Marco Arment announced on Thursday that he has sold Instapaper to Betaworks. In a blog post, Mr. Arment said that Instapaper had grown to a point where it needed more resources—more people—to continue to grow.
Instapaper started life off as a Web app that allowed user to bookmark articles, saves the content for a later read, and then presents that content stripped of ads and other site branding. From a Web app, the service spread to iPhone and iPad, and eventually to Android, allowing users to bookmark an article anywhere and read it on the device of their choice.
"Instapaper is much bigger today than I could have predicted in 2008," Mr. Arment wrote, "and it has simply grown far beyond what one person can do. To really shine, it needs a full-time staff of at least a few people. But I wouldn’t be very good at hiring and leading a staff, and after more than five years, I’d like an opportunity to try other apps and creative projects."
Betaworks is not a fund or an incubator, according to the company's About page, and instead describe itself as, "a company that builds companies." For instance, Betaworks purchased Digg.com in 2012 and rebooted the site with a de-emphasis on comments.
Digg also includes a "Save to iPhone" feature that could be greatly expanded with Instapaper's service, though Betaworks has not yet announced what it plans for its Instapaper purchase. The company directed visitors to Marco Arment's blog post for details on the acquisition.
There, Mr. Arment wrote, "A couple of months ago, at 1:30 AM, I suddenly realized who should take it over. I jumped out of bed, tiptoed downstairs (no parent wants to wake a sleeping baby), and sent an email. It didn’t take much convincing, because we both knew it was a great fit."
Details of the deal weren't disclosed, but Mr. Arment said that he had sold a majority stake in Instapaper.
Other projects by Betaworks include Blend.io, a music-creation collaboration platform; Poncho, a weather-service that looks to us like one of the first software agents that we've been waiting for since the 1990s; tapestry, a medium for short stories; bitly, a URL shortening service, and more.
Image made with help from Shutterstock.