Facebook 'acqui-hires' payments startup Tugboat Yards

Tugboat's payment service will shut down on June 30 as the team moves to Facebook to work on news and video products.

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Tugboat Yards -- a San Francisco-based startup that helps content creators accept digital payments -- is shutting down and moving to Facebook.

Tugboat CEO and co-founder Andrew Anker announced the news in a company blog post, explaining that the service will begin shutting down on June 30 as the team transitions to Facebook to work on news and video products.

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Founded in 2012, Tugboat and its embeddable widgets became popular among publishers and content creators looking to solicit financial support from fans without involvement in complex payment schemes.

"Our initial reason for starting Tugboat -- that there was a missing audience management platform for small to medium publishers -- remains valid three years later," Anker wrote in the blog post. "We are excited by the opportunity to work on solving these problems with a much broader scope at Facebook."

Anker failed to divulge exactly how the social networking giant plans to use the Tugboat team or its technology. But given Facebook's recent efforts to grow its news platform, Tugboat's expertise could fit in nicely with Facebook's overall publishing ambitions.

Anker did however suggest a few alternate services for current Tugboat users, including Memberful, TinyPass and Patreon.

Facebook has not commented on the deal, and it's not clear how many members of the Tugboat team will move on to Facebook.

Update: According to a representative from Facebook, the social networking giant did not buy Tugboat, making this "more of acqui-hire" than a formal acquisition.

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