Twitter Buys Boston-Based Spindle, Team Heading to S.F.

Twitter’s gone shopping in Boston again.

Spindle, a Boston-based startup that culls social-media messages to give consumers a view of what’s happening nearby, announced today that it has been acquired by Twitter.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It appears to be a “talent acquisition,” since the Spindle service is shutting down and its team relocating to San Francisco.

Spindle had raised $2.3 million in seed funding from a long list of investors: Polaris Ventures, Greylock Partners, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Atlas Venture, Broad Beach Ventures, and Project 11, along with former Microsoft technical chief Ray Ozzie and Raman Narayanan.

Twitter’s other two Boston-area acquisitions—advertising data service Bluefin Labs and mobile-app analytics startup Crashlytics—have both stayed in Boston, forming the basis of Twitter’s office here. We reported that Twitter spent more than $100 million (in cash and stock) for Crashlytics, and around $100 million for Bluefin Labs.

Spindle was founded by former Microsoft employees, including CEO Pat Kinsel. The startup was among the software companies trying to perfect local search on mobile devices by tapping into the flood of information being generated by companies and everyday people.

At the base of this problem is a pretty basic behavior for the smartphone age: A consumer whipping out their sensor-laden mobile device, trying to figure out where to eat or what to do for fun when they’re out on the town.

Nobody’s really hit on the solution yet, although some big names have tried for years—Google, Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, and quite a few startups. By buying Spindle, you can assume that Twitter is hoping to get more serious about local search, too.

“By joining forces with Twitter, we can do so much more to help you find interesting, timely, and useful information about what’s happening around you,” Spindle said in its blog post.

Earlier this year, CEO Kinsel told me that Spindle believed its technology was solid enough to create plenty more applications beyond aggregating social-media streams for mobile users. “We really believe strongly in this app. But on the technology side, we’re trying to do much more,” Kinsel said.

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