For any tech giant across industries, success and growth are possible with strategic acquisitions. Likewise, Facebook has also acquired several companies since its debut in 2004. From its modest beginnings in Harvard University by Mark Zuckerberg along with a few dorm roommates, it has grown exponentially into one of the most valuable tech companies in the world.
As of December last year, Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world with more than 1.6 billion daily active users across the world. Moving beyond social media, Facebook started acquiring businesses such as WhatsApp and Instagram to keep up its pace with the messaging industry. Also, it made numerous strategic acquisitions to increase its features and functionality and rope in talented individuals. Detailing on the same, here we list 10 noteworthy European tech startup acquisitions made by Facebook.
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Beat Games (Czech Republic)
Founder/s: Jaroslav Beck
Founded year: 2018
As Virtual Reality is all set to redefine the gaming industry, Facebook acquired Beat Games, a game studio that developed the rhythm game Beat Saber in November 2019. While the terms of the acquisition is yet to be disclosed, Beat Games has been integrated into Oculus Studio and help the latter get more content for its virtual reality headsets. With the acquisition of Beat Games, Facebook will be able to follow similar strategies as rivals in the industry such as Microsoft and Sony.
ProtoGeo Oy (Finland)
Founder/s: Juho Pennanen, Jukka Partanen, Sampo Karjalainen
Founded year: 2012
Facebook acquired Helsinki-based fitness app maker ProteGeo back in 2014. The startup is known for its high-profile app Moves, which tracks users’ daily activity passively using the phone’s inbuilt accelerometer. This way, the all-day tracking will not drain the battery of the device. While Facebook has not contributed much in the digital health industry, Facebook is expected to develop its own wearable hardware that will use the tracking capabilities of the Moves app. Despite the acquisition, Moves operates as a separate app.
Fayteq AG (Germany)
Founder/s: André Münnich
Founded year: 2011
Fayteq, a German startup behind the development of technologies for video manipulation was acquired by Facebook in 2017. The startup offered innovative technologies related to off-line and real-time video manipulation. Notably, one of its products is FayIN, which is an advanced motion tracker. Facebook has integrated Fayteq on Facebook Live as it can help in enhancing video streaming and advertising services. Soon after the acquisition, Faqteq halted sales of its products and services abruptly.
Founder/s: Cesar Valencia
Founded year: 2013
Funding: €5 million
Last year, Facebook acquired PlayGiga, which is a Madrid-based cloud gaming startup for a sum of €70 million. It has been working with telecom operators to create streaming game tech for 5G that will help tech companies to reach more mobile gamers. And, PlayGiga also developed a gaming-as-a-service platform with Intel’s Visual Cloud platform. Facebook is building a gaming business that is touted to have over 700 million monthly users and this Spanish startup will also be integrated into the same.
Founder/s: Dirk Stoop, Jasper Hauser, Koen Bok
Founded year: 2006
Amsterdam-based Sofa, a software design company was acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed amount in 2011. This startup was known for its Mac applications and e-commerce products on the web, and was involved in creating its own designs including icons, art, and interfaces for high-profile clients. Eventually, Sofa has joined the Facebook design team and moved to Palo Alto. Despite the acquisition, Sofa’s key products – Versions and Kaleidoscope were excluded and these apps will continue to function.
Founder/s: Dave Hrycyszyn, George Danezis, Ramsey Khoury, Alberto Sonnino
Founded year: 2018
As blockchain is a buzzword, Facebook acquired Chainspace, a smart contracts platform for an undisclosed amount. Facebook has acquired the whole company including its employees. As a result of the merger, Chainspace will be integrated into the Facebook Blockchain division. Chainspace has been helping people build high-performance blockchain applications using popular technologies and languages on commodity cloud platforms. Now, it will be used by Facebook to create a stable coin to power cross-border transactions via WhatsApp.
Zurich Eye (Switzerland)
Founder/s: Manuel Werlberger
Founded year: 2015
Zurich Eye, a group formed by members of the University of Zurich and EMT was acquired by the social media giant Facebook in 2016 and integrated into Oculus VR. Following the acquisition, the team at the startup joined Oculus’ new Zurich office. The startup’s solutions are relevant to inside-out tracking, which refers to headsets that feature position-tracking using an embedded solution instead of external sensors. Given that Oculus has already developed its own inside-out tracking solution, Zurich Eye’s acquisition will help Oculus in the development of the same.
MSQRD aka Masquerade (Belarus)
Founder/s: Eugene Nevgen, Sergey Gonchar
Founded year: 2010
Facebook acquired Masquerade Technologies, which is a startup famous for Snapchat-like funny selfie-altering tool MSQRD that grabbed 15 million users in as soon as three months of its launch. The acquisition took place in 2016 and the amount involved in the deal remains undisclosed. Facebook acquired Masquerade at a time when there is an interesting development and heavy competition among messaging apps. Notably, Facebook has strong dominance in the messaging apps market with Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Bloomsbury AI (UK)
Founder/s: Guillaume Bouchard, Tim Rocktäschel, Matko Bosnjak, Sameer Singh, Luis Ulloa, Sebastian Riedel
Founded year: 2015
Funding: €1.2 million
Back in 2018, Facebook acquired London-based Bloomsbury AI for a sum of €26.5 million. The startup uses natural language processing and has developed an AI process called Cape to read documents and answer questions about their contents. Given that Facebook has a strict policy when it comes to the spread of fake news and misinformation, the acquisition of Bloomsbury AI will strengthen its efforts in natural language processing research and understand its application. It is possible that those applications could detect misinformation and problematic content.
Stock photo from Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock
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