This article was originally published on: Forbes
Original Article: Pinterest Acuqires Twitter Cofounder’s Social Media Flop, Jelly
Written by: Kathleen Chaykowski
Pinterest on Wednesday said it has acquired Jelly Industries, maker of the question-and-answer app Jelly, led by Twitter TWTR +0.20% cofounder Biz Stone. The move is intended to propel Pinterest’s visual search and recommendation technology.
Jelly CEO Stone, a cofounder of Twitter and Medium, will join Pinterest as a special advisor to Pinterest cofounder and chief product officer Evan Sharp. Also as part of the deal, Jelly CTO Ben Finkel will join Pinterest’s growth product team. Pinterest said it will benefit from Jelly’s artificial intelligence and search technology, which pairs users with experts who can answer their questions. In a Medium post on Wednesday, Stone said he cofounded Jelly four years ago with the goal of building a “human-powered search engine.” Jelly experimented with allowing users to search with questions and featured playful visual and sound effects. However, the app never took off among consumers. Pinterest did not disclose the terms of the deal. Not all of Jelly’s technology is part of the acquisition, a Pinterest spokesperson said.
“The Jelly team’s approach to an exploratory search powered by a mix of technology and human curation is closely aligned with our own vision,” Pinterest’s Sharp said in a statement. “The addition of Biz Stone, who’s one of the great product thinkers and creators of our time, will move us closer to our mission of building a product that helps people around the world discover and do what they love.”
Pinterest, which calls itself a digital catalog of ideas, recently expanded its suite of visual search tools with the launch of Lens, which allows users to use their smartphone cameras to search on Pinterest. Stone said in a statement that it was clear in his first meeting with Sharp that they shared the same interest in search and an “aspiration for technology to enhance humanity.” The future of Jelly’s apps, which could run separately from Pinterest or be integrated, is currently “unknown,” Stone said in his blog post.
“Pinterest has built a service of incredible value which also happens to be useful and a joy to use,” said Stone, who is an early Pinterest investor. “In joining Pinterest, Jelly has the satisfaction of following our dream of people powered search and discovery at a massive scale with a stellar team.”
Pinterest reportedly generated about $100 million in revenue in 2015 and about $300 million last year. The six-year-old company was most recently valued by investors at $11 billion and has raised $1.3 billion in funding to date from investors such as Goldman Sachs and venture-capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and FirstMark Capital. Pinterest most recently said it has 150 million monthly users.