In its latest bid to restore itself to relevancy, Blackberry today announced that it had acquired Funnly, which the company hopes will “bolster its mobile experience.”
Launched just two weeks ago, Funnly is a mobile video app that converts long videos into short clips for smartphone users. Founded by eight-year-old aspiring programming whiz, Mick D’Angelo, the app aims at users on the go who simply don’t have the time or the bandwidth to watch through a feature film.
According to technology news site, AllThingsT, the acquisition was not cheap, likely in the ballpark of “$50-60 million.”
“Yes, we know we’re taking a huge gamble with Funnly,” explains Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins. “People can call us crazy all they want, but when we see an opportunity, we never let it pass us by.”
“Yeah, I was totally surprised,” D’Angelo said about first learning of Blackberry’s interest. “I was playing Minecraft after school one afternoon when my Mom knocks on my door. She tells me that the CEO of Blackberry wanted to talk with me. Here I am thinking ‘Come on man! Don’t you know that I’m busy?’ So, I told him to call me back later.”
D’Angelo is currently in the fifth grade and lives in Poland with his parents and two older brothers. He says that a couple months ago, he signed up for the website Codecademy, which teaches people how to program.
“I’ve still got like ten lessons left to go in the Python track,” he says of his progress so far.
Prior to its acquisition, Funnly was still in stealth mode and in the early stages of development. According to D’Angelo, he hopes that with his new gig at Blackberry, he can finally move the app beyond simple wireframe sketches on his iPad.
Yahoo, another Silicon Valley company also struggling to return to its glory days, made headlines on Monday when news came out that it had acquired the news-reading app Summly, which was founded by a 17-year-old high school student.
For Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio, his short-lived title as the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding could be described in true Summly fashion: “8 is the new 17.”