Skype, who is in the processing of being bought by Microsoft, just did a little buying of their own. They plunked down a rumored $85 million for group texting company GroupMe.
The GroupMe app was designed to solve a very basic problem — group decision making. If you’ve ever tried to plan a night out with four different you understand the issue. Fred calls Joe and suggests sushi, Joe calls Mary who says she doesn’t like sushi, so Joe texts Fred to say pick somewhere else, but in the meantime Fred is on the phone trying to talk Louise into coming out for sushi with him, while Mary texts Louise telling her Fred’s a loser and they’re all going for pizza. Next thing you know it’s 10:00 at night and no one has left the house yet.
Now, with the GroupMe app, Fred, Joe, Mary and Louise can all get their own private mobile chatroom where they can hash out the details in time to beat the dinner crowd (and with a 50% off coupon from Foursquare!)
According to FastCompany, GroupMe already handles more than a million messages a day, and they turned down a $30 mil offer from Twitter. Seems like Skype is a better fit anyway as both companies are more about two-way conversation. Twitter thinks they’re two-way, but mostly, they’re not.
GroupMe with or without Skype is an excellent tool for the small business as it allows all the members of the team to get on the same page at the same time. As far as using it for marketing, there are possibilities. Lollaplooza set up a GroupMe number for folks attending their music festival. Kind of like a Twitter event hashtag, but more direct.
For the time being, GroupMe will continue business as usual but the goal is to add their functionality to Skype’s system. It all goes to Skype’s ultimate goal which is to become the switchboard for all of planet Earth. And if we ever discover intelligent life on other planets, we’ll probably use Skype to contact them, too.
Do you use GroupMe? I’d like to hear about your experience.