Social media giant Facebook has grown faster than almost anyone could have expected over the past 11 years. In order to keep innovating over a long period of time, it has turned to acquiring startups for fresh ideas.
Its acquisitions have included messaging app WhatsApp and image sharing social network Instagram, which cost the company a total of $20bn. Here are the startups Facebook has acquired in the past year.
Timeline for US tech giants
Facebook acquisitions you need to know
1. Confirm.io – January 2018
The first acquisition for Facebook this year is the ID verification startup, Confirm.io. Based in Boston, the startup’s API allowed companies to verify a government-issued ID card, such as a driver’s license.
It was also working on mobile biometrics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity.
it is not clear whether the Confirm.io team will go on to do this at Facebook. According to a statement on Confirm.io’s website:
“When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together and we look forward to the future at Facebook.”
Facebook declined to tell Verdict how much it paid for Confirm. However, we do know that the startup has raised at least $4m from investors.
Instead, a spokesperson for Facebook said:
“We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.”
2. tbh – October 2017
Perhaps inspired by Instagram’s polls, Facebook acquired a positive-polling app, tbh, last October.
The startup only launched in August, but its app already had 5m downloads and 2.5m daily active users, mainly teenagers, by the time Facebook came to acquire it. The app allows people to anonymously answer multiple-choice questions about their friends. However, the emphasis is on the positive, not the negative. The results from the poll are then delivered to said-friend as a compliment.
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In an interview with TechCrunch before the acquisition, co-creator Nikita Bier, said:
“If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us.”
TechCrunch reported that the deal cost under $100m.
Facebook said in a statement:
“tbh and Facebook share a common goal – of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences.”
3. Fayteq – August 2017
Facebook only made one European acquisition in 2017, the German startup Fayteq.
The startup created a software plugin for video editing platforms, like Adobe After Effects, that can track objects in videos and remove them or manipulate them. It is likely that this technology will be used for Facebook’s video output, as well as its augmented reality projects.
It’s unknown how much Facebook paid for Fayteq.
4. Source3 – July 2017
July 2017 was a busy acquisition month for Facebook. This was the month it purchased Source3, a smart intellectual-property tracking startup, based in New York.
The startup’s technology will allow Facebook to sort outs its right management technology, to ensure that videos shared on the platform are by people who have the rights to do so.
A statement on Source3’s website says:
“Today, we wanted to let everyone know that we’ve decided to continue our journey with Facebook. We’re excited to bring our IP [intellectual property], trademark and copyright expertise to the team at Facebook and serve their global community of 2bn people, who consumer content, music, videos and other IP every day.”
Financial details about the deal are unavailable, but according to Crunchbase, Source3 had raised $4m before its acquisition.
5. Ozlo – July 2017
As well as Source3, Facebook also acquired Ozlo, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup in July. The aim of this acquisition is to create a better virtual assistant in Facebook Messenger. This might explain why the company shut down its original Messenger personal assistant, M, to make way for an Ozlo-powered one in the future.
Facebook refused to confirm the numerical details of the deal to Recode, but Ozlo had raised $14m from investors prior to its acquisition.
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