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Summary:

Earlier this morning Louis Gray speculated that red-hot start-up Foursquare might be looking to buy Thing Labs, the company behind Brizzly. Jason Shellen, CEO of Thing Labs and Mike Hirshland, partner at Polaris Venture Partners, they both categorically dismissed the story as not true.

Earlier this morning Louis Gray speculated that red-hot start-up Foursquare might be looking to buy Thing Labs, the company behind Twitter-related service, Brizzly. Gray’s thesis was based on some tweets by company executives and venture capitalist. When I got in touch with Jason Shellen, CEO of Thing Labs and Mike Hirshland, partner at Polaris Venture Partners, they both categorically denied any deal and said that there was no truth to the story. And that’s that!

  1. The cool thing about Louis’s conjecture, even though it isn’t factual, is that it gets us thinking about at least three things we should be thinking about.

    1. Who will Foursquare buy and where will they go next now that they’ve decided not to be bought themselves.

    2. Who will Brizzly sell to?

    3. And bigger than that, who would buy a Twitter client and why and what could this mean to Twitter and how might they respond? Esp if one of their competitors buys a client. Or a much larger company. Or a much larger company in a very different field. What if, just for the sake of discussion, Virgin America bought Brizzly? :-)

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    1. Dave

      Totally agree with the questions you raise.

      Who will Brizzly sell too? I think we should extend that to a whole different set of startups including Loic’s company, Seesmic. The Twitter/Real-time content readers to start thinking about there value proposition which goes beyond just “showing updates.” If I had to guess who should buy a Brizzly or a Seesmic, it would be a large media company.

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      1. Hi Om (and all), very glad you think this way, please as always direct the acquisition offers to that secret email I gave you :P

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    2. Of course, I would have preferred being right and not looking silly. But I do think Brizzly will need to do something incredible outside of the Twitter realm or find a partner. I do respect the team a great deal. Foursquare seems to be doing well on its own today, as it ramps revenue. Facebook’s entry to the market would absolutely shake that up, but I don’t give much chance to Gowalla and others to lap them.

      A buy of Brizzly by Foursquare would seem odd on its face until they started to use the Brizzly Guides for Foursquare tips, build a new client, etc etc. I could see worse partnerships.

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  2. Win some and lose some. Both are talented teams and I hope they find a way to work together in the near future. This time I was wrong and I will try to not start a habit of it.

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    1. Hey at least you tried to connect the dots. :-)

      I think it would be something they are considering for the future. It makes perfect sense for Brizzly to use FSQ’s API to build more interesting features into their service.

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  3. Looks like Brizzly sold to Zynga!

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    1. I think on Twitter, @shellen denied that. :-)

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  4. Given shellen’s previous relationship with ev at blogger, would it not be more likely twitter bail out thing labs with an acqui-hire/purchase?

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  5. @loic I will make sure to be in touch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a large media company comes calling. My bet is AOL as your most likely acquirer :-)

    @louisgray … Interesting ideas about Foursquare and how it could use Brizzly. I am just wondering why Dennis & Co would want to take on a distraction right now considering they are trying to rebuild their platform. Any thoughts on it?

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    1. It certainly looks like Dennis and co are not looking to take on a distraction. I haven’t seen any indication from their side that they are looking to make any acquisitions.

      I had been watching the Brizzly team go to NYC and their comments publicly and privately were very positive. Yesterday, seeing Chris’ update about lawyers and paperwork had me thinking further. I looked into their VC partners, and Mike’s update pushed it from an inkling to pure speculation.

      I think it’s clear Brizzly will gain Foursquare support (like TweetDeck does now), and that could be all we get from their trip. But they do seem to be friendly. The two companies co-hosted a party at SXSW this year, one of Brizzly’s employees is moving to NYC, and Siobhan Quinn, a PM for Foursquare is a highly regarded former colleague of both cofounders at Brizzly.

      It’s one of those things where if you have a conclusion in mind, you can see all sorts of clues to reach the idea you have in your head. But for now… it is clear I was wrong.

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  6. There are too many rumors around. Few days back one of my friend said that Yahoo is in talks to buy Twitter App Buzzom.

    I feel why would Yahoo and Foursquare go and buy Twitter Apps! There isnt any reason.

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