Google might be acquiring Springpad in acqui-hire deal

(Image from Flickr via Creative Commons - "Grabbing Google" by Duncan Hull)
(Image from Flickr via Creative Commons - "Grabbing Google" by Duncan Hull)

Word started to trickle in that Springpad, the Boston based note-taking application, was shutting down.

The Verge first reported the news last night, including a tidbit that the Springpad team was going to be working on another project. Springpad then confirmed on its site that it would be shutting down as of June 25.

However, a source tells us something a little more complex going on.

For a while now, Springpad has been in talks with both Google and Amazon about a possible acquisition of the company.

Springpad had been working with both companies on various projects. For Amazon, it was building a note-taking app for its Amazon phone project that has been the focus of Amazon’s Boston office and is expected to appear on the market in the Q3 of this year.

However, from what we have heard, Google had all but signed a deal to buy Springpad — but as an an acquihire of its team of engineers. A source says that the deal was supposed to close today or early next week.

So why is everyone (including the company itself) reporting that Springpad is closing up shop when they actually might be getting acquired?

There is actually a precedent for something similar happening.

Last year, note-taking app Catch mysteriously and suddenly closed its doors. However, it was later revealed (in December of last year) that Catch was actually acquired by Apple in July of 2013. Those who worked for Catch, and then Apple, kept the whole thing under wraps until the news was made official by Apple.

Two other bits of information that we have heard in relation to Springpad. For one, numbers of its total funding  are all over the place. We went with Crunchbase’s report of $7.3 million in investment funding, but Sara Castellanos reported in the Boston Business Journal that the company had raised $10 million, mostly from Fairhaven Capital. Unconfirmed reports have that number even higher, with Fairhaven coming through with an emergency funding round in December that would have brought the companies total funding within the range of $12 to $15 million.

Springpad also mentioned a way for users to move their Springpad data to another application; from what I have heard, Springpad is working with one-time rival Evernote to make that happen.

I have reached out to both Springpad and Google but have not heard anything back from either.

Update: Some key Springpad engineering team members will in fact be joining Google’s Cambridge operations.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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