Credit: Branch blog
Facebook has bought Branch, the New York-based messaging company backed by Obvious Corp., the holding company/incubator funded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
Branch CEO Josh Miller announced the deal (via Facebook) this morning, and says the company will be put to work creating “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!’” (Miller is the guy on the right in the photo above, sitting next to co-founders Hursh Agrawal and Cemre Güngör.)
Miller’s announcement didn’t disclose a purchase price, but a person familiar with the deal put it at around $15 million, in addition to packages for Miller and his eight-person team.
The announcement says Branch, the original tool Miller built to facilitate Twitter-like “conversations” on the Web, or Potluck, a “stress-free” social network/iPhone app launched last summer (which looks a bit like Jelly, the new app/network just launched by Stone) will “live on outside of Facebook.” (An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Branch and Potluck’s fate were up in the air.)
The last time Miller had much to say about Facebook, it was a year ago in a much-discussed Medium post, where he relayed his teenaged sister’s use of different social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. His conclusion: “Facebook may have an irreversibly bad brand.” (Apparently Miller’s views evolved, per the post he wrote last month: “Why I’m Bullish On Facebook“)
In addition to backing from Obvious, Branch raised money from other investors including SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, David Tisch and Betaworks for a total of about $2 million.