MyHeritage, an Israeli startup that developed an online genealogy platform, is getting bought out by American private equity firm Francisco Partners. The companies have yet to report the sum of the acquisition, however, speculations put the deal in the half a billion neighborhood.

Over 58 million family trees

MyHeritage, which was founded in 2003, offers global users different options to discover and record family history. MyHeritage’s subscription based platform is currently available in 42 languages and helps support 62 million users worldwide, who have generated over 58 million ancestry trees. The company reports holding over 13 billion historical records, which also include unique collections from different countries around the globe. The platform also delivers AI-powered features to help color and improve old pictures.

To date the company has raised $49 million over 5 different rounds. The last one in 2012 was followed by the company turning profitable, relieving the need for external funding. A few of Israel’s most savvy private investors can be named among stakeholders, including Aviv Raiz and Yuval Rakavy, who invested in MyHeritage back in 2005, as well as Gigi Levy Weiss. Some pretty heavy VCs, such as Index Ventures, Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, and even HP Beteiligungs GmbH, also sit among MyHeritage’s backers.

Alongside family genealogy, MyHeritage also launched a few pro-bono initiatives to help reunite adopted children with their biological parents, and help record the ancestry and cultural tradition of tribes who face imminent extinction. Of course, the company also hit the headlines following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus by opening their labs to help cure the overload of COVID tests, and lack of proper testing facilities.

The founder: Expose people to the fun of genealogy

CEO and founder of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet, had this to say regarding the acquisition: “When I founded the company from my home eighteen years ago, I had a clear vision that drove me, and continues to drive me today – to make family history discovery easier using technology and to unlock the fun in genealogy: the human pursuit that bonds people.” He continued to add that “with the help of an excellent and dedicated team, years of hard work, and with constant technological innovation, we created new and exciting ways for people to learn about their origins. In Francisco Partners we see a true partner for our journey ahead, not only demonstrated by the trust they are placing in our company through this acquisition, but in their desire for us to remain true to our vision by continuing along our path and helping us do what we do best – putting our users first and giving them life-enriching, and sometimes life-changing, experiences. This move will enable us to reach new heights, invest more resources in creating greater value for our users and to reach a larger audience. We’re incredibly excited for this next chapter in our company’s evolution.”

The MyHeritage executive team credit: MyHeritage

Francisco Partners: An expert in helping companies realize their potential

The private equity firm Francisco Partners mostly acquires mature companies, helps them improve their value, and sells them on for a pretty penny. Among the trove of acquisitions, the equity firm had acquired cyber company NSO in 2014 for around $130 million, just to flip it back to the founders and a private investment team in 2019 for close to $800 million; Additionally, the firm sold Israeli startup ClickSoftware to Salesforce for $1.35 billion - tripling their initial investment.

“With its unmatched presence across Europe combined with its development of unique, cutting-edge technologies, MyHeritage is an ideal investment for Francisco Partners. The company has proven itself to be an innovation powerhouse through its robust subscription business, unique positioning, advanced technology portfolio, and international focus that has enabled it to build a superior user experience,” said Matt Spetzler, Co-Head of Europe and Partner at Francisco Partners, who will also join the MyHeritage board upon closing.