Timbre, an app born in Cambridge that helps music fans find live shows, has been acquired by Seatwave, a London company that enables them to buy tickets.
Timbre was built by the employees of a mobile software development firm, Intrepid Pursuits, and launched in 2012. It’s a sweet little app that uses your current location to show you what concerts are happening nearby, and play clips of the music from each group. You can purchase tickets or share the gig with friends who might want to come along.
Timbre raised $360,000 from Atlas Venture, Boston Seed Capital, and Joe Caruso’s Bantam Group in late 2012, and Intrepid Pursuits/Timbre CEO Mark Kasdorf tells me the acquisition is “a great exit for a company that only raised a seed round,” even if it is “not a VC home run by any means.” (The price tag isn’t being disclosed, but it was a combination of cash and stock; Seatwave is privately-held.) Seatwave will keep the Timbre app and name alive, but the acquirer isn’t bringing on any of the three full-time team members who had built and maintained the app. Kasdorf says they will remain with Intrepid Pursuits, and that his firm will provide some consulting to Seatwave in the near-term.
Timbre surpassed 500,000 downloads, “which is kind of peanuts in the world of app downloads,” but users were extremely loyal to it, Kasdorf says. “We didn’t ever attempt to figure out a great monetization model, but a ticketer like Seatwave can fill our app with their [ticket] inventory, so it’s a great model for them.” (The Intrepid team is pictured at right, with Kasdorf at the upper left.)
Kasdorf tells me that Timbre basically had two choices: sell the company, or remain independent, bring on a CEO with music industry experience, and raise more money. “We came close to hiring a west coast CEO,” he says. But the company had also had been fielding interest from acquirers since shortly after its app launched. Kasdorf said “we got to second base with two other companies” last year, before signing a term sheet with Seatwave on Christmas Eve. The introduction had been made by Fred Destin, an Atlas partner who also sits on the board of Seatwave. The deal closed in late February.
Kasdorf says that the team at Intrepid Pursuits (about 30 people currently) are developing another product, which he calls a “mobile framework,” that he expects to launch later this spring. “It’s more technical, more business-to-business oriented than Timbre,” he says.
Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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