Last week Jelly, the interactive question-and-answer site, announced suddenly it had been acquired by Pinterest, the visual bookmarking network. That’s an interesting and unlikely pairing since the two services have pretty dissimilar approaches and models. And it’s not made any more clear in what has to be the oddest announcement blog post I’ve read in quite a while. Some of my favorite pull quotes are below with corresponding commentary.
“Ask jelly works as we dreamed it would.”
This statement is pretty strange as Jelly has pivoted at least twice in the last few years. It was never a big hit and failed to differentiate itself, despite launching as a visual Q&A site where people could post a picture and get crowd-sourced answers. Now it’s more of a simple structure where it simply allows people to weigh in with their expertise. So I’m just not sure what the dream vision for the site actually was because it’s much different than it was a couple years ago.
“My advice to entrepreneurs when raising another round, as Jelly was about to do, is to consider acquisition offers.”
Everyone is reading this as Jelly being unable to find interest in funding that additional round, right? It seems like the realization Jelly was unsustainable as a stand-alone business was dawning on everyone and so when Pinterest offered a lifeline the team jumped at it.
“Their mission was astonishingly similar to ours. Human powered search, a subjective search engine, and discovering things you didn’t know you need to know. These are all key to Jelly!”
This is a stretch that’s unprecedented since Fantastic Four #1 hit grocery store spinner racks in 1961.
“We’re still working out details, so there are unknowns. Will Jelly remain separate, or integrated somehow?”
This isn’t unique to Jelly/Pinterest, but it’s nevertheless shocking to me when “are we continuing as a separate company” isn’t the first thing on the agenda. If I had to guess this is simply setting the stage for Jelly to cease to exist as an independent operation and be subsumed completely into Pinterest. If Jelly is still around at the end of 2017 I’ll be shocked.