Fast exit – UK's Kindo acquired by Israel's MyHeritage

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Reverie by Vincent Laforet, a Canon 5D HD commercial

UK based, Kindo.com a family tree service, has been acquired by the Israeli based MyHeritage, which was recently funded by Accel and Index Ventures. The size of the deal was not disclosed, but it’s a fast exit for Kindo which only launched last year. Although Kindo says on their blog that the buy-out took place because “we share the same vision and values”, I think it is also a reasonable assumption that the current financial climate concentrated their minds. Getting a second round of funding for a standalone product in a competitive market was always going to be hard now.

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So why would MyHeritage, with 25 million users, but Kindo? TechCrunch US speculates that it’s about extending it’s presence in Europe with an existing team and Kindo’s extensive 14 language service (including Russian, Arabic and Chinese). (ironic, isn’t it that an Israeli-backed services which scaled in the US now returns to Europe to buy a local site which scaled regionally in Europe?) It also needs to have a response to Geni.com in the US and Verwandt in Germany.

But the main difference with Kindo is that where as Ancestry.com is about ancestors and Geni.com is, in the main, genealogy, Kindo tackles the issue of mapping and communicating with your living family. Kindo covers the “next generation” family tree, with communication features, stats and a family ‘news feed’.

Kindo previously won seed funding from Estonia-based Ambient Sound Investments and the ever-present serial seeders The Accelerator Group as well as Stefan Glänzer, first investor in last.fm and executive chairman until the acquisition last year by CBS.

It is not unreasonable to surmise that TAG group, which seed invested in both Kindo and MyHeritage, helped wrap up a deal, but I wouldn’t read too much into it all. Kindo and MyHeritage were clearly in contact well before Index invested in the latter.

Update: Kindo’s own blog sets out more of the detail behind the deal.

MyHeritage and Kindo met for lunch in London’s Soho even before Kindo released the first public version:

“But there we were: A Swede, a South African and an Israeli, all with very different professional background and life stories, talking about the future of families online from very different perspectives. I didn’t expect this, but we found that we had much in common. We shared the same ideas and vision for what we wanted to achieve with our businesses, even though our approach was far from similar.”

They were impressed by MyHeritage’s tech:

“As Gareth and I travelled back on the tube, we talked about how nice it would be to be able to offer our own users the same tools as MyHeritage already had. What really got us excited was their SmartMatching Technology, which matches people in your family tree with 250 Million other names, and suggests who you might be related too. We liked that. We were also jealous of Gilad, since he got to develop features for 25 million registered users – slightly bigger than our own user base…”

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