The Economic Times: January 09, 2014
New Delhi: The news is out. Facebook has acquired Banglore based Little Eye Labs, a company building performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile app developers. The acquisition has been confirmed on the website of Little Eye Labs.
The acquisition is an obvious indicator of Facebook's mobile ambitions, which have been on the strategy tables since 2013. When it comes to access via mobile devices, Facebook has lagged behind rivals like Twitter.
This is the first Indian acquisition by Facebook, and is being touted as a door opener. "We're acquiring Little Eye Labs, a company that produces world-class technology to help developers build more efficient products with Android, " said Facebook engineering manager Subbu Subramanian.
He said Facebook is focused on producing useful and engaging mobile apps. "The Little Eye Labs technology will help us to continue improving our Android codebase to make more efficient, higher-performing apps," said Subramanian.
Other acquisitions Facebook has made to strengthen its mobile products include Parse, a mobile-backend-as-a-service startup it bought in April 2013. Facebook also recently made an unsuccessful attempt to buy instant messaging firm Snapchat, which reportedly turned down Facebook's $3 bn offer.
Both the companies did not reveal the financial details of the transaction, but according to people familiar with the development, the deal is worth Rs 62 crore-Rs 93 crore. Little Eye Labs team will move to Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, where it will build analysis tools to help develop apps.
Little Eye Labs was founded in May 2012 by four Bangalore-based technology professionals--Giridhar Murthy, Kumar Rangarajan, Satyam Kandula, Lakshman Kakkirala after working at companies such as Apple, IBM, HP and Yahoo.
"This has been a fun and exciting journey. We're eager to be working alongside the incredible team at Facebook,"said Kumar Rangarajan, chief executive of Little Eye Labs. "And together, we'll continue on our mission of building awesome analysis tools to aide in the development of brilliant apps."
Little Eye Labs has received seed round of funding from GSF Superangels and VenturEast Tenet Fund.
"This acquisition is a transformative deal for not only the Indian startup ecosystem but also for the whole of the emerging world," said Rajesh Sawhney, founder of GSF Accelerator."This validates GSF's core tenet that Indian product startups are now ready for a global play."
Experts hope small-size technology ventures in India will attract the attention of larger firms.
"This acquisition is an indication of what will be happening this year. We will see many sub $40 million (Rs 248 crore) kind of deals," said Sharad Sharma co founder of software product think-tank iSpirt.
"Smaller exits are the life blood for healthy startup ecosystems like in Israel and US," said Sharma who is running an active M&A Connect Program at iSpirt that is curating a list of several dozen companies.
In 2013, there were 100 merger and acquisition deals across the India's information technology industry. Of this, 31 whose value was announced were worth $1,906 million (Rs 11,807 crore), according to research firm Venture Intelligence.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.