Tomfoolery: Will It Be Yahoo’s Latest Acquisition?


Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is in the midst of talks to buy the app developer Tomfoolery for a rumored $16 million, according to sources who spoke with the Wall Street Journal. The deal is fairly advanced, the sources reported, but is not yet final and could still fail.

The app development company started in 2012. The company builds workplace apps; their first, called Anchor, helps colleagues both socialize and collaborate more easily, allowing co-workers to share and discuss projects, chat, post pictures, and more using apps for Android and iPhone.

A TechCrunch report covering Tomfoolery’s launch last year describes the company as investing in cool, consumerized enterprise apps that bring the functionality and elegance found in leisure apps — apps for socializing and fun — to apps designed and developed specifically for the workplace. An important element behind Tomfoolery’s investment? “A lot of people spend more time working than doing anything else, so it’s important to keep that in mind, and make some of that time fun,” Lipman told TechCrunch.

Tomfoolery’s founders are veterans to the industry. One, Chief Executive Officer Kakul Srivastava, worked for Yahoo, helping to manage the photo-sharing website Flickr before leaving the company in 2011. Sol Lipman, another Tomfoolery team member, is a former vice president for AOL. The company has managed to raise $1.7 million from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz and Morado Venture Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Buying Tomfoolery would fit in line with two trends in Mayer’s leadership: one, acquiring and hiring former Yahoo employees, a group she refers to collectively as “boomerangs,” and two, investing in clever and innovative engineers responsible for start-ups companies like Tomfoolery.

Since she took office in July of 2012, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired more than two dozen start-up companies; Yahoo’s strategy under Mayer often involves shutting down the start-ups apps after acquiring them, and then putting their engineers to work developing apps for Yahoo instead.

Last year, approximately 10 percent of Yahoo’s new hires fell into the “boomerang” category, having previously worked for Yahoo at some point, according to a statement by Mayer last September, per the Wall Street Journal.

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