Another major acquisition of an Israeli startup and this time it’s mobile data analytics company Onavo. The company was acquired by social network giant Facebook, which reportedly shelled out between $100 million and $200 million. A welcome byproduct of the acquisition is the fact that all 30 Onavo employees will keep their jobs in Israel, which means that their offices will become Facebook’s first presence in Israel.
We’ve covered Onavo twice before on NoCamels. The startup, founded in in 2010, started by using cloud technology to monitor and reduce data consumption by mobile devices. Last year, the company also launched an app that enables users to actively monitor their “data hungry” apps and started focusing on analytics, offering businesses intelligence reports about apps.
Onavo‘s technology will most likely serve Facebook’s mobile department, which keeps expanding, offering specific insight into their mobile operations and usage of its mobile apps. On a scale as large as Facebook’s, with hundreds of millions of mobile users worldwide, this seems to be a valuable acquisition.
Helping to connect the world
“Three years ago, we started Onavo with the goal of helping today’s technology consumers and companies work more efficiently in a mobile world,” Onavo said on their company blog. “We developed the award-winning Onavo mobile utility apps, and later launched Onavo Insights, the first mobile market intelligence service based on real engagement data. Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data, and also helps developers, large and small, design better experiences for people.”
The company suggests that their technology may be integrated into internet.org, an initiative by Facebook and other internet giants to make internet more accessible to the billions of people with limited access, “this is a challenge we’re also passionate about,” the company said.
Facebook plants a flag in Israel
Onavo was founded by Guy Rosen (CEO) and Roi Tiger (CTO) and four of their friends who met in an elite intelligence unit in the Israeli Defense Force, named “8200.” They told NoCamels that the idea came to them after returning from the Global Mobile Congress exhibition in Barcelona last year with an “outrageous” phone bill. Onavo has so far raised $13 million in venture funding from investors including Horizons Ventures, Sequoia, Motorola and Magma Venture Partners.
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While Facebook has acquired two Israeli companies in the past (face.com and Snaptu), this is the first acquisition that allows the Israeli company to keep its operations in Israel.
There is already major international presence in Israel, with offices and R&D centers from companies like Google, Samsung and Apple operating in the country and now, Facebook is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.
When Facebook was in talks to buy Waze (which was eventually acquired by Google), the deal fell-through in part because Waze did not agree to shut down its Israeli operations and relocate the company to the US. However, this deal proves that Facebook is not reluctant to have an Israeli presence after all.
Facebook’s official reply to the Onavo acquisition: Onavo will be an exciting addition to Facebook. We expect Onavo’s data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products.