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May 24, 2011

Sparkbuy, CEO Shapiro Snatched Up by Google after Six Months of Operation

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Talk about robbing the cradle.

According to Business Insider, Google (News - Alert) has swept up a newborn batting the butterflies in its cradle, Seattle-area Sparkbuy, described as a six-month old search engine for consumer electronics devices.




The three-person startup company launched last November, and “the site was pretty cool,” Business Insider says, since “it let you prioritize qualities about a laptop, like speed versus size versus weight, and then picked the best fit for you.”

Backed by $1 million in angel investments, TechFlash says, the startup was founded by Dan Shapiro, the former founder and CEO of Ontela. The idea behind Sparkbuy is a better way to buy electronics -- “shoppers list their criteria for a laptop, say size or price, and and the site would offer up the best matches.”

The Washington Post’s tech blogging page calls Sparkbuy’s technology on the order of “a Kayak for electronics.”

This “looks like a talent acquisition,” BI writes, noting that this is Shapiro's “second turnaround in less than two years: in December 2009, he merged his photo-sharing company, Ontela, with the recently independent Photobucket (News - Alert).”

And that might be the major gain out of this deal. GeekWire says this definitely fits a trend, as tech heavyweights Google, Facebook (News - Alert) and Zynga and others of that ilk “have been gobbling up startups for talent more so than the products they have built. It is unclear whether Google has big plans for Sparkbuy’s technology, or just wanted its engineers.”

But the loser here is anybody who wanted a better way to buy electronics: “As a result of the deal, Sparkbuy says it plans to shut down the service.”

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jennifer Russell







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