Twitter Acquires Portland-based Values of N, Gets New Talent

11/25/08Follow @gthuang

Values of n, a collaborative-software startup in Portland, OR, has been acquired by San Francisco-based Twitter for an undisclosed amount. The startup’s existing products will be shut down on December 8, but “the technology behind the scenes will live on and potentially re-emerge as part of Twitter’s systems, services, user experience, or open source libraries,” according to a blog post by Twitter CEO Ev Williams yesterday evening.

From all appearances, this was a talent grab. Twitter has hired Values of n’s founder, Rael Dornfest, an engineer and author who did early work on RSS Web feed technologies and served as chief technology officer at O’Reilly Media. Dornfest joins Twitter as the newest member of its engineering team, according to Williams. “A short while ago it became clear to Rael that while the innovative personal productivity and information management applications his startup had created were useful products with a loyal following, Values of n was not going to meet its huge expectations as a standalone business,” Williams writes.

Dornfest notes on his own blog that the Twitter courtship has been ongoing. “I started consulting there a few months ago, and fell in love with the team, their way of thinking about things, and of course the product,” he writes. “It turns out we worked incredibly well together, the feeling was mutual, and they pulled me in as a permanent member of the team.”

Twitter, the micro-messaging company that recently turned down a $500 million stock acquisition offer from Facebook, gets the assets and intellectual property of Values of n, including its smart sticky-note software and its personal-assistant application that works over e-mail, texting, and the Web. In 2006, Values of n raised at least $500,000 from First Round Capital, Magnus Ventures, and Sherpalo Ventures, according to Northwest Innovation.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • Krassen Dimitrov

    Union Square Ventures is the lead investor in Twitter and they manage funds for the Oregon PERS. Hopefully, the success of Twitter/USV will offset some of the damage done to PERS by other venture firms (i.e. OVP), so that the public employees of Oregon are not left high and dry…