Facebook acquires mobile loyalty startup Tagtile

Facebook has acquired the team and most of the assets of Tagtile, a mobile-based customer loyalty management startup, according to a post on Tagtile’s website.

Facebook started and ended this week with mobile-focused acquisitions, having bought photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion on Monday. The price for Tagtile was undisclosed.

“We’re happy to confirm that Tagtile’s founders are joining Facebook, and that Facebook is acquiring substantially all of the company’s assets,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’ve admired the engineering team’s efforts for some time now and we’re excited to have them join Facebook.”

According to Tagtile’s website, its service “helps local businesses identify and engage their customers to increase revenue.”

The product includes a hardware device, the Tagtile Cube, that merchants place at their checkout counter. When customers make a purchase in-store, they tap their smartphone against the Tagtile Cube and earn rewards. Merchants can access data from the Cub online, and use the information to target messages back to their customers. Tagtile will continue its current operations for now, but the company won’t be taking on any new customers. “Tagtile as it exists today won’t be part of what we do at Facebook,” the post says.

This is similar to other acquisitions Facebook has done primarily for talent rather than a product or service. The company’s most recent acqui-hire was location-based service Gowalla that was shut down about three months after being bought by the social network. Instagram, on the other hand, is set to remain in operation under the Instagram name.

Facebook is clearly trying to establish a strong base of mobile-minded talent to improve its positioning in that space. Facebook had 432 million mobile monthly active users as of Dec. 31, 2011, and just over 13 percent of these users accessed the social network exclusively through mobile devices.

Joining Facebook through the acquisition are co-founders Abheek Anand and Soham Mazumdar. Anand previously worked in product management and Engine Yard and as an investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Mazumdar was an early engineering lead who worked on infrastructure and data mining for Google Search.

We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.