Skype Acquires Group Texting Specialist GroupMe

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

GroupMe is a provider of text messaging services that allow users to send multiple texts to contacts.

Internet phone service provider Skype announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GroupMe, a provider of mobile group messaging services that helps users stay in touch and make decisions. GroupMe was founded in 2010 at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon and is headquartered in New York, New York. Terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed.

Through the acquisition of GroupMe, Skype continues its drive to provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications experience. The acquisition of GroupMe complements Skype's experience in voice and video communications by providing text-based communications and features that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their contacts. This, coupled with the acquisition of mobile video provider Qik, which Skype announced earlier this year, helps augment Skype's role as a provider of mobile communication user experiences.

"Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion people. We will continue to seek the top talent and technology to make that vision a reality," said Tony Bates, Skype's CEO. "The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family."

Jared Hecht, GroupMe's co-founder, said there is a natural affinity between Skype and GroupMe and our goal is to continue developing tools that make it easier for people to communicate, share, and stay in touch with their close and important ties. "Integrating GroupMe into the Skype experience is an amazing opportunity for us and accelerates the execution of our vision tenfold," added Steve Martocci, another GroupMe co-founder.

In other Skype news, the company recently launched an application on Apple’s App Store that lets users access WiFi hotspots around the world and pay with Skype Credit. Aimed at travelers abroad and those who always want Internet access, the free app’s connection rates start at $0.06 cents a minute. The service is available for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (running iOS 4.1 or above with multitasking) at more than 1 million WiFi hotspots around the world, including hotels, airports, train stations, convention centers, bars and restaurants. There are no limits on the amount of data a user can upload or download, the company noted in a release.