“We’re always on the lookout for ways we can make the total experience of Etsy better — out in the world, on your computer, and in your pocket,” Randy Hunt, Etsy’s creative director, said in a statement Tuesday. “These talented designers and developers built a mobile app that helps you make and share fun, beautiful photo collages. Now they are going to help us do even more with Etsy’s mobile platform. It’s going to be awesome.”
Mixel was launched in November 2011 as an iPad app, later adding a simplified service for the iPhone. AllThingsD reports that the small team has been in a number of meetings with interested buyers before deciding to take the short trip from its Union Square offices to Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TechCrunch reports that they were “modest at best,” making the buyout more akin to an "acquisition-hire" than a large-scale corporate merger. Mixel co-founder and CEO Khoi Vinh, who previously worked as the design director for the New York Times’ website, has assumed a position as Etsy’s mobile product design director.
The Mixel team said it will continue supporting its iOS apps with routine maintenance and updates outside of its work at Etsy, the only difference being that new versions of the Mixel app will no longer offer social networking features for users.
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“Once you update your app, you'll no longer have access to the social network,” Mixel said in a statement Tuesday. “But don't worry, you can still access your work: The new version will let you import all of the mixels you made from our servers into our new, private gallery, built right into the app.”
According to Hunt’s statement, Etsy's mobile usage increased by 244 percent in 2012 and now represents 25 percent of all visits to the service. Since the company rolled out new iPad and Android apps late last year, the company is prioritizing its mobile user-experience for the coming years -- Mike Brittain, the company’s director of mobile engineering, told AllThingsD that it expects mobile traffic to exceed desktop usage by 2015.
But most of that mobile traffic still comes from browser-based access on a smartphone or tablet, a fact that no doubt feels like a compromise to a design-conscious brand like Etsy. And dropping social networking from Mixel can only mean that Etsy’s native mobile apps will be trying out new experiments in combining social media with e-commerce in the coming months.
“Mixel and Etsy are both about empowering creative people through the products and communities we’ve built,” Hunt concluded in his statement. “It’s a natural fit!”