Top Story: Facebook Acquires WhatsApp
$19 billion: that’s how much Facebook is throwing down to acquire mobile messaging app WhatsApp.
$12 billion stock, $4 billion cash and $3 billion in restricted stock units tied to a four-year earnout is what the world’s largest independent person-to-person messaging service is worth?
Facebook announced that, much Instagram has after being acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently.
What elicits a $19 billion evaluation these days? According to the press release, WhatsApp has:
- Over 450 million people using the service each month, with 70% of those people active on a given day.
- Messaging volume approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume
- Continued strong growth, currently adding more than 1 million new registered users per day.
WhatsApp has also grown significantly faster in the last four years than Facebook, Gmail, Skype and Twitter.
In April, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum revealed WhatsApp was processing 20 billion messages a day—eight billion inbound and 12 billion outbound. That’s more than double what analysts believed Facebook’s message volume at the time to be.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
As mobile only grows in relevance, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp is just another move to stay ahead of the curve.
Is WhatsApp a worthy investment for Facebook?
Tool of the Week: Flyfit
From the Fitbit to the Nike Fuel Band, there are plenty of options when you are looking for a gadget to help you reach your fitness goals. Flyfit is another pedometer-based fitness tracker, only you put it on your ankle rather than your wrist.
The first fitness tracker designed with the cyclist in mind, Flyfit captures leg movements to accurately track activities like jogging, spinning, swimming and other cardio exercises. Like other fitness trackers, Flyfit also tracks your steps and sleep patterns.
Flyfit has raised over $63,000 of its $90,000 goal from its Kickstarter campaign.
Are you a fan?
Under the Radar: eBay’s Virtual Fitting Room Future
One of the biggest discrepancies between online and off line shopping is the ability to try on clothes. When it comes to clothes, fit is half the battle.
On a mission to bridge the gap is one of e-commerce’s biggest players: eBay. On Wednesday, eBay announced its acquisition of Bay Area-based computer-graphics company PhiSix Fashion Labs.
With the technology developed by PhiSix, eBay will allow customers to virtually try on garments. PhiSix technology creates 3D models of clothing from photos, pattern files and other sources, helping customers visualize how clothes fit, and look and move in different environments without actually having to try them on. It will also be able to recommend a size when you give it your basic body measurements.
PhiSix was launched in 2012 by former Intel research scientist Jonathan Su. With a background in special effects, Su has helped develop simulation technologies used by major film studios to emulate life-like behavior and movement in scenes. Su and his team of engineers will all join eBay’s Innovation and New Ventures team.
What do you think? Will you try it?
Around the Hub: Professor Ice-T
Ice-T is hitting up Boston this weekend, but this time it’s not to show off his rapping chops. On Saturday, the famed hip-hop artist and actor will give the keynote speech for this year’s Small Bytes & Apps Entrepreneurship Conference. As the keynote speaker, Ice-T will be dishing out advice to entrepreneurial dreamers about building their personal and business brands. Who better to teach a crash course on branding than one of the most legendary rappers in the game?
Small Bytes is also hosting an array of other speakers, including Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and CEO of the social media marketing agency Vaynermedia; Managing Partner of Millennial Branding Dan Schawbel; Founder of Blacks in Technology at SXSW Donnell Creech; President of HerCampus Windsor Hanger Western; and 451 Marketing’s own founding partner and CEO, AJ Gerritson.
You can register for the conference here.