The biggest deal in the history of the Ukrainian Internet was completed a few days ago. In the late night hours of September 24, Viewdle’s board approved its takeover by Google.
Google agreed to buy 100% of the Ukrainian start-up. Late on October 2nd Viewdle management made the announcement to their staff. Google has a branch office in Kiev.
Viewdle had developed a face and object detection system, which is widely used in search technology. Last year, using this technology, Google launched a search by images service, where the search query uses image files that are downloaded into the search engine.
The Viewdle purchase was for an undisclosed amount. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, it is comparable to the money that Google has laid out for similar companies: Neven Vision and PittPatt. As with Viewdle, these startups are developing pattern recognition technology. In 2006, Google bought the German company Neven Vision, according to unofficial sources, for $45 million, and in 2011, the American company PittPatt for $38 million. The founders of Viewdle were planning to generate about $30 million from the sale, but “in fact turned out to be even more” says Forbes magazine .
Viewdle founders Yuriy Musatenko and Yegor Anchishkin saw commercial prospects in the development of image recognition software at the Kiev Institute of Cybernetics. They received Angel investment from the businessmen of the American diaspora, among which was the former Odessa resident Yuri Friman – the current chairman of the board of Viewdle.
In 2008, the investment fund Anthem Venture Partners bought 25% of the company for $2 million. Two years after, in a second round of investment, funds Qualcomm Ventures, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Best Buy Capital bought an additional issue for $10 million, valuing the company at $13.5 million. In the past, the founders of Viewdle told Forbes that the company was shown interest from a worldwide smartphone manufacturer.
As it turned out, the anonymous bidder was Motorola. But when Google and Motorola entered into negotiations for the sale of mobile units, the vendor’s interest in Viewdle was temporarily forgotten. After the deal between the two giants in May 2012, the company has renewed its interest in the Ukrainian startup.
Team members of the start-up number just 34. It turns out that each employee cost Google more than $1 million. The corporation has not yet announced future plans for the new acquisition Viewdle. It is unknown whether the employees will continue to work for the corporation from Ukraine or move to one of Google’s R & D centers in Europe or America.
Viewdle owns several patents. According to Yuri Friman, in terms of the current patent wars this is a big plus. In addition to Google’s purchase, similar start-ups have been absorbed by Apple and Facebook. In 2010, Apple bought Swedish Polar Rose for $28 million, and in 2012, Facebook absorbed face.com with a transaction amount somewhere between $70 to $ 100 million.
SEO comments: Shortly after I posted this article, it showed up on Google as the second result for the key word 'viewdle':