Asurion Corporation has acquired Soluto, the Israeli online software problem solver for $100 million. The Tel Aviv-based company was founded by CEO Tomer Dvir and Ishay Green who each own 10% of the company.
Soluto develops software to help people correct problems in Windows. It won the Techcrunch Disrupt prize in May 2010. The company has raised $20 million from Giza Venture Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Index Ventures , as well as private investors Eric Schmidt and Michael Arrington.
Soluto, founded in 2008 and based in Tel Aviv, has 40 employees. Asurion, which offers technical support services and repaid for mobile phones and computers, has 10,000 employees.
"We weren’t seeking a sale of the company," says Dvir (33). "We know Asurion, and we've been partners. We found a company with similar goals and fell in love with its leading team. We've been close friends, and then they said, 'Hey guys, let's become one company.' For us, this isn't an exit in which we're selling and leaving, but a direct continuation of the company's activity and of what we've been doing until now. We've already returned to business as usual."
Although Asurion's core business is technical support for mobile phones, Dvir says that, in recent years, growth mainly came for car computer and entertainment systems. "They even insure washing machines," he says. Soluto entered the mobile market just four months ago, with the launch of its remote support system for iPads and iPhones.
Soluto will continue to operate out of its offices on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, and some of its products will keep the Soluto brand, as well as the company's free service. The company plans to expand its workforce, although Dvir cautions, "We won't hire 50 people tomorrow morning. We'll grow gradually."
Despite the hype, Soluto is not yet profitable, and it only began recording revenue in early 2013, after running its free product for years. The attempt to generate sales from physical proximity to the target market was a failure, and the US sales office has not been a success. "We decided to do the marketing there, but remote communications was difficult and there were no big advantages. We were dissatisfied by the results," says Dvir. "To try and to fail is part and parcel of being a start-up."
Although the US adventure was a failure, sales have picked up, reaching an all-time daily high on Tuesday. However, the number of users is far below target. "Our vision was to reach one billion users, but we only have a few million. Linking up with Asurion will bring to the dream of 250 million paying users worldwide," says Dvir.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 30, 2013
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