Facebook is acquiring Israeli startup Pebbles Interfaces, which has developed technology for operating a computer through hand and finger gestures. Pebbles Interfaces has raised $16 million to date from companies like leading Chinese mobile manufacturer Xiaomi, Giza Venture Capital, SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK), and others. The "Wall Street Journal" reports that Facebook has agreed to pay $60 million for Pebbles Interfaces, making it the company's fourth acquisition in Israel.
Pebbles Interfaces confirmed the acquisition on its site saying, "We Are Joining Oculus. For the last 5 years, we’ve been focused on building a technology that extends human behavior, enabling simple and intuitive interaction with any consumer electronic device. At the same time, we’ve seen virtual reality make huge strides, changing the way people interact with one another. At the forefront of that shift is Oculus, and joining Oculus will help advance our vision building immersive experiences and revolutionizing digital human interaction.Thank you to our partners, employees and investors for your support as we’ve grown. We’re looking forward to starting our next chapter as we join the team at Oculus!"
Pebbles Interfaces operates in one of the hot subsectors in virtual reality, in which Facebook is also making a major effort. Facebook acquired Oculus, which is developing some of the most advanced virtual reality spectacles in the market, for $2 billion. The acquisition is being made through Oculus.
The entrepreneurs behind Pebbles Interfaces, which is based in Kfar Saba, are CEO Emil Alon and CTO Nadav Grossinger. The company is aiming at the games industry, but is also likely to adjust its technology for other purposes. Pebbles Interfaces recently began developing an interface for Oculus's technology, so that finger movements will cause movement in the virtual space behind the technology.
The big question is whether Facebook will leave Pebbles Interfaces' employees in Israel, and if so, whether they will join Facebook's existing development center in Tel Aviv, or whether a new center will be established specializing in augmented reality.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 16, 2015
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