As Facebook embarks on a bold move towards cryptocurrency to benefit from its multi-billion dollar user base, a social network that once was a credible competitor was tacitly seized by an Amazon subsidiary. TechCrunch has learned and acknowledged that Bebo, one of the earlier platforms for sharing thoughts and media with friends, was purchased from Twitch, the Amazon streaming video platform. Together, they will work to expand the Twitch Esports business, and Twitch Rivals in particular.
A spokesman for Twitch confirmed the acquisition, involving both individuals (about 10 employees) and IP, but declined to comment.
As we know from our sources, Twitch paid up to $ 25 million for the company earlier this month after defeating at least two other bidders: Discord (who himself built his own esport business) and … wait on it … Facebook. (Our source says the latter offered $ 20 million.) In fact, LinkedIn profiles for former Bebo employees ̵
It has been a long and winding road for Bebo over the years. Launched in 2005 by Michael and Xochi Birch as an early social networking site, Bebo quickly became the market leader in some English-speaking countries, particularly the UK and Ireland.
Bebo 's Growth Path and Greater Opportunity in the Social Field. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 263 & lang = DE AOL had managed to acquire it for about $ 850 million in 2008, and apparently hit a number of other interested big tech and media companies that were interested in getting their own social media platform and related audience (disclaimer: AOL ultimately) also purchased TechCrunch).
But the deal was a certifiable git, in which Bebo never managed to build on his early traction, and AOL is not able to figure out how to fix it. Less than two years later, it was sold to Criterion Capital for $ 25 million.
But as the social wheels continued to turn, the former global leader MySpace also fell behind Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other mobile providers. friendly platforms moved forward, even the $ 25 million price proved too high. After Bebo applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the original founders, the Birches, bought the company back in 2013 for $ 1 million to reinvent it.
And so they set up a small team under the direction of Shaan Puri. Who worked on a series of ideas to see which of them could fly. (And I do not know if this was a joke about how challenging they knew the task would be, but it seems the holding company set up to house some of the IP and legal aspects of the project, " Pigs in Flight. ")
The new App Studio action, which came out under the name of Monkey Inferno (another great), was selected by" Blab, "a short-lived video messaging service for walkie-talkies, millions of Users could be reached quickly, but they found it difficult to keep them. It was shut down a year later and it looks like Monkey Inferno has been busy with a few other things before joining Esport.
From social media to socializing esporters
In this last pivot, Bebo first tested streaming services for Esport players However, this proved to be tough competition against dominant platforms such as OBS and Xsplit. Then, in an interesting allusion to his past history in social networks and the organization of groups of friends, it switched again to the organization and running of tournaments for streamer with leagues and more: the streams ran on spectators organized by Twitch and Bebo, leagues and other things around that.
This page, Bebo.com, is now offline, and all of their tweets appear to have been deleted but the idea was to have leagues and tournaments for each and every kind of to build groups and players, for example, beginners or high school students.
It turned out that the last ones were located in a growing market segment.
According to a report in eMarketer, esports attracted around 400 million users in 2018 and generated $ 869 million in revenue from sponsorship, gambling and advertising. By 2022, a value of between $ 1.58 and $ 2.96 billion is forecast. And Bebo helped organize and build these communities.
And now it's a good connection to Twitch, which has built its own casual Esport operation in the form of Twitch Rivals. This version was released in beta in 2018 and is now available wherever Twitch is.
Bebo technology and her team are now both being used for Twitch Rivals to add more features and more users. To put it bluntly, to my knowledge, it does not seem to be intended to turn Bebo's past social networking efforts into a broader social networking game on Twitch: the focus is on sport.
However, the takeover takes place via a key moment. Since January, it has been reported that Amazon is working on a new game streaming service (like Apple, Google and others) that will probably not be released until next year. While there is no news today, you can see how the expansion of Twitch's breadth and breadth of content through Esport leagues and tournaments goes hand in hand with a greater effort to bring more regular and committed users to the Amazon. Use this as one of the big raffles.
(Updated with more details for the price.)