Klout is officially the Kardashian sister of social influence startups. Without showing any demonstrable talent, the company has been acquired by Lithium Technologies for a cash and stock deal valued at almost $200 million, reports Fortune.
Even Lithium's own chief scientist, Dr. Michael Wu, expressed doubts about Klout and its ilk, as Buzzfeed reported last September:
But for companies like Klout, the window to become the trusted industry standard might be narrow. "I don't think these companies have enough computing infrastructure in place," Wu said. "But as these companies get bigger and the demand for these metrics grows, they'll need to add it quickly. If they don't, people will start to believe that influence measurement is meaningless and there will be less money coming their way."
Lithium, which provides "social customer experience solutions" for businesses, expects to IPO soon because it's startups all the way down, folks. The industry that redefined failure as a metric of honor is soft landing itself into a handful of corporations.
It's crazy that there are private startup companies that can buy other startups for $200 million. http://t.co/SailC49g8d
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) March 26, 2014
Klout, which developed an algorithm that ranked Robert Scoble higher than the President of the United States, was the social media punchline of 2012—when banks and employers were considering vetting candidates by their Klout score. But the joke is on the @haters because these dozens of Klout investors may have made their money back . . . depending on how the public markets value Lithium private stock.