The Agony, the Ecstasy, and the Karaoke: Twitter Reactions to the GroupMe/Skype Acquisition

When the news broke yesterday evening that Skype acquired hometown start-up GroupMe, New York’s digerati took the party to Twitter.

The wizard Martocci casts a spell over Twitter (via Steve Spillman)

When the news broke yesterday evening that Skype acquired hometown start-up GroupMe, New York’s digerati took the party to Twitter. Indeed the acquisition and its hefty price tag, which Betabeat’s sources pegged between $50 million and $100 million, caused such a stir among a certain swath of tech circles that “GroupMe” even made into a New York City Twitter trending topic last night–albeit below penetrating questions plaguing tweeters such as, “Chris Brown OR Justin Bieber.”

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The deal was the first major exit for Lerer Ventures, Thrive Capital and BoxGroup’s David Tisch, so much of the tweeting action consisted of ebullient pats on the back. But a few notes of skepticism arose from the din. In case you were too busy watching Libyan rebels end a 40-year dictatorship, here’s what you missed.

Betaworks co-founder Andy Weissman couldn’t help getting a little nostalgic, tweeting out:

“Fact: @jaredhecht and @smart named the original @GroupMe entity after a Disco Biscuits song, which I spelled wrong in our term sheet w/ them”

Followed by the even more humble:

“Other fact: I wouldnt originally take a meeting with @jaredhecht and @smart because, I wrote them, I wasn’t “feeling” the product yet.”

Lerer Ventures Jordan Cooper decided success was no time for humility, asking:

@aweissman what Made you change your mind ?? ;)”

To which Mr. Weissman dutifully replied, albeit sans emoticon:

@jordancooper a little birdy named Jordan”

Bnter’s Lauren Leto pulled a pattern out of the M&A landscape, noting:

“the tradition of “any company @mattlanger is part of gets bought” continues.”

Brew PR’s Brooke Hammerling also noticed a pattern: the companies she represents have been pretty much killing it:

“Amazing to see the inner operations of such amazing teams. 1st, PayPal buys @Zong, now Skype buys @GroupMe. #humbled cc @BrewPR”

Silicon Valley Bank’s Shai Goldman saw the deal as a boost for the city’s new tech economy:

“GroupMe acq is great for NYC tech scene 1) Founders are now experienced successful entrepreneurs 2) Founders will likely be angel investors”

Although he agonized over how the valuation might sway other starry-eyed local start-ups:

“Groupme $85M acquisition is going to provide a false sense of value to other startups “I’m a 1 year old mobile startup, so I’m worth x”

Poornima Vijayashanker, who left Mint after the company was acquired to launch BizeeBee, concurred:

“@shaig yeah that’s very true! hype is an interesting phenomenon. being a startup u have to know what ur worth, when to sell & whom to sell 2″

Lean Start-up Machine founder Trevor Owens wondered whether the acquisition changed venture capitalist Mark Suster’s mind about GroupMe’s business proposition:

“@msuster what do you think of groupme now?”

Mr. Suster tweeted out that it hadn’t:

“@to2 same as I always did. Great product. Well marketed. Group texting on its own not a company”

Mr. Owens wanted to know more:

“@msuster would love to know your thoughts on how/when features can become a business”

But while Mr. Suster promised a blog post on the subject, ff ventures’ John Frankel jumped into the fray:

@to2 Features become a product when they generate revenues. They then become a business when revenues exceed costs. cc @msuster”

Brooklyn techie Jonathan Wegener thoughtfully contemplated his own role in closing the deal:

“I like to think the acquisition happened because I decided to wear my @groupme shirt today.”

GroupMe community manager (and friend of Betabeat) Steve Spilllman couldn’t help but see the romance:

“What a big day- first the Kardashian wedding and now comes news that groupme is marrying skype.”

Meanwhile, David Tisch was more preoccupied with how GroupMe’s Pat Nakajima figured into the $50 million plus figure:

“Wondering what the price for @nakajima was in the @groupme deal…”

According to Mr. Nakajima some imposter tweeting under the totally fake Twitter account @PatNakajima, he may have made a killing:

“I got a sweet deal. 47 signed Taylor Swift CDs!”

Entrepreneur and former VC Steve Cheney was already thinking about the road ahead, tweeting just the word “Skype!” followed by:

“Next stop: monetization.”

But the GroupMe team were too busy belting their hearts out at karaoke to hear him, at least according to Ms. Hammerling’s tweet:

“This is happening. Cc @GroupMe@BrewPR@nakajima@PatNakajima”

Hopefully somebody snuck in Steve Martocci’s bottle of Johnnie Walker blue.


The Agony, the Ecstasy, and the Karaoke: Twitter Reactions to the GroupMe/Skype Acquisition