Acquire-hires aren’t just for Google and Facebook anymore.Now Etsy, the still-private online marketplace, has gotten into the game by acquiring Mixel, the maker of a photo-sharing app, to gain the services of its team.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Betaworks and Polaris Venture Partners had invested in Mixel.
The most notable member is CEO Khoi Vinh, the former online design director of the New York Times. Cofounder Scott Ostler and employees Akiva Leffert and Roy Stanfield are also joining Etsy to work on its mobile apps, which design director Randy Hunt notes accounted for a third of visits from shoppers over the holiday season.
Mixel is eliminating its social features to make the app easier to keep up, while allowing app users to share photo collages to other social networks. It will also start charging for the previously free app, an apparent move to discourage new downloads short of a complete shutdown. That suggests Etsy and the Mixel team are trying a gentler approach than seen in other acquire-hire deals, where the acquired company’s product gets shut down as the team works on other projects.