March 1, 2016 Last Updated 1:49 pm

London-based Poetica acquired by Condé Nast, public service of platform will be discontinued

Poetica will integrated platform into Condé Nast’s existing content platform, copilot; currently users have until June 1 download drafts of complete back-ups of their work

The magazine publisher Condé Nast has made an acquisition that feels more like an acquihire: the company announced that it had acquired London-based Poetica.

The Poetica acquisition offers Condé Nast a proprietary technology for collaborating on content in real time, offering Google Docs-style editing to web-based content. But for current users of Poetica it means the end of the service.

Poetica-flag“Our goal with Poetica has always been to support writers and editors in their work. There’s an immense well of creativity that was – and still is – held back by inferior tools,” the company said in announcing its acquisition. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, and we’re proud of what we’ve built so far. Our technology and design enable the sort of collaboration that a few short years ago was only accessible to those who could climb the steep learning curve of arcane tools like git.”

“Up until now, though, we’ve been a small five-person team. We’ve tackled the dual problems of creating a humane, intuitive, and collaborative way to interact with text, on any device and any content platform; and the parallel challenge of creating a viable business model. Unfortunately, these goals were often at odds with each-other, competing for our limited time and attention,” the staff at Poetica said.

About a year and a half ago Apple acquired, or acquihired the founders of TRVL which quickly ended their effort to promote their own digital publishing platform Prss. The founders ended up working on the Apple News app, if rumors were true, though only one of the founders still remains at Apple.

Condé Nast, on the other hand, is clearly more committed to publishing than Apple would ever be expected to be, so this deal has a better chance of working out for all involved. The Poetica team will remain based in London and the company’s platform will be integrated into Condé Nast’s existing content platform, copilot.

As for current Poetica customers, the service will continue until June 1. Condé Nast did not buy any customer information, Poetica wants to assure current users. Drafts that were created on Poetica will be downloadable in ODT format until June 1st, and a full backup of drafts will be available in a raw JSON format until June 1st.

Here is the announcement of the acquisition from Condé Nast:

NEW YORK, NY — March 1, 2016 — Condé Nast has expanded the company’s portfolio of digital products and talent with today’s acquisition of leading editorial tech company, Poetica. The addition of Poetica brings a highly talented engineering and design team and a new editorial product to Condé Nast, enhancing the company’s ability to seamlessly and quickly deliver world-class content to audiences across all platforms. The Poetica team joins Condé Nast’s established network of digital product teams in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Fred Santarpia, executive vice president and chief digital officer of Condé Nast.

Poetica screen“Condé Nast is building the best possible editorial platform to manage and deliver content from our world-class team of writers, editors, designers and photographers,” said Santarpia. “We started with our proprietary content platform system, copilot, and with the addition of Poetica, we significantly advance our mission of providing our edit teams the enhanced ability to collaborate on content creation in real time, on any device.”

Founded in 2012 and based in London, Poetica has developed proprietary technology for collaborating on content in real time, which can be integrated with any content management system and brings Google Docs-style editing to any web-based content. The company is headed by co-founder and chief executive officer Anna Maybank (formerly of Bethnal Green Ventures) and co-founder, chief technology officer Blaine Cook (founding engineer of Twitter) and co-founder and chief product officer James Weiner (formerly of the UK’s Government Digital Service). Poetica will be integrated into Condé Nast’s existing content platform, copilot, and the team will remain based in London.

“In Condé Nast, we’ve found the perfect partner to bring Poetica’s technology to the best content creators in the world,” said Maybank. “As a team, we’re excited to be at the heart of one of the world’s greatest publishing companies as it develops new ways to produce top-quality content for the web.”

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