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This article was published on January 13, 2014

Facebook acquires team behind social discussion startup Branch Media to form new Conversations group in NYC

Facebook acquires team behind social discussion startup Branch Media to form new Conversations group in NYC

Facebook today acquired the team behind NYC-based social startup Branch Media. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but The Verge pegged the price at “around $15 million.” The 10-person team won’t have to relocate as it will be forming a new Conversations group in charge of building Branch “at Facebook scale.”

Branch Media offered two services: Branch, a platform for hosting and publishing invite-only conversations, and Potluck, a Web and mobile app “designed for friends to talk about cool things they find online.” Both are expected to continue operating outside of Facebook, though it’s not clear for how long.

Branch Media was backed by Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman’s Obvious Corp, Jonah Peretti and Lerer Ventures, John Borthwick’s Betaworks, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, and an undisclosed of angel investors.

For reference, here’s the full announcement:

After two years building Branch and Potluck, I am thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our mission at Facebook!

We will be forming Facebook’s Conversations group, based in New York City, with the goal of helping people connect with others around their interests. Their pitch to us was: “Build Branch at Facebook scale!”

Although the products we build will be reminiscent of Branch and Potluck, those services will live on outside of Facebook. A more thoughtful note and details to come soon but I am writing this haphazardly from a mountain in Japan (I was tipped that the story was going to leak while on vacation).

In the meantime, a huge “thank you” to our investors. Especially, Jason Goldman, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Ryan Freitas, John Borthwick, and Jonah Peretti, who all spent an extraordinary amount of time with us.

Most importantly though, a big congrats to my eight teammates who have worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes. So much and admiration: – on we go!

We have contacted Facebook for more information and will update this article if we hear back.

Update: Facebook declined to comment on the news. A source close to the deal confirmed, however, that this was not a complete acquisition but an acqui-hire, meaning the company bought the talent, not the technology.

See also – Branch’s Potluck comes to iPhone for casual link-sharing on the go and Branch launches Potluck, a promising link sharing community that doesn’t care about upvotes

Top Image Credit: Emma Weber