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Amazon's Twitch acquires social networking platform Bebo for up to $ 25M to boost its esports efforts – TechCrunch



While Facebook makes a bold move into cryptocurrency to capitalize on its multi-billion user base, a social network that was once a credible competitor to it has quietly been snapped up by a subsidiary of Amazon. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Bebo, one of the earlier platforms to let people share their thoughts and media with their friends, has been acquired by Twitch, the streaming video platform owned by Amazon.

A spokesperson for Twitch confirmed the acquisition, which includes both people (around 10 employees) and IP, but declined to provide further comment

Twitch has paid up to $ 25 million for the company earlier this month, after beating out at least two other bidders, Discord (which itself has been building its own esports business), and … wait for it … Facebook. (Our source says the latter offered $ 20 million.) Indeed, LinkedIn profiles for ex-Bebo employees ̵

1; see here, here and now – at Twitch note June as the changeover date. ( Note : Original sources say $ 25 million, others close to the deal say it was materially less than this. As you know, these things can be described differently.)

It has been a long and winding road for Bebo over the years. Bebo's rapid growth became the market leader in a number of English-speaking countries, specifically UK and Ireland.

Bebo's growth trajectory and the bigger social opportunity AOL back in 2008, apparently beating out a number of other big tech and media companies interested in getting their own social media platform and the audience that would come with it (disclaimer: AOL eventually also acquired TechCrunch, too.)

But the deal was a certifiable dud, with Bebo never managing to build on his early traction, and AOL is not in a position to know how to fix that. Less than two years later, it was sold on Criterion Capital for $ 25 million

However, as well as the once-global market leader, MySpace also fell back as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other mobile- friendly platforms pulled out ahead, even that $ 25 million price turned out to be too high. After the Bebo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the original founders, Birches, bought it back in 2013 for $ 1 million with a pledge to reinvent it.

And so they did, putting in place a small team led by Shaan Puri, who worked on a number of ideas to see which of them could fly. (And I do not know if this was a tongue in cheek joke about how challenging they knew the task would be, but it seems that the holding company set up to house some of the IP and legal aspects of the effort was called "Pigs in Flight. ")

The new app studio effort, which went by the name Monkey Inferno (another great one), came out of the gates with" Blab "and" walkie-talkie "ephemeral video messaging service, which picked up millions of users quickly but found it hard to keep them.

From social networking to socializing esports

In that last pivot, Bebo first tried out streaming services for esports players , but that proved to be a tough competition against dominant platforms such as OBS and Xsplit. Then, in an interesting node to his earlier history in social networking and organizing groups of friends, he shifted once more into organizing and running tournaments for streamers, with leagues and more: streams ran on Twitch and Bebo organized viewers, leagues and other This site, Bebo.com, is now offline, and all its tweets seem to have been deleted but the idea was to build leagues and tournaments for any and all kinds of

According to a report in eMarketer, esports attracted some 400 million people, users in 2018 and pulled in revenues of $ 869 million from sponsorships, player fees and advertising, and it is projected to be worth between $ 1.58 billion and $ 2.96 billion by 2022. And Bebo was helping organize and build those communities

And that is now linking up neatly with Twitch, who had been developing his own casual esports operation in the form of Twitch Rivals.

The Bebo tech and its team are now both being put to use on Twitch Rivals to help expand it further with more features and more users. Beck's past efforts in social networking into a wider social networking play at Twitch: focus on on esports

Still, the acquisition comes at and key moment. Since January, there have been reports that Amazon is working on a new game streaming service (just like Apple, Google and others), which will probably not be out until next year. While there is no news on this day, you can see how expanding the variety and breadth of content on Twitch by esports leagues and tournaments fits in with a wider effort to bring more regular, engaged users into the Amazon fold, using this as one of the big draws


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