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8/16/2010
04:06 PM
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Facebook Buys Chai Labs

Investors and advisors of the vertically focused company include Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman and Google Ventures general partner Joe Kraus.

Facebook has bought Chai Labs, the latest in a string of acquisitions where the company's talent is at least as important as the technology.

What Chai Labs does is unclear from its website. The company says it has an "in-depth focus on a handful of verticals" and helps web publishers "easily customize and launch scalable, search-friendly sites."

However, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company was founded by Gokul Rajaram, a former Google AdSense executive. In addition, its investors and advisers include Marc Andreessen, general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-founder of now-defunct Netscape Communications; Reid Hoffman, general partner at Greylock Partners and chairman of Linkedin; and Joe Kraus, general partner of Google Ventures.

AllThingsDigital reported the acquisition over the weekend, citing several anonymous sources. While the site could confirm the purchase price, it said Facebook likely paid about $10 million for the startup.

Chai Labs did not respond to requests for comment.

Facebook has made several acquisitions in which the companies' talent were as, or more, important than the technology. Examples include the purchase in April of online photo archiving site Divvyshot, which was founded about a year earlier by Sam Odio and had only two other employees. The trio joined Facebook's engineering team focused on Facebook Photos.

Other examples include Facebook's acquisition of social-media aggregator FriendFeed in August 2009. In buying the company, Facebook also added as employees FriendFeed's executive team, which included Paul Buchheit, creator and lead developer of Google Gmail, and Bret Taylor, who was responsible for the launch of Google Maps. Taylor is now chief technology officer of Facebook.

In May of this year, Facebook bought startup ShareGrove, which made a group chatting client that had a Facebook-like interface. The company's employees, including co-founder Adam Wolff, joined Facebook.

FURTHER READING:

-- Facebook To Buy FriendFeed

-- Facebook To Buy Divvyshot

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