Looks like another exit for an Israel-based startup — this one straddling the worlds of cloud services and hardware control. Soluto, a service that lets users manage PCs and other connected devices remotely, is getting acquired by Asurion, a company that offers device insurance services. The news is being reported as a work in progress by TheMarker and Calcalist. Globes, meanwhile, is reporting this as a done deal. Meanwhile, we have confirmed the sale through two separate sources. We’re hearing reports of up to $130 million, specifically between $100 million and $130 million.
You can see where a deal with Asurion makes a lot of sense.
The latter company, based out of Nashville, Tennessee, partners with carriers like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Clear to resell its services to consumers. Those services include physical replacement of broken devices — consumers can file and track claims — but there are also a suite of services that are software-based, such as the ability to locate lost devices and back up content. Soluto will help Asurion extend and improve the latter part of the service, perhaps as a way also to offset some of the insurance risk around losing and replacing faulty or broken handsets.
It’s not clear whether Asurion will keep Soluto, and specifically its R&D operations, intact in Israel, or move everything over to the U.S. We have reached out to Soluto for comment, and are contacting Asurion as well, and will update the post as we learn more.
Update: We’ve now spoken with Asurion’s SVP of product management, who says the deal is in an “advanced stage.” He says that he intention will be to keep Soluto’s engineering and R&D efforts intact in Tel Aviv. This will be Asurion’s first move into Israel, building on the 42 offices it already has worldwide. Tomer Dvir, the CEO of Soluto, is likely to take on a role that will see him working both between Tel Aviv and Asurion’s U.S. headquarters. Detter also says that the company plans to keep Soluto’s existing business fully operational: while the company is primarily focused on mobile devices for its core business, it also offers support for PCs and so Soluto’s existing PC business, which has some 3 million users today, will become a part of that effort. [Original article continues below.]
Soluto — which first had its debut at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010 in the Startup Battlefield; it won — started out life as a cloud-based platform that let ordinary people help each other with managing their own and other people’s devices. Tomer Dvir, the CEO and co-founder, has told me that one of the driving ideas behind creating the service was to help his mother with her computer when he was not near her. “I can help her set up and run Skype, Spotify, whatever,” he said. Pretty hip mom, I’d say.
That initial consumer and specific PC focus helped the company with getting an early critical mass for its service. Today the company has clocked more than 3 million downloads of its product, and over 15 million “actions” carried out through its platform.
More recently the company has expanded to include other connected devices beyond PCs such as smartphones and tablets; and it has expanded into enterprise services — such as its SMB-focused products, launched in April of this year.
This has signalled a more formal approach to the kinds of device management you tend to associate with business services — mobile device management; hardware inventory; patch management; boot shortener; remote access, and so on. It has still continued to keep its focus on simplicity — taking a cue from the wider consumerization trend that has been so strong in the enterprise sector. “Ready to enjoy being the IT guy?” the site’s homepage asks visitors.
There were reports in September that Soluto was getting approached by an American software company, but those were never confirmed. In any case it looks like it’s been in exit talks for a little while at least. Soluto has raised some $18 million from investors including Index Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Proxima Ventures. (And CrunchFund, where TC co-founder Michael Arrington is a partner, is also an investor.)