Skype buys GroupMe and adds group messaging

Skype announced on Sunday that it is acquiring GroupMe, just a year after the group-messaging startup officially launched to the public. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, AllThingsD reports that Skype will pay around $85 million for the company.

Skype has been focused on adding video calling to its mobile-messaging applications, but the GroupMe buy gives it more expertise in the text-based group-messaging field. GroupMe, which was born out of an all-day hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, launched in August 2010 and since then has risen to prominence based in part on the continual updates it’s made to the product. (Check out Ryan Kim’s big profile on GroupMe and founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci from last week.)

GroupMe largely won the group-messaging war against competitors like Fast Society, Kik and Beluga at this year’s SXSW, and most recently it released the latest version of its application earlier this month. That version includes questions, direct messages to other users and expanded support for mobile web browsers.

GroupMe has raised a total of about $11.5 million since being founded, including a $10.6 million funding round from Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and First Round Capital at the beginning of this year. The acquisition comes while Skype awaits the close of its own $8.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft, which was announced just a few months ago. That deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.