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Marissa Mayer Snaps Up Stamped and a Raft of Celebrity Backers Can’t be Wrong

Why would Maris­sa May­er buy Stamped only to elim­i­nate its prod­ucts? Stamped is an app start­up that’s run by sev­er­al of her old Google chums.

Since tak­ing over the reins at Yahoo back in July, spec­u­la­tion has been rife on what Mayer’s first pur­chase will be, and now all of those who have been wait­ing with bait­ed breath for her to get the check book out can rest easy as the deed has final­ly been done. Those look­ing for media jobs will no doubt see oppor­tu­ni­ties increase in the clam­our as star­tups shout to get their share of the Yahoo purse.

Who or What is Stamped?

Stamped is a mobile and web app that allows users to share and keep track of the things they like such as restau­rants, books, shops, films and oth­er apps. Users can access the rec­om­men­da­tions of their friends and those of the so-called ‘tastemak­ers’ – key influ­encers that include top chef Mario Balati (who is an advi­sor to the com­pa­ny), and film crit­ic Peter Tra­vers.

Instead of rat­ing a book, restau­rant or film with a star rat­ing or feed­back, you sim­ply ‘stamp’ the item to show your approval. As a user grows their social con­nec­tions, so they can dis­cov­er new and inter­est­ing expe­ri­ences as rec­om­mend­ed by peo­ple they trust.

Back in July – around the same time May­er joined Yahoo – Stamped issued a sig­nif­i­cant update to its iOS ver­sion and a new round of fund­ing (rumoured to be around $3 mil­lion) was also com­plet­ed which boast­ed some big names. As well as tech investors includ­ing Google Ven­tures, Meta­mor­phic Ven­tures and Bain Cap­i­tal Ven­tures, the com­pa­ny also secured back­ing from Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber and TV pre­sen­ter Ryan Seacrest. This hap­py band of celebri­ties has also been inau­gu­rat­ed as Stamped ‘tastemak­ers’ and their rec­om­men­da­tions are there to be enjoyed by ordi­nary users.

So Why Stamped for May­er?

As we’ve already revealed, May­er is no stranger to the team behind Stamped. She worked close­ly with co-founder and CEO Rob­by Stein at Google where he over­saw the launch of Gmail among oth­er major projects. Anoth­er co-founder, Bart Stein, also worked at Google; as did VP Paul Estlund, Lead Prod­uct Design­er Antho­ny Cafaro and Soft­ware Engi­neer Geoff Liu.

So, could this acqui­si­tion be more about tal­ent than prod­uct? The short answer is yes. The pur­chase took place at the end of Octo­ber and already the com­pa­ny has announced it will dis­con­tin­ue both its iPhone and web app by the end of the year.

The Stamped buy-out is being hailed as the first major pur­chase in Yahoo’s dri­ve to go mobile. All nine Stamped employ­ees will join Yahoo and will face the chal­lenge of devel­op­ing a major mobile devel­op­ment cen­tre and bring coher­ence to Yahoo’s mobile strat­e­gy. Team Stamped have already decamped to Yahoo and have begun an ‘aggres­sive’ recruit­ment cam­paign. Good news for any­one seek­ing a job in the tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor.

May­er has made no secret of the fact that mobile is where it’s at for Yahoo and has stat­ed pre­vi­ous­ly that its cur­rent mobile offer is spread far too thin­ly across over 70 apps for iOS and Android.

She said: “Our top pri­or­i­ty is a focused, coher­ent mobile strat­e­gy… at some point [in the near future] we’ll have to be a pre­dom­i­nant­ly mobile com­pa­ny.”

Great news for Stamped!

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