Check out all the on-demand sessions from the Intelligent Security Summit here.
Acquisition rumors swirled last week when tech blogger Louis Gray suggested that Brizzly-maker Thing Labs might be a logical buy for location check-in service Foursquare. But now CEOs of both companies are laying this speculation to rest.
“Brizzly/Thing Labs is not selling to Foursquare,” Thing Labs CEO Jason Shellen has tweeted in response. “I do love a good saucy rumor through. Keep ’em coming.”
Brizzly is a third-party Twitter and Facebook client that allows users to create and manage lists of followers and to easily share content including photos, status updates and shortened links.
Gray picked up the scent on a possible deal with Mike Hirschland of Polaris Ventures — one of the investors in Thing Labs — tweeted about a startup getting an offer on the Fourth of July. He also noted that Shellen and his co-founder Chris Wetherell had just paid a house call to Foursquare’s headquarters in New York, followed by a mysterious tweet yesterday from Wetherell about his holiday weekend entailing legalese and lawyers.
While it looks like no acquisition plans are in the works yet, it makes sense that Foursquare would be interested in the nimble, innovative Thing Labs — and vice versa.
Coincidentally, the day the Brizzly makers were in New York, Foursquare announced that it had raised $20 million in a second round of venture funding (partially from Andreessen Horowitz), enough cash to launch an acquisition strategy. At the very least, it plans to rapidly grow its staff (it just took over the upstairs floor of its current office space), and Thing Labs offers a talented pool of prospective hires.
Together, Shellen and Wetherell have experience at Blogger and Google Reader. Other ex-Googlers at the company include Ben Darnell and Dolapo Falola who spent time on FriendFeed and Google Maps. Darnell also served a stint at Facebook. There are several skill sets here that could help Foursquare diversify its product, which the company needs to do before any of the other geolocation startups that have popped up — Gowalla and Burbn among them — start gaining serious traction.
On Thing Labs’ end of the deal, the company may have a hard time fending off competition by itself, especially now that Twitter is rolling out its own clients and apps, emboldened by its acquisition of Tweetie.
So Gray’s theory, while based largely on Twitter-stalking Thing’s founders, isn’t too far out there. After all, Shellen did tweet that they had a “solid trip to Manhattan.” But, despite how much sense it could make for the startups to join forces and become a geolocation powerhouse, it looks like it won’t be happening — yet.
VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.