FB buys startup Little Eye Labs in first India deal

Tags: News
Facebook acquired a technology startup in India as the largest social-networking service seeks to bolster its presence among mobile-device users.

Facebook bought Little Eye Labs, which develops tools that Android application developers can use to analyse and enhance efficiency of mobile apps, the Bangalore-based company said on its website. Financial terms weren't disclosed for Facebook's first purchase in India and Carson Dalton, the India spokesman of Menlo Park, California-based company, declined to comment on the terms of the deal.

(Reuters quoted some media reports to suggest the price was less than $15 million.)

Billionaire chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is stepping up efforts to help Facebook, the top seller of online advertisements after Google, generate more of the company's ad revenue from mobile. Ad spend by US companies on mobile devices will account for 23 per cent of digital-ad expense in 2013, up from 12 per cent in the previous year, according to New York-based researcher EMarketer.

"If this company helps you analyse the mobile apps and usage patterns of users, it would enable doing data analytics. That is extremely important information for advertisers,” said Urmil Shah, a Mumbai-based analyst at Kim Eng Securities. "That is ultimately where Facebook would make money."

The deal, the social networking giant's first in India, could likely boost interest in the country's startups.

Little Eye Labs, whose entire team will move to Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, was set up about a year ago, according to the statement. Founded by Kumar Rangarajan, it received financing from angel investors GSF India and VenturEast Tenet Fund, according to Little Eye's website.

The company is “focused on producing useful and engaging mobile apps,” Subbu Subramanian, Facebook’s Bangalore-based engineering manager, said in an emailed statement.

“The Little Eye Labs technology will help us to continue improving our Android codebase to make more efficient, higher-performing apps.”

“We released our official version of Little Eye for Android in early April of this year, and since then we have had many Android developers and testers using Little Eye Labs to measure, analyse, and optimise their app’s performance,” the company said.

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