use Pinterest to find new ideas and do things they love.”
Math Camp raised $5.5 million in venture funding from investors like SV Angel, Slow Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, CrunchFund, Betaworks, and Benchmark.
Updated at 2:18 p.m. Pacific on Thursday: Here’s the email Math Camp’s team has sent to its users announcing the acqui-hire:
We’re delighted to announce that we are being acquired by Pinterest – to continue the work we’ve been doing around recommendations, image/video sharing, and real-world discovery, but at a much larger scale.
Though the team will live on, we’ll be focused on building within the core Pinterest product. Sadly, this means we’ll be shutting down the Highlight, Roll and Shorts apps over the coming weeks. In the meantime, we are going to be working hard to make sure it’s a smooth transition for you. We will also be open sourcing a lot of our work so that the developer community can benefit from it.
We can’t tell you how much we appreciate the support you’ve given us these past 5 years. Creating these products for you has been one of the best experiences of our lives. We feel so grateful for every moment of it, and hope to build many amazing things for you down the road.
– The Math Camp team (Paul, Ben, Revant, Kris, Chris, Brian, Brandon, Christina, Alison, Jesse, Nicole, Hitesh and Noah)