Monthly Archives: December 2016

TNW’s tech person of the year


How many problems can one man try to solve in a year? What if the problems aren’t your garden variety problems – like a broken faucet − but rather the earth’s most serious and existential problems? Maybe one? What if the problems are fossil fuel dependence, global warming, the future of artificial intelligence, and the colonization of other worlds? Maybe none? In 2016 Elon Musk took on all of these problems.  It was his incredible ambition to change the world in 2016 that enabled him to outstrip all of the other contenders for The Next Web’s Tech Person of the…

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The Next Web

4 reasons why Pokemon Go was the standout mobile game of 2016


In 2010, it was Angry Birds. In 2014, it was Candy Crush Saga. And in 2016, Pokémon Go was the standout mobile game. The game first launched on July 6 in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. It didn’t take long for the game’s servers to crumble under the strain of millions of nostalgic millennials, eager for a taste of their childhood, plus the occasional DDoS attack. It took only two months for it to hit $ 500 million in revenue. And while Pokémon Go isn’t the sensation it was this summer, it’s still pretty hot, with millions still playing it…

This story continues at The Next Web


The Next Web

This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend

This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend

Written by Tiffany Rose

Every year, I make the same New Year’s resolutions: Go to the gym more often (no, the sauna doesn’t count), keep a gratitude journal, volunteer more often, lose the baby weight (guys, my son is 7), take a class, take a break from Facebook (or Myspace, depending on the year), and start meditating. While I’ll be making them all again this year, I’ve decided to add a new one that I’ll actually keep. In 2017, I resolve to help a friend (or three!) go vegan. A vegan lifestyle is second nature to me and probably to you, too, but some people still find it intimidating. Luckily, there are a lot of easy ways that we can help them make the change.

You probably have a friend or two who asks you questions about going vegan, and I’m betting that you can nudge them to give it a try. Let’s help them together!

Here are some ways that we can do it:

  1. Mail them PETA’s vegan starter kit. Your friends will be thrilled to receive this free, glossy, recipe-laden magazine instead of another credit card bill from the holidays. Just fill in their info, and we’ll handle the rest.

  1. Plan a movie night. There are many informative and entertaining films about food and animals. Check out this list of our favorites and have your friends over for a movie night.
  1. Go shopping together. Arrange a time when you and your friends can go grocery shopping together, and introduce them to the many delicious vegan items on the shelves. Many people have no idea that there’s such a huge selection of plant-based options out there—show ’em!
  1. Have them over for dinner. Of course, it only makes sense to cook up some of the grub you just bought and let them taste the goodness for themselves. (Note: If you’re a disaster in the kitchen, don’t cook for them. It could ruin everything. Trust me—I know what I’m talking about. Instead, use an app to find nearby vegan-friendly restaurants.)

  1. Lead by example. Every time that we choose a vegan option at a restaurant, grocery store, party, or anywhere else, we’re helping ensure that vegan options remain plentiful. There’s no need to be pushy about it. In fact, please don’t be—it gives vegans a bad reputation, which doesn’t help animals. Simply let your compassionate behavior speak for itself.

Activists Handing Out Leaflets

This is a New Year’s resolution that I can actually stick to. Lives are waiting to be saved, so I hope you’ll also resolve to help a friend go vegan. Now, please excuse me while I renew my gym membership, again.

Want other ways to help animals in the new year?

The post This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

For publishers, Facebook is the devil

(left to right) Gregory Gittrich of Mashable, Tom Dotan of The Information and Blaise Zerega of VentureBeat onstage at Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon.


One might argue that Facebook behaved with imperious disdain, or callous indifference at best, in its treatment of publishers in the final month of 2016. The social media giant admitted misreporting publishers’ Instant Articles, as well as multiple errors regarding the estimated reach of posts, measurement of reactions to streamed videos, its Graph API, and more. This series of revelations came just weeks after the company had made similar disclosures about problems with other video and ad measurement metrics, which had affected both publishers and advertisers.

