Pixable, a three-year-old startup launched by former MIT guys, caught my attention for the way it smartly used machine learning to aggregate social pictures for users, helping surface the most interesting stuff from the people they care about. The service caught on with 4 million users, who stayed engaged with Pixable’s mobile app at a very high rate.
Well, users aren’t the only fans of Pixable. Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) SingTel announced Wednesday it has acquired the New York startup for $26.5 million. The carrier, which has 462 million mobile customers in Asia and Africa, will use Pixable to offer expanded services for consumers, giving them more ways to prioritize and organize photos and other content. The goal is to enhance the ways users are able to discover and store content from their mobile phones.
Mr Inaki Berenguer, CEO of Pixable said that the acquisition by SingTel will help bring Pixable to a wider audience, especially in emerging markets. It’s unclear if Pixable will continue to offer a standalone app for non SingTel users.
With the explosion of mobile photos shared through social networks and big acquisitions like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, it’s probably not surprising that Pixable got bought. I really thought Pixable excelled in understanding the strength of a user’s online social relationships with others and showing content that was not just interesting but came from the people they were close to. I thought that a company like Facebook could use Pixable’s smarts to better present content in their feed from people that mattered to a user. That’s still a big opportunity to filter and weight social content for users so they can be smarter about consuming all these photos, updates and links.