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Viddy, the "Instagram for Video" That Wasn't, Acquired by Web Video Startup Fullscreen

Viddy was red-hot for a minute, but that was two years ago.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Remember Viddy?

Back in 2012, the video-sharing app was growing like a weed, and lots of smart money bet that it would become an “Instagram for video.” Then Facebook, which had been fueling Viddy’s rise, changed course, and the app fell off a cliff.

Last year, Viddy handed back $18 million to investors as it recapitalized and downsized, and eventually rebranded itself as Supernova. And now it has been sold.

Fullscreen, a video startup that makes money selling ads on YouTube as well as tools to video creators, has bought Supernova, which owns two other video-related apps in addition to Viddy. All 12 of Supernova’s remaining employees will join Fullscreen. The companies aren’t disclosing a sale price, though my hunch is that it’s in the $15 million range.

That would normally put the deal in the soft exit/“acqhire” bucket, but Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos says he’s buying more than talent. He says he’s also eager to use technology Supernova’s team has built for video encoding, storage and other tasks.

And yes, he says he’s excited to grab Viddy’s talent, since they specialized in mobile video, and 40 percent of his traffic now comes from mobile (which makes sense because YouTube, where Fullscreen does most of its business, gets 40 percent of its traffic from mobile). “They’ve just become a team that is able to create rich mobile content experiences faster than any group of developers I’ve ever seen.”

Strompolos says for now he intends to keep Viddy — as well as group-sharing app Clique and video slo-mo app Epic — up and running, though they may get rebranded or transformed into other products.

The deal is the first significant acquisition Fullscreen has made since raising $30 million in a round led by the Chernin Group and Comcast. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is an investor in Revere Digital, which owns this website.

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