Charlotte voice-to-text startup Yap quietly acquired by Amazon | CLT Blog
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Charlotte voice-to-text startup Yap quietly acquired by Amazon

Posted on 9 Nov 2011 by Justin Ruckman

Yap’s first and only branded consumer product, Yap Voicemail, was a Google-Voice-like transcription app available for iOS and Android. I used it for over a year, since it was still in private beta. So I was surprised last month when I received a notice that the service was to be discontinued, effective in only a matter of days.

I knew the company was a lot more than its consumer app, with “IP in every iPhone and Android device” as Igor once told me. But as one of Charlotte’s most notable startups, I had to know: what did this spell for Yap’s future?

A lot, apparently.

Though an acquisition isn’t yet public, SEC filings show that as of September 8, Yap Inc. was acquired, by way of Yarmuth Dion Inc., with the surviving corporation having a mailing address that just happens to be at Amazon’s Corporate Headquarters in Seattle.


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Financial details of the acquisition were, of course, not disclosed, but I’d wager they’re sitting well, based on the scope of Yap’s IP, and Amazon’s apparent lack of any voice recognition technology in even their newest Kindle devices.

This is great news for Igor and Victor, the Jablokov brothers who founded Yap in 2006. They’ve set a fantastic example for Charlotte, a city with a rapidly growing tech/internet entrepreneurial community (see: Packard Place, Queen City Forward, Charlotte Startup Weekend, Hackerspace Charlotte, etc.), one that is eager for proof that locally-grown tech startups are worth investing in.

Yap joins an elite list of Charlotte tech startups with blockbuster exits:

Last month the Atlantic ran a special report called Start-Up Nation: A trip through the South in search of the next Silicon Valley. The editorial-slash-road-trip practically skipped over Charlotte entirely, yet managed to hit the likes of Chatanooga, TN; Savannah, GA; and Shreveport, LA.

Maybe next time they can drop by the Queen City for a spell.

Download the complete acquisition filing here (PDF). Previous coverage of Yap here and here.

Comments

  1. Scott Lundgren 9 Nov 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Paragraph 4 states financial terms were not disclosed but paragraph 6 characterizes the exit as blockbuster.

    To be a blockbuster exit, it would have to be above the typical 10x ROI that a VC wants. Therefore the exit would have to have been above $80 million ($1.5 million initial round of 2007 + $6.5 million series A of 2008). I doubt that was the case.

  2. Bernd Hess 9 Nov 2011 at 1:01 PM

    North Carolina = NC = New California

  3. Wuori 9 Nov 2011 at 1:05 PM

    And that’s the dream. Very good for Charlotte!

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  5. Michael Solender 9 Nov 2011 at 2:09 PM

    great scoop here justin

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  7. Luis Costales 9 Nov 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Wow great news for the Charlotte community. Congrats Yap!

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  45. Gerard M.B. Pean 9 Nov 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Fantastic voyage for Amazon. They are vying to be real jungle warriors

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  49. Desiree Kane 9 Nov 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Hell yeah! Great job on this story, Justin!!!

    Charlotte DOES have the start-up chops to compete with other cities!! woot woot! I love seeing this. Great job, Yap!

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  94. Rick Fitts 10 Nov 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Great detective work.

  95. Rick Fitts 10 Nov 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Great story. great work

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  107. Steve K. 19 Dec 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Wow, how did I miss this earlier? Great job on the story, Justin — and congrats to everyone at Yap!

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    Good job Justin!

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