Highly, a Madison and San Francisco tech startup that offers an online text highlighting tool, has been "acquihired" by Twitter. That's the term the tech giant used to confirm the deal to BizTimes Milwaukee.
McFarland native and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater alumnus Eric Wuebben co-founded Highly, and was based at the StartingBlock tech hub in Madison. Wuebben in 2014 created the platform with Andrew Courter, who grew up in Verona and was based in San Francisco. The pair met at a Madison advertising firm years ago, and later worked together at startup StudyBlue when it was based in Madison, Wuebben said.
As the only employees of Highly, Wuebben and Courter were hired on by Twitter in the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed. Wuebben will work for the tech giant out of its New York office.
The pair came up with the idea to make sharing links more social, Wuebben said.
“At our previous jobs, we were sharing a lot of article content with our colleagues,” he said. “It’s kind of that feeling, too, of no one reads the links you send them and we thought we could do something better.”
Highly is available as a Chrome extension, so it can be used to highlight a variety of websites. The co-founders intentionally did not build comments into Highly because it was built to share on social networks like Twitter, Wuebben said.
“We wanted to create a tool for the reader, so it had to travel with them wherever you wanted to read,” he said.
Highly had previously raised $1.8 million in investor funding. Among its investors was Twitter co-founder Ev Williams.
“I’m very stoked about the work ahead. They are such an important platform. So for us to take our expertise into that environment is really exciting,” Wuebben said.
"We are excited to welcome the Highly team to Twitter," a Twitter spokesman said in a statement. "Their expertise will accelerate our product and design thinking around making Twitter more conversational."