Skype Buys Year-Old GroupMe For $85 Million, Jumps Into Group Messaging

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Skype is buying year-old group-messaging startup GroupMe TechCrunch reports.

Tricia Duryea at All Things D says the buyout price is $85 million.

GroupMe will remain independent and in New York. The deal is a huge win for the company and its early backers, including Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, and First Round Capital.

This comes just after the startup’s first birthday.  GroupMe was founded by Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht. It has secured roughly $11 million in funding from Betaworks, SV Angel, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, General Catalyst Partners and Khosla Ventures.

GroupMe sends more than 100 million texts per month and has a few million users. It has also been partnering with major brands like Oxygen.

The two companies have been in talks for a few months, says Skype CEO Tony Bates.  “The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family,” says Bates.

Bates hints that Skype will use GroupMe’s technology in tandom with mobile video provider Qik, which Skype acquired earlier this year.

It’s a smart move for GroupMe, which was facing competition from Facebook messages, Apple’s iMessage, and Google+.

To learn how GroupMe got to where it is today, check out A Year In The Life Of An $11 Million Startup, GroupMe >>