Home >Companies >News >Facebook buys Little Eye Labs in first India acquisition

Bangalore: Social media firm Facebook Inc. bought its first company in India, Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs that uses analysis and monitoring tools to help improve mobile apps, providing a much-needed fillip for India’s fledgling start-up ecosystem.

Facebook did not disclose the deal size but technology news website Techcrunch pegs the sale at $10-15 million. Mint couldn’t independently confirm this.

The Indian start-up ecosystem has struggled to catch the attention of top global technology firms, and is overshadowed by other start-ups ecosystems such as those in Israel and Chile.

The Indian start-up industry has seen only a few large deals, a recent one being Naspers Ltd’s purchase of Bangalore-based bus ticketing website last year for $135 million.

Little Eye Labs was founded in May 2012 by four Bangalore-based programmers— Giridhar Murthy, Kumar Rangarajan, who is the chief executive, Satyam Kandula and Lakshman Kakkirala.

“With this acquisition, Little Eye Labs will join forces with Facebook to take its mobile development to the next level. This is Facebook’s first acquisition of an Indian company, and we are happy to become part of such an incredible team," Little Eye said in a blogpost on its website on Wednesday.

After the deal is completed, the Little Eye Labs team of seven people, including the four founders, will move to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Little Eye will continue to build tools that help identify and fix performance problems in mobile apps, as a part of Facebook’s new offerings in the mobile arena.

“This has been a fun and exciting journey. We’re eager to be working alongside the incredible team at Facebook. And together, we’ll continue on our mission of building awesome analysis tools to aide in the development of brilliant apps," Rangarajan said in a statement.

Little Eye Labs is backed by investments from seed investors Venture East Fund and GSF Superangels, which have invested a combined $200,000-300,000 in the company.

The “acquisition is a transformative deal for not only the Indian start-up 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 start-ups are now ready for a global play."

Several experts and investors said Facebook’s purchase of Little Eye Labs would open up more such deals in the fledgling Indian start-up ecosystem.

“This is fantastic news for the Indian start-up ecosystem," said Sasha Mirchandani, founder and managing director at KAE Capital, an investment firm. “Exits such as these have happened very rarely for Indian start-ups, so hopefully this will open the floodgates for more such deals."

“The cycle has to keep going. Entrepreneurs come with ideas, investors fund companies, some get going, some make it, while a few get acquired by a Google or a Facebook," said Rutvik Doshi, an e-commerce investor with Inventus Capital Partners.

“Google, FaceBook, Yahoo have been acquiring one or two companies a week for a while, but no acquisition had been made in India. This move will open up doors for India. Now companies in the Silicon Valley will say, ‘Hey. We want to acquire, let’s look at India, there are opportunities there’." added Doshi.

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