Google announced the acquisition of LabPixies, developer of widgets and games for social and mobile applications including Facebook, iGoogle, iPhone, Android and more. LabPixies drives over a billion monthly page views and makes some of the most popular gadgets on iGoogle and the Android platform. The acquisition is a good distribution deal for Google as it plans to expand iGoogle across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Although the acquisition price was not disclosed, Israeli newspapers estimate the deal to be around $25 million. If the estimates are correct, the exit may have offered a nice payout for LabPixies’ UK and US-based angel investors who only put $1 to $2 million in the company since its inception in March 2006. The list of investors includes Mark Gerson, founder of Gerson Lehrman Group and Fabrice Grinda, founder of the Asian Craigslist site OLX as well as Dan Senor, author of the book “Startup Nation” and others. The angels were represented by brothers Yaron and Gilad Carni in Israel.
The romance between Google and LabPixies began with the startup’s initial introduction of casual gaming widgets on iGoogle. For example, the casual game “Flood it!”, one of LabPixies most popular apps on iGoogle, has over 800,000 users and is the number 3 application on the Apple App Store. LabPixies continued building OpenSocial based gadgets, and a few months ago LabPixies was selected as one of the six featured apps on Google Wave, offering users to play Sodoku with each other.
Why now? According to the FAQ on LabPixies site it’s all about scale and distribution of widgets:
We both felt the time was right to come together. We started LabPixies to create a truly personalized online experience and develop fun widgets that people find useful every day. Working at Google will help us scale to more users as well as giving our team greater opportunities. Google and LabPixies teams have worked on many projects together including the launch of global OpenSocial based gadgets. The acquisition is an opportunity to learn from each other to bring more apps to users, help developers and improve the overall developer ecosystem.
LabPixies founders (Oded Poncz, Ran Ben Yair, Udi Graff and Nir Tzemah) and their team of 12 will become Google employees in the company’s Tel Aviv office.