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Facebook Acquires Branch (techcrunch.com)
106 points by alex1 1407 days ago | hide | past | web | 40 comments | favorite

This is why I could never be a tech start up investor. Every new app like this that I see, I dismiss as useless/nothing new/why would anyone use that. Then it gets bought by one of the big guys for millions a year later.

I don't think that's what happened here. Branch has failed to catch on as far as I can tell, this is a good ole boys acquisition.

  > This is why I could never be a tech start up investor. 
  > Every new app like this that I see, I dismiss as 
  > useless/nothing new/why would anyone use that.
Seasoned investors don't even try to decide whether the app is good or not. After all, who cares what the investor thinks? The only thing that matters is what the market thinks. Instead, they "place many small bets", and hope that one of them pays off big.

(edit: This is why there seem to be so many "bad ideas" that get funded.)

But by that logic every startup has an equal chance of investments, so the optimal tactic is to pump out nonsensical bad apps until somebody funds one.

That assumes your end-goal is to get an app funded. It's my understanding that funding is really just the start of the journey to having something that is successful and will make you rich (if that's your goal).

"many small bets" does not mean you're picking them at random.

This model of investment is one tactic. But in my opinion, it's not the one at play here.

Another majorly significant tactic of investment is to buy your potential competitors early and often. Find the upstarts that pose a threat to your business and make them an offer.

These are not great outcomes for the investors.

"This is why I could never be a tech start up investor. Every new app like this that I see, I dismiss as useless/nothing new/why would anyone use that. Then it gets bought by one of the big guys for millions a year later."

This is why I could barely use many new apps like this I see. I don't have time to waste on something useless/nothing new/why would anyone use that. Then it gets used by million of people after a year later. :)

Actually there are lot of competitors creating online conversations tools, so maybe it's not that useless. And they are the lucky guys being picked.

How about having something really new and useful? Let me know whether it also falls into "why would anyone use that": http://bingobo.info/blog/table-of-contents.jsp.

Using new apps are a great way to learn, design/product, and trends. Every startup is trying really hard to create something new, or some unique problem they see in the world. Not trying them out feels like a huge mistake as a product builder today

Yes, you have a point. Even if products have different market sectors, if there are something similar, trying it out may help for feature design and product enhancement.

One of the features we are building is to share the useful links among various friends circles, but don't have discussion in design yet. It seems very advanced feature.

Let's see if Branch will gain a fairly big market, then it really makes sense.

As a designer I find it interesting to guess at why the product owner designed something a certain way. I really recommend checking them out, if you get a chance

I always got the impression that Branch had a very talented team, but that the products were very over-engineered. By that, I mean that the interface was very polished, but also very confusing. So I'm sure it's a good deal for Facebook to add this very focused talent to their stable.

Makes sense, I love the Branch product but seems they never really got enough traction to make it a buzzing place of conversation & interaction. Will be interesting to see what happens with the product within FB.. will it be largely a talent acquisition or does FB really believe in what Josh and the team were building.

Needs an active FB session to read.

"After two years building Branch and Potluck, I am thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our mission at Facebook!

We will be forming Facebook's Conversations group, based in New York City, with the goal of helping people connect with others around their interests. Their pitch to us was: "Build Branch at Facebook scale!"

Although the products we build will be reminiscent of Branch and Potluck, those services will live on outside of Facebook. A more thoughtful note and details to come soon but I am writing this haphazardly from a mountain in Japan (I was tipped that the story was going to leak while on vacation).

In the meantime, a huge "thank you" to our investors. Especially, Jason Goldman, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Ryan Freitas, John Borthwick, and Jonah Peretti, who all spent an extraordinary amount of time with us.

Most importantly though, a big congrats to my eight teammates who have worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes. So much and admiration: http://branch.com/company#team - on we go!"

> Their pitch to us was: "Build Branch at Facebook scale!"

Or was it closer to: "Want $15M?"

"Keep your startup culture inside of Facebook!"

The Verge reports an acquisition price of around $15mm.


My goal in life is to get bought out of acquihired.

Thats silly. You never start out trying to get acquihired unless you know exactly what the company you want to get acquihired by, wants. You aim super high for an ipo but if stuff goes south, you can always get acquihired.

I don't think you can 'always' get acquihired. You've got to play your cards right, get just the right team, and have people that the acquihiring company wants. I'm wondering if the acquihire is as easy as most believe it is.

Nope. As long as your idea is reasonable(which is a high chance assuming you have your head on straight which is clearly not the case if you're doing stuff like developing an 'elixir for immortality' or building a 'google killer'), you have some semblance of a product and at-least a seed round in funding, getting acquihired is not at all a problem. Trust me, I've already gotten offers for acquisitions and I've barely begun fundraising.

May I ask where (country/city) you and the team are based?

We're in the bay area.

My goal priority:

2) Start profiting enough to quit my job

3) Hire people + have office

4) Either get bought out or acquihired

5) Retire

If #2 at least doesn't take off by the time I'm 35 at the latest I'm killing myself.

At the risk of being the guy who doesn't get the joke, I suggest a better failure mode for your life. Unless you're 34 at the moment, you probably have enough time to reconsider so I hope you do.

I believe it's an inferior mode of operation, besides. Having the "at least I can do X if this fails" option lowers cognitive load caused by worrying about the consequences of failure. I don't remember where I saw this, but I believe you are actually harming your chances by setting too harsh an alternative. Then again, you may be different.

The wager is the lasting long term motivator.

I can only hope your posts are a joke but if not, why would someone acquihire you if you were only going to retire? An acquihire is about grabbing a ready-made team in a particular field.

Ideally I'd work on the product to it's end.

I just discovered Branch today, and I think the problem it tries to solve is one that hits me quite frequently. I consume content nonstop online, but I'm lacking a good medium to share content I like with friends and have semi-private conversations around it.

I like Pocket a lot for the first piece of that puzzle, but it lacks discussion capabilities. Facebook is my de facto solution for the second part, but it's not good for letting people bring in their friends who aren't my friends. So I suppose my dreams may come true if Facebook really is interested in letting the Branch team continue to pursue the problem.

> Facebook is my de facto solution for the second part, but it's not good for letting people bring in their friends who aren't my friends.


The analogy Branch used in the earlier days of its launch (which isn't too long ago) was, in my words: consider Branch as a high school cafeteria, where each table has people of different taste and stripe discussing things.

So I guess the school was private after all and it got bought out by another private school.

You know, those students are eventually going to grow up and they're going to realize that private corporations are using (abusing?) their time and conversations to their own advantage.

Branch looks like a good app. In some way it is kind of similar to Pinterest. Would be interesting to find out why they didn't gain enough traction? Could it be because they weren't targeting a niche audience compared to Pinterest targeting niche users at the initial stages.

Welp, glad I didn't invest too much time or interest in Branch or Potluck.

I liked Potluck a lot before the pivot into bite-sized news discussions.

For those who don't know, it used to be a place to share links and discuss them with friends.

Agreed. It was a daily go-to until they totally redesigned the thing around those cards. I never got the UI so I gave up.

Congrats to everyone at Branch. Can't wait to see what's to come from them over at FB!

Congrats to the whole team!

Even I felt the same while using it!!


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