Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced that Pinterest has acquired Jelly, the visual search and discovery platform he launched in January 2014 with Ben Finkel.
Stone will join Pinterest as a special adviser to co-founder and chief product officer Evan Sharp, while Finkel will be added to the social network’s growth product team.
Stone said in his blog post announcing the acquisition that the fate of the Jelly site and applications was still being determined. He wrote:
Ben Finkel and I co-founded Jelly four years ago to create a human-powered search engine. We’ve accomplished that with our tiny little team—despite a pivot and an un-pivot. Askjelly.com works as we dreamed it would.
My advice to entrepreneurs when raising another round, as Jelly was about to do, is to consider acquisition offers. Reasons for accepting vary. One reason is getting your work to millions of people right away. Ben and I deliberated and decided to take my own advice. Interest came from several companies. Among those companies was Pinterest. We talked.
I was familiar with Pinterest. As an angel investor, I put money into Pinterest years ago. When we talked about Jelly joining forces with Pinterest, things got really interesting. Its mission was astonishingly similar to ours—human-powered search, a subjective search engine and discovering things you didn’t know you need to know. These are all key to Jelly.
Not only that, (Pinterest CEO) Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp have found wild success yet remain approachable and down-to-earth. The more we talked, the more we realized we had the same interest in reimagining search. We were finishing each other’s sentences. It became clear that for both companies, the best path forward was for Pinterest to acquire Jelly Industries.
We’re still working out details, so there are unknowns. Will Jelly remain separate, or integrated somehow? Nevertheless, we are incredibly enthusiastic and certain that this is the best decision for the future of human-powered search and discovery. Jelly plus Pinterest is an exceedingly powerful match. A new adventure begins.
Sharp also issued a statement on the acquisition:
The Jelly team’s approach to an exploratory search powered by a mix of technology and human curation is closely aligned with our own vision. The addition of Biz Stone to the team, who’s one of the great product thinkers and creators of our time, will move us closer to our mission of building a product that helps people around the world discover and do what they love.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Sarah Frier of Bloomberg reported that Pinterest is using stock to acquire Jelly. Stone told Frier:
There’s still so much innovation left in the world of search. We’re going to bring our combined know-how that’s going to help accelerate Pinterest’s efforts in the space.
This company is truly something of enduring value. That’s primarily why I’m attracted to it.
This is how Jelly described its product at launch:
Jelly changes how we find answers because it uses pictures and people in our social networks. It turns out that getting answers from people is very different from retrieving information with algorithms. Also, it has the added benefit of being fun.
Say you’re walking along and you spot something unusual. You want to know what it is, so you launch Jelly, take a picture, circle it with your finger and type, “What’s this?” That query is submitted to some people in your network who also have Jelly. Jelly notifies you when you have answers.
Finkel (left) and Stone are pictured below.