Google is going to acquire the Ukrainian startup Viewdle developing the technologies of facial and object recognition. The sum of the transaction has not been reported, but the acquisition is called the most large-scale in the Ukrainian Internet. According to preliminary data, the Viewdle management has already approved the takeover.
Viewdle was launched by Yegor Anchishkin and Yuri Musatenko, who drew attention to the developments of the V.M. Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics, Kiev in the image recognition and tried to turn them to the commercial advantage. The technologies developed by Viewdle will be used, for example, in Google search by images where the query uses the files uploaded into the search box.
The first angel investment was received by Viewdle from the businessmen of the American Diaspora, including the former inhabitant of Odessa Yuri Frayman, the current chairman of the Viewdle Board of Directors. In 2008 Anthem Venture Partners Fund purchased 25% of the company for $2M. In 2010 such funds as Qualcomm Ventures, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Best Buy Capital reacquired an additional issue for $10M, having estimated the company at $13.5M. Even Motorola got interested in the startup in 2011, but the talks were broken off owing to the sale of Motorola mobile division by Google. When the matter was settled, Viewdle again attracted the attention of the audience, resulting in the total transfer of the company to Google.
The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed. But it is assumed that the price is similar to the amount paid by Google for buying such companies as Neven Vision and PittPatt: $45M and $38M respectively. Hence, the unconfirmed assessment of the transaction with Viewdle is $35-40M. It is also known that last year the Viewdle founders planned to make about $30M from the company sale, but they got even more than it had been supposed. Viewdle staff includes 34 persons.