New York -- In a surprising turn or events, just four days after personal profile startup About.me, threw its doors open to the public, has been scooped up by web portal AOL on Monday for and undisclosed sum. It will be incorporated with the consumer applications division, led by AOL exec Brad Garlinghouse.
About.me empowers users with tools to create an online colorful profile pages that connects to and pull in content from various social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn media sites -- much like competitor Flavors.me. It is like an online business card -- with a built-in analytics dashboard for tracking your social-networking interactions and influence.
The startup began permitting users to store their names and pages in September and only officially opened its doors on December 16. Nevertheless, today, About.me is now an AOL property.
In a blog post titled,"Booyah!," co-founder, serial entrepreneur and investor Tony Conrad has an ongoing close-knit relationship with AOL, wrote that he and his team is excited to be joining AOL at a "fortunate" time: "Aol is doing what great, sustainable business do every so often -- they are reinventing themselves."
This is the second round with AOL for Conrad. In 2008, he disposed of his previous company Sphere to AOL for an estimated $25 million. Form the Tech Crunch video below, Conrad explains that they actually signed the LOI (letter of intent) back in November. In the leaked AOL internal email it stated that it will become part of the consumer applications group, led by AOL exec Brad Garlinghouse. This is not the first time Garlinghouse and AOL have acquired a company from Tony.
From the video:
"Because I think there is a great fit here, I really do. I think there is 45-50 million AIM users, I think there is (what) another 25 million email users in AOL, I think there is great things we can do together. I honestly believe that. I think it can scale much much faster, and I'm extremely comfortable with AOL."
About.me commenced beta testing in September, capturing more than 400,000 users in a short period. The startup also collected around $425,000 from big-name investors like True Ventures, AOL Ventures, Founders Collective and Ron Conway before its official launch on December 16.
"About.me becomes an important piece of their strategy to reach across and engage the web," writes Conrad of AOL's interest in his young company. "We think it has an enormous value to become part of a suite of communication (AIM), Aol Mail and community-driven (Patch, Seed) services. This is truly a win-win for our users, investors, team and Aol."
With the industry buzzing about a tech bubble and soaring startup valuations, the speedy transaction did not go unnoticed."Have you actually introduced About.me? TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington quipped in an interview with Conrad after the announcement.
Conrad said he signed the deal before officially launching the site. Not because About.me is not a potentially fascinating product. "I think it is a great fit with AOL," he said."We can get a ton of users on the front end ... this is a compelling enough project that they can see everyone having one."
Despite the simplicity of the service there is something fascinating about it. Conrad and his group will join the Consumer Applications Group led by Brad Garlinghouse. From the sound of it, the About.me service will remain intact under AOL. But do not expect About.me to dilly-dally and go corporate: "Going forward, our business approach will also remain unchanged -- start-up-style, with the same hunger and spirit about.me was founded on," Conrad wrote in his blog post about the deal.