The acqui-hiring scenario is getting more and more steam these days, with companies collaborating on new projects to achieve mutual goals. Just a few days ago, a team engaged in satellite internet services from Facebook moved to Amazon. Before that, back in March this year, social media giant Twitter had acqui-hired API integration service Reshuffle. And now, the Jack Dorsey-led company is back at it, having acqui-hired a team from subscription news aggregation and summary application Brief. This is the latest acquisition that Twitter has carried out in recent times, and involves the team moving from the one year old startup to the blue bird’s nest.
Acqui-hiring refers to an acquisition of sorts, in which a company takes over only a specific team or group of employees from another firm, instead of acquiring the firm completely.
Brief is a subscription-based news aggregator that was launched last year by a group of former Google engineers, with a view to tackle the common problems with news delivery, like media bias, information overload, and burnout, among others.
The company was co-founded by former Google Product Manager Nick Hobbs, who now serves as the CEO. Hobbs has had the experience of dealing with Google’s mobile apps, Assistant, AR, and even self-driving cars. CTO Andrea Huey too, was a senior software engineer at the tech giant, and had dealings mainly on Google iOS App, before she co-founded Brief.
While Twitter has not revealed the terms of the deal, but it does say that the team that it has acquired includes Hobbs, Huey, and two other employees, and will be joining the experiences.org group at the social media platform, in order to work on areas pertaining to public conversations on Twitter, like Explore and Twitter Spaces. This could mean that the so-called “comprehensive approach” that Brief took when it came to its way of presenting news with a hint of balance, could soon be coming to the chaos that is Explore. Moreover, the social service will, per say, not be participating (or rather, interfering) with the team’s work in these areas, and instead, is entrusting the group to “create and accelerate projects.”
This takeover apparently falls under Twitter’s M&A strategy, which has the company seeking to “acquire talent” in a bid to fuel the growth of its product by working in partnership with, and being complementary to, its existing teams. Other acquisitions over the past year include social podcasts application Breaker, distration-free reading platform Scroll, and social screen-sharing company Squad.
Hobbs expressed excitement over the merger, speaking for both Andrea and himself. He said, “Andrea and I founded Briefs to create news that fosters a healthy dialogue, and Twitter’s genuine commitment to improving public conversation is extremely inspiring,” he said. “While we can’t discuss future plans specifically, we are confident that our experience at Briefs will help accelerate the many exciting things happening on Twitter today.”
He added that he and his team remain hopeful about the future of “paid journalism.”
Meanwhile, SignalFire, one of the the chief investors at Brief, too shared its take on the deal, with Founding Partner and CTO Ilya Kyrnos saying, “That respect for its readers makes SignalFire proud to support founders Nick Hobbs and Andrea Huey, who are now bringing that philosophy to the top source of breaking news – Twitter.”