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Yahoo Buys Fashion E-Commerce Platform Polyvore

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In a series of acquisitions led by CEO Marissa Mayer (buying more than 50 companies for over $2 billion in the last 3 years), Yahoo has made yet another acquisition, targeting popular fashion community cum ecommerce platform Polyvore this time.

The announcement was made in a blog post by Yahoo’s senior vice president of publisher products, Simon Khalaf who said,

Polyvore has built an excellent team, a category leading product, and a strong business based on a highly engaged community. The combination of Yahoo’s industry-leading digital content with Polyvore’s expertise in community and commerce has outstanding potential.

The amount of the deal is not disclosed but as per the early reports by TechCrunch, the deal could be in the vicinity of $60 million.

With the acquisition of Polyvore, Yahoo is looking forward to enhance the user experience of its recently launched digital magazines related to fashion and style like Yahoo Beauty and Yahoo Style as well as to give a boost to its advertising revenues based on social, mobile, video and native ads.

In the blog post, Khalaf said,

Polyvore’s technology will bring a proven native ad model, new compelling native ad formats, and strong advertising relationships with more than 350 retailers to Yahoo’s fast-growing native advertising platform, Yahoo Gemini.

Yahoo’s strategy isn’t surprising though. With the slow death of traditional display or banner ads on its desktop site, Yahoo has been looking for alternating sources of advertising revenue.

This has been a major focus of Marissa Meyer ever since she took over as CEO three years back, and went on an acquisition spree, with a renewed focus on generating ad revenues from mobile, native, social and video ads.

As far as Polyvore is concerned, there won’t be any fundamental changes in the working of Polyvore although the Polyvore team would join the Yahoo offices in Sunnyvale, San Francisco and New York, with CEO Jess Lee reporting directly to Simon Khalaf.

Going forward, Polyvore will still be the same Polyvore that you love, but we’ll have more resources to make it even bigger & better. We’ve accomplished a lot on our own, but together with Yahoo we can take Polyvore to its fullest potential.

said Jess Lee in her own blog post.

Founded in 2007, Polyvore has been quite successful in attracting fashion lovers across the world as it gives them an opportunity to curate their own style by making product image collages (or “sets” as called by Polyvore), mixing and matching various styles and putting them on website.

It had raised about $22.1 million in funding by investors including Benchmark, Harrison Metal, Matrix Partners and DAG Venture and during the last funding round three years ago, the number of community members on the platform was expected to be around 20 million.

Interestingly, Polyvore was founded by three Yahoo ex-engineers Jianing Hu, Guangwei Yuan and Pasha Sadri. Also, its CEO Jess Lee who was once a community member on Polyvore and later joined as CEO, used to work under Marissa Mayer at Google under the Associate Manager Program and considers Meyer as her mentor.

On the questions of her decision of selling Polyvore, Lee said that it was “the right time and the right amount” and that she was “very, very happy with the outcome.” She also said that in addition to using this integration with Yahoo to expand Polyvore, it would also give them additional revenue to monetize. “By partnering with Yahoo we can roll out our ad platform across the Yahoo network by integrating with Yahoo Gemini,” Lee said.


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