Facebook Acquires Drop.io, Founder Lessin Joins the Company

Facebook acquired drop.io, a private sharing service founded by Sam Lessin, a longtime friend of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the New York-based startup said today. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Lessin is the only employee from the company who will join Facebook and Drop.io said it would wind down its service. The company had raised close to $4 million from RRE Ventures, DFJ Gotham Ventures and Rose Tech Ventures.

Facebook said in a statement, “We can confirm that we recently completed a small talent acquisition for drop.io and acquired most of the company’s assets. We’re thrilled that Sam Lessin will be joining us.”

It is difficult to predict what Lessin will be working on since many of the entrepreneurs Facebook has attracted through acquisitions have ended up working on projects unrelated to their original startup ideas.

However, Facebook has been moving in a direction recently that promotes more private sharing. It launched Groups earlier this fall, which are enclosed spaces where small groups of friends can share content with each other.

Lessin and Zuckerberg go far back to their days at Harvard University. In David Kirkpatrick’s book, “The Facebook Effect,” Lessin praised Facebook for its minimalism. His father also took Zuckerberg around New York to meet venture capitalists and media and finance executives, Kirkpatrick reported.

Drop.io is the Facebook’s eighth acquisition to date and the sixth one in the last year. (Another reported acquisition, Chai Labs, was never officially confirmed.) Many acquired founders have gone on to assume high-profile roles in the company. Friendfeed co-founder Bret Taylor became chief technology officer. Parakey co-founder Blake Ross worked on Facebook Lite and Questions, while his co-founder Joe Hewitt led development of Facebook’s iPhone application. NextStop co-founder Carl Sjogreen is now leading platform while Justin Shaffer, who founded location service Hot Potato, leads Groups.

Drop.io disclosed the acquisition on its blog today:

Here at drop.io, we’ve had a great three years helping people privately share pictures, video, audio, documents, andmore. It’s been a thrill to watch the first, thousandth, millionth, and ten-millionth drop be created.

Today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve struck a deal with Facebook. What this means is that Facebook has bought most of drop.io’s technology and assets, and Sam Lessin is moving to Facebook.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be winding down the drop.io service. As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you’ll be able to download content from existing drops until Dec. 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through Dec. 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After Dec. 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well.

Please download your information before Dec. 15 – we plan to delete it after that time. No user data or content will be transferred to Facebook, and we’ll send out e-mails to everyone to remind them about the service closing.

Other drop.io services like Presslift, our Yahoo! Mail Application, and our APIs will stay online for a longer period before the company winds down. We’ll announce more details on that soon. However, starting immediately, we’ll no longer be selling new premium accounts for those services.

To our loyal users and fans, we cannotthank you enough for your patronage, support, and feedback (good and bad) over the years.

Warmest regards, The drop.io Team