Google buys its first Israeli start-up

Labpixies create interactive gadgets for sites.

google israel 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
google israel 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Search engine giant Google announced an agreement Tuesday to acquire Israeli start-up Labpixies for an estimated $25 million, in a move it hopes will strengthen its search pages through the development of Web site gadgets to attract more users.
“We are excited to welcome Labpixies, they are a natural fit with our Israel team and represent all that is attractive and innovative about the Israeli tech start-up scene,” said Yossi Matias, Director of Google Israel R&D center.
The acquisition is the first-ever deal Google has made in the country since its center in Israel was launched in 2005. Google said that the deal was a strategic step for its Israel research & development center. Under the terms of the deal, the Labpixies team will be integrated into the Google Israel office based in Tel Aviv working across a wide variety of platforms as well as anchoring the iGoogle search page across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
“The shared focus on the user and passion for applications made this the right time to come together and an exciting opportunity to do more together for users and developers,” said Google. “The acquisition is an opportunity to learn from each other to bring more applications to users, help developers and improve the overall developer ecosystem.” Labpixies, which was founded in 2006, creates interactive gadgets for web environments. These mini-applications are personalized web gadgets, also known as “widgets” including iGoogle, Android and iPhone, and are developed in-house, from inception to creation.
LabPixies’ gadgets range from handy tools such as calendars, news feeds and to-do lists to entertainment and games.
The start-up, which is run by a small team of 10 employees, has until now developed 70 widgets and has over 40 million users. The start-up is financed by private investors and received $1m. in a series round of funding in June 2008. One of the investors in Labpixies is Yaron Carni, who represents a boutique Angel group of high added value individuals from New York and London, who invest privately in a variety of Israeli based companies.
“We started Labpixies to create a truly personalized online experienceand develop fun widgets that people find useful every day,” said RanBen-Yair, CEO of Labpixies. “Working at Google will help us scale tomore people as well as giving our team greater opportunities.”
In recent years, Google and Labpixies teams have worked on manyprojects together, including the launch of global OpenSocial. Labpixieswas one of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle to giveusers greater access to useful everyday information such as news,weather, games and videos as well as email.