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Facebook makes its first Indian acquisition

Buys Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs

Itika Sharma Punit & Shivani Shinde Nadhe  |  Bangalore 

In its first acquisition in India, social media giant Facebook has bought Little Eye Labs, a Bangalore-based software product start-up, for an undisclosed amount. The spokesperson for the US-based company confirmed this on Wednesday but did not divulge details.

According to industry sources, the deal could be between $10 million and $15 million (Rs 62 crore and Rs 93 crore). Business Standard had last month reported the were in talks for a likely buyout.

Incorporated in May 2012, Little Eye Labs builds performance analysis and monitoring tools that identify and rectify performance problems for Android app developers.

Acquisitions of product with Indian link
has acquired Little Eye Labs (Bangalore-based firm)
bought Flutter (US-based Indian-founded firm)
bought Slide Share (co-founded by Rashmi Sinha)
acquired Cosmic Circuits (Bangalore-based firm)
acquired Gluster (US-based firm with development centre in Bangalore)
bought DimDim (backed by Index Ventures, Nexus India Capital and Draper Richards)

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In a blog posted on the company’s website, Little Eye Labs co-founder Kumar Rangarajan said: “Today, we’re very excited to announce that Facebook is acquiring our company. With this acquisition, Little Eye Labs will join forces with Facebook to take its mobile development to the next level!”

Little Eye Labs had last year received investment between $100,000 and $200,000 from GSF Accelerator, an early-stage start-up incubator.

Industry experts say the acquisition shows Facebook’s seriousness about its mobile strategy — an increased number of users now access Facebook through mobile devices, but the social media platform still lags like microblooging website Twitter.

“At Facebook, we remain focused on producing useful and engaging mobile apps. The Little Eye Labs technology will help us improve our Android code base to make more efficient, higher-performing apps,” said Subbu Subramanian, Facebook’s engineering manager.

Little Eye Labs was founded by four Bangalore-based programme analysts — Giridhar Murthy, who had earlier worked at Apple Inc; Kumar Rangarajan, who had worked at IBM and HP; Satyam Kandula, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus; and Lakshman Kakkirala, a former employee of IBM and Yahoo!. At present, Rangarajan is the company’s CEO.

Facebook’s acquisition of Little Eye Labs is on the lines of ‘acqui-hires’, under which big buy out smaller ones and use their manpower and resources to work on other products as well. Under the present agreement, the Little Eye Labs team would move to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Rangarajan said.

“From there (the California headquarters), we’ll be able to leverage Facebook’s world-class infrastructure and help improve the performance of their already awesome apps. For us, this is an opportunity to make an impact on the more than one billion people who use Facebook,” he said.

According to CrunchBase, a database of technology companies, Little Eye Labs has seven employees, including Gaurav Lochan, a former Flipkart employee.

The deal is also seen as a boost for Indian product companies, which have been trying to establish themselves on the global map. “Such a deal is a lifeblood for our ecosystem and is an indicator that India is moving forward to become a products nation,” said Sharad Sharma, co-founder of software product think-tank Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable (iSpirt).

iSpirt has been working to facilitate such mergers & acquisitions through its M&A Connect programme, which helps Indian product companies find global buyers. Sharma said more such deals could be in the pipeline.

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First Published: Thu, January 09 2014. 00:58 IST