Yahoo Buys Mobile Start-up Zofari

In its latest talent acquisition, Yahoo is buying mobile local search startup Zofari. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Launched in 2012, the company makes the Zofari City Guides app for iOS, Android and the mobile Web, offering recommendations for local venues based on other places they like.

Under the agreement, the start-up’s four-person team will join Yahoo Search. “Zofari and Yahoo share a common goal to make the world an easier place to explore for as many people as possible," read a Yahoo statement Tuesday.

“Inspired by what Pandora has done for music and Netflix has done for movies, we built (what we think) is a beautiful and powerful recommendation app that allows users to discover new places based on the restaurants, bars and cafes they know and love,” explained a Zofari blog post announcing the Yahoo deal, reported earlier by TechCrunch.



The Zofari iPhone app (all versions) had a 4.5-star rating in the App Store, but was based on only input from 14 reviewers, suggesting it hasn’t had a lot of traction to date. It has a 3.5-star rating in the Google Play store, based on 96 reviews. The company plans to maintain Zofari City Guides as a stand-alone app for now.

The purchase continues Yahoo’s torrid pace of acquisitions under CEO Marissa Mayer, now approaching 40 since the start of last year. A good chunk have gone toward bolstering the Web giant’s mobile capabilities, including the purchase of app analytics and advertising firm Flurry last month.

Bringing on the Zofari team could help Yahoo accelerate its expansion of mobile local search, which BIA/Kelsey has projected will be a $4.3 billion market this year, increasing to $10.9 billion in 2018. Yahoo earlier this year partnered with Yelp to increase market share of local queries on its search engine.

The Zofari employees could also help Yahoo build a standalone local search and recommendations app that would compete with the likes of Yelp, Foursquare and YP as it expands its app portfolio. “We can't talk about what we're working on yet, but needless to say we are very, very excited,” stated the Zofari post.

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