Yahoo Buys Propeld, Its Third Mobile Startup In Four Months

Maria Zhang, CEO, PropeldMaria Zhang, CEO, Propeld

Photo: GeekWire

Yahoo has just acquired Propeld, the maker of a local-recommendations app called Alike, according to Alike’s website.TechCrunch, which first reported the deal, speculates that Yahoo will use Alike’s technology to pull data from Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to recommend nearby businesses.

We’re not so sure. That’s because a source on Yahoo’s M&A team told us last month that the company wanted to buy—in our paraphrase—”small, failed startups with excellent teams for very little money.”

So that seems like a backhanded compliment for the Propeld team. More likely, they’ll go to work on other Yahoo mobile projects—a typical pattern for such acquire-hire deals.

The statement on the Alike website hints at this:

We’ve always been passionate about the growing power of intelligent mobile experiences. We believe that distilled information, deeply personalised and made accessible anytime and anywhere, is what makes mobile experiences a part of our customers’ daily lives.

In Yahoo we’ve found a team as excited about this vision as we are, and who are serious about making it real. We’re super excited to join Yahoo’s mobile team, where we can march toward that vision faster than ever.

The Alike app will shut down.

Propeld is currently based in the Seattle area. GeekWire reports that the team is relocating to Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., and its San Francisco office.

On LinkedIn, we found the following team members:

  • CEO Maria Zhang, a Microsoft veteran
  • Nan Shi, a software engineer who previously worked at Microsoft and AOL
  • Chang Luo, a software programmer who’s also the developer of a poker-tracker app
  • Marty Grabijas, whose background is in sales and marketing

Since Marissa Mayer became CEO, Yahoo has made two other acquisitions, Stamped and OnTheAir—both small mobile startups.

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