In Mobile Push, Facebook Buys Israel-Based Data Analytics Startup Onavo
Facebook is finally putting stakes down in Israel. Today, the social network acquired Onavo, a Tel Aviv-based mobile data analytics company, reportedly for as much as $200 million. Onavo co-founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger announced the deal on their website.
Founded in 2010, Onavo builds mobile apps aimed at improving battery life as well as overall device and app performance. The company also has an analytics side, offering services for app makers and publishers to rank their performance and adoption compared to competitors.
Onavo will continue to sell its apps, but the company's technology and talent will also be used to improve Facebook's own mobile offerings.
In addition to helping improve Facebook's own, arguably lackluster mobile app, the idea is that Onavo can be of service in Mark Zuckerberg's mission with Internet.org to provide internet access to those in the world without it.
"We're excited to join their team, and hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org's most significant goals -- using data more efficiently, so that more people around the world can connect and share," Rosen and Tiger said in the post.
"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," Facebook said in a statement to TechCrunch.
Onavo, which had raised $13 million in venture funding before the deal, is not the first Israeli company Facebook has acquired. The social network bought phone interface developer Snaptu for $70 million in 2011 and Face.com, a photo-sharing platform for up to $60 million in June 2012. Facebook was also reportedly interested in purchasing mobile navigation company Waze earlier this year before it was acquired by Google.
Onavo's 30 or so employees will continue to work in Israel as it becomes Facebook's first and only physical office in the country.
Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.