Instapaper sold to Betaworks

Instapaper sold to Betaworks

Marco Arment, creator of popular read-it-later service Instapaper, has sold a majority stake in the service to Betaworks. Arment was concerned that he alone was not able to give Instapaper the attention that it needed going forward, determining that to remain healthy, it would need a full team of developers.

Instapaper is much bigger today than I could have predicted in 2008, and it has simply grown far beyond what one person can do. To really shine, it needs a full-time staff of at least a few people. But I wouldn’t be very good at hiring and leading a staff, and after more than five years, I’d like an opportunity to try other apps and creative projects. Instapaper needs a new home where it can be staffed and grown, but I didn’t want to give it to a big company that would probably just shut it down in six months.

Betaworks is also the owner of the Digg brand, which they purchased last July. Arment has said that he will continue to advise the development of Instapaper indefinitely, while Betaworks takes over the day-to-day operations and workload. He says that Betaworks will be a good home for Instapaper, and they will be able to give it the attention that it deserves.


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Joseph Keller

News Writer for Mobile Nations. Fascinated by the ways that technology connects us.

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Reader comments

Instapaper sold to Betaworks


Never really understood the need for a "read-it-later service." If I can't read it online now, I'll bookmark it and read it online later. Got Instapaper as a free Pick of the Week from a certain coffee franchise, but have never used it.

Having said that, I absolutely love The Magazine, another one of Marco's creations. Incredibly good. I "read that later" when I'm offline.

If you always have Internet access I could see your point but instapaper comes in real handy for me. Whether it's a plane ride or waiting for an appointment somewhere that doesn't have web access, you always have articles ready to be read. Pretty much any long article that I want to read gets instapapered and I read it later when I actually have time to sit down.

Yes, I see your point. I subscribe to a few magazines (e.g. "The Magazine") in Newsstand and always have a book queued up in iBooks, so I don't miss the web all that acutely. So maybe I misspoke. I do understand the need for read-it-later services, but I haven't actually needed them at all.

I switched to Pocket because Instapaper doesn't have an OS X client, and Pocket does. My main use for both services revolve around tagging interesting links and articles from my Twitter feed to and from work. I then read them at my Mac when I get home. Hopefully this acquisition may lead to an OS X client.

Maybe that's what Marco meant when he said Instapaper needed to be "staffed and grown." Multiple platforms: Mac, possibly, Windows, and of course Android. Really too much for one person to design, code, test, document, maintain, and update in any reasonable time frame.

Currently you can buy ReadKit to read/save Instapaper articles on your Mac (and before that Read Later was free until Pocket bought them and ripped out the Instapaper support), but as long as you're on your Mac there's no reason not to simply read via as well.

I found Pocket more useful because it saves photos to its server so that I can see whole articles from work-restricted gaming sites (Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Gamasutra, for example).

This I'm sure is a great thing for this. company. I love the app and in sure this will fit with the rest of their apps.