Pinterest bought a tiny startup to help people find what they didn't know they were looking for
Jason Shellen and Mike Demers launched Hike in June 2014 to build social-focused mobile and web products. Since, the team had debuted an app called "Drafty" that tries to make mobile blogging a lot easier.
For Pinterest, the acquisition means adding Shellen and Demer to its product and engineering teams, where they'll work on discovery.
Tackling the discovery problem is part of Pinterest's grand plan. The company wants to fill the gap between an idea and a specific search - to help people find things they didn't know they were looking for or when they only have the faintest glimmer of an idea. If Pinterest can nail visual search, it can nail search advertising, and if it can nail search advertising, it will be taking on a market traditionally dominated by Google's AdWords.
Shellen and Demer both have backgrounds in building publishing platforms and communications tools. Shellen was a founding member of Blogger and Google Reader and later led the relaunch and rebrand of AIM. Demers founded a application development platform called 9Astronauts and developed a visual blogging site and app-building service as the CTO of YouSaidIt.
"As longtime fans and users of Pinterest, we're excited to join a world class team with the goal of helping people around the world discover, save and do creative ideas," Shellen said in a statement.
Since launching in 2009, Pinterest has made a handful of small acquistions, including Punchfork, Livestar, Hackemeter, Visual Graph, Icebergs, Kosei, and now Hike Labs. In March, Pinterest raised a huge $367 million round of funding at a $11 billion valuation, pumping it with fresh capital to make acquisitions like these possible.
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