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FullContact acquires Cobook

The FullContact address book.

Cobook's Mac app.

Cobook for iOS.

LoDo-based FullContact has acquired Cobook, a Latvian startup that makes address-book apps.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed; the transaction consisted of equal parts cash and stock.

FullContact Content Director Brad McCarty says it's a perfect match. "We've been watching the Cobook team for awhile," he says. "It just became obvious we were both trying to solve the same problem. We're just so well-aligned it just made sense to come together. It's one of those peanut-butter-and-jelly moments."

The product match is similarly apt. "They've been solely focused on the consumer side since their inception," says McCarty. "We were more focused on the API side for a long time."

Cobook's apps will be integrated with FullContact's APIs and cloud-based address books. "Now we don't have to spend six months or a year developing a native Mac app or a native iOS app," says McCarty.

FullContact's strategy follows a "hydra model," he adds. "It's one product with a bunch of different heads." The company currently supplies six contact-management APIs to the development community.

"The bigger product is the address book," notes McCarty. "You have all of these contacts, you bring them in from anywhere, and you do whatever you want with them."

The end goal? To free everyone's contacts from myriad corporate silos and centralize them in one comprehensive address book that automatically updates and enriches contact information, says CEO Bart Lorang, and then distributes that data to multiple devices.

The private beta for individual users went public in late 2013. "We've released our private beta to the public," says Lorang. "We now have 30,000 users, with 100,000 waiting in the wings."

An enterprise system is on the drawing board. "That's something we're definitely looking at," says McCarty of the latter.

The public beta was delayed by several months. "Software development's always a little slower than you plan," Lorang explains. "The real challenge is the contact management problem and the de-duplication problem. You might have a few Jim Smiths in your address book. They might be the same person and they might not."

FullContact now has 41 employees, including six Cobookers who are relocating to Denver. "We're building out our executive team," says Lorang. "We're always adding engineers." He anticipates hitting the 75 employee-mark by the end of 2014.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Eric Peterson with tips and leads for future stories at eric@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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