MyHeritage buys rival, raises $25m

The family history network has acquired Geni.com and will use the funds raised for international expansion.

Online family history network, MyHeritage today announced that it has acquired long-time rival Geni.com and closed a new $25 million funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participating. Geni.com Founder David Sacks and BVP Partner Adam Fisher are joining the Israeli company's board of directors.

MyHeritage said that the acquisition, "reinforces its position as a global power player in the family history industry and accelerates its vision of helping families everywhere build and share their legacy online."

MyHeritage did not disclose the size of the deal, except to say that it was its eighth and largest acquisition since the launch of its online family history network in 2005. MyHeritage said that this latest acquisition extends its network to 72 million registered users, 1.5 billion profiles and 27 million family trees, containing the most internationally diverse family history content in the world.

MyHeritage added that it will use the new investment round to boost growth of its historical content services and expand commercial operations worldwide. In addition to acquiring significant record collections from Europe and rolling out global crowd-sourcing projects, the funds will enable MyHeritage to explore additional mergers and acquisition opportunities and ramp up its international marketing operations. The latest funding round brings the total funds raised by MyHeritage to date to $49 million.

BVP partner Adam Fisher said, “Exploring and curating one's family past is both a timeless and universal hobby pursued by hundreds of millions of people around the world; I personally grew my own family tree to include more than 2,500 people. The freemium model of MyHeritage/Geni not only makes online family history accessible to the casual user, but underscores the importance of user generated data to the product offering itself, which grows every day. As the international market leader with an aggressive expansion plan, we see tremendous value in their subscription business and are excited to work closely with Gilad and his team as they build on their success.”

MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet said, “Today’s news is a major turning-point for the family history industry, giving us significant new resources to extend our market leadership and deliver new value to families worldwide. Well established as an innovative and social brand, Geni.com is a natural addition to MyHeritage and together we look forward to taking collaborative family history to new heights. Over the past few years our dedicated workforce has transformed MyHeritage from a garage start-up into a successful, dynamic and global company."

Founded in 2007, Geni.com is a pioneer in collaborative family tree building with its focus on creating the World Family Tree, and enjoys a large following in the US. Geni.com will continue to operate as a separate brand based out of its California office, which will also serve as the main engineering hub for MyHeritage in the US, alongside its main content offices in Utah. The entire staff at Geni.com will join the MyHeritage team. MyHeritage also has offices in Israel, Europe and Australia.

The services of MyHeritage and Geni.com will initially run independently. MyHeritage plans to give respective users the option to collaborate on family history research by enabling two-way information flows between the sites that will facilitate new family discoveries and provide greater value to the users of both services.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 28, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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