Yandex Acquires KitLocate to expand operations in Israel
Israeli start-up company KitLocate is acquired by Russian internet giant Yandex
Israeli start-up company Kitlocate, which develops energy-efficient geolocation technology for mobile devices was purchased by Russian Internet giant Yandex. The amount of the transaction was not made public but it is estimated that a deal worth about 20 million dollars. This may mean the young company will become the Israeli development center for Yandex.
KitLocate’s exit was relatively quick. The company was founded in 2011 by Omri Moran, Ron Miller and Yoav Capri until now had only raised $750,000.
Way to success
KitLocate developed technology that allows applications and other wireless services to get information about the user’s location, in order to allow local business owners to offer products, discounts or benefits relevant to the user.
The product’s uniqueness is that it focuses on solving one of the most painful problems with mobile devices: the battery life. The company developed infrastructure that monitors the user’s position while saving battery life in order to allow location-based services.
Compared to companies that offer similar technology, or other companies that use GPS, the battery consumption of the product is significantly lower. In fact, it uses between 0.1 to 1 percent of battery every hour, compared to applications such as Navigation and Vision, which use 20 to 40 percent of battery every hour.
Under the KitLocate deal, Yandex is expected to allow the startup to remain in Israel along with its founders and employees while expanding the company’s operations and activities. Yandex is exploring the company’s projects in Israel and Omri Moran will lead the Israeli development center as Yandex’s Israeli GM.
In the last few years Yandex has acquired and invested in about a dozen startups, including Israel’s Face.com, which develops facial recognition technology. Facebook has since purchased Yandex’s stake in Face.com.
The exit is the second in the last week by a startup from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator’s third class. On March 13, Wix.com acquired Appixia for an undisclosed amount.
The official website of the company explained that the latest developed product concept was born out of another product it designed to link traders to users via push messages according to their proximity to the business. Having realized that the resources required to run the GPS gobble up battery, they started to develop a solution, which became the concept behind Kitlocate.
Besides participating in the Microsoft Venture Accelerator, the company also took part in the seventh cycle of Genesis Venture Fund’s accelerator The Junction, and is its first exit. Currently the company is working with several companies in Israel and abroad that include MasterCard, Pango Israel and American department store chain Sears.