Facebook’s troubling announcements also came on the heels of its fake news fiasco, which erupted after the U.S. presidential election. CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially downplayed his company’s role in the election results, saying, “Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook — of which it’s a small amount of content — influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.” However, the absurdity of his position was brought home by President Barack Obama’s pointed rejoinder. “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” Obama said in a news conference in Germany in November.

Following the U.S presidential election, Facebook says it is undertaking measures to root out fake news and de-prioritize such posts in users’ newsfeeds. However, for publishers who watched fake news overtake their carefully reported news stories, these steps may feel like too little too late. And the measures may prove too blunt an instrument, as this tweet from Rebecca Schoenkopf of Wonkette suggests:

Meanwhile — before Facebook’s December problems were revealed — I had the honor of debating Mashable chief content officer Gregory Gittrich at Web Summit 2016. The motion was Social media dilutes your brand — Publishing direct content on social media, over time, negatively impacts your brand integrity. Our moderator was Tom Dotan, a reporter at The Information. Gittrich’s smart argument about embracing social media carried the day. After the debate, the audience voted against the motion by a show of hands.

Below is a transcript of my argument delivered on November 10, 2016, edited slightly for clarity and brevity. Caveat: Given the forum, some of my remarks were intentionally hyperbolic in order to make a point.

Social media dilutes your brand

Publishing direct content on social media, over time, negatively impacts your brand integrity.

TODAY, if you’re a publisher, Facebook is the devil. And the devil is offering you a deal:

 

Take your core product, your journalism, and give it to us. The snake beckons…I’ve got this wonderful temptation, only it’s not an apple, it’s Instant Articles. If you give us all your content, you’ll need fewer engineers — we’ve got a WordPress plugin. And you’ll need fewer salespeople, we’ve got ad sales covered for you. Just give us your content, and we’ll do the rest.

It’s a seductive message, particularly tempting for traditional media companies searching for profits and needing to cut costs. It’s tempting for new media companies seeking eyeballs, growth, scale — whatever buzzwords their VC investors demand of them.

But instant articles are a deal with the devil. And you will get burned.

I will provide you with three reasons why publishing directly to social media will harm your brand over time. And by social media, I’m going to be talking about Facebook, although my argument applies to all platforms.

First, Mark Zuckerberg’s interests are Facebook’s interests, not yours. By publishing directly to Facebook, you will surrender your commercial and editorial destiny.

Second, Facebook is a social network, not a media platform. It can be useful for marketing, but it’s not suited for the direct publication, consumption, and distribution of your journalism.

Third, Facebook takes over and effectively rebrands your brand — your unique look, feel, and reader experience becomes common. You will surrender and abandon that which sets your brand apart, what makes it special.

All right, now let me offer some points to back up each of my reasons.

One: Facebook has time and again revealed itself be self-interested.

Anybody remember what happened to Zynga? The game maker was kicked to the curb when Zuckerberg decided that games were getting in the way. Simply put, publishers are the new Zynga and can be kicked to the curb whenever Facebook feels like it. In fact, in many ways, they already have.

Consider the preferential treatment given videos directly uploaded to Facebook, as opposed to YouTube videos being shared. All of sudden, Facebook has amassed a library of videos and detailed information about people’s viewing habits, all of which is used — not to show me the video I want, but one that best serves Facebook’s business interests and drives ad revenue.

The same is happening with Instant Articles. Publishers are giving ­Facebook a trove of content, a very valuable asset that is often produced at great cost. Yet Facebook can choose to display it — or not.

Which, of course, brings me to the notorious Facebook algorithm, which, as we all know, has time and again de-prioritized journalism in favor of pictures of your cousin, recipes from my Aunt, and so on.

In 2015, after some initial changes to the algorithm, sites like Huffington Post reported a traffic drop of 60 percent over a 10-month period; BuzzFeed witnessed a 40 percent reduction in referrals.

And earlier this year, according to a report in Digiday, traffic for publishers declined about 20 percent from January to March: “The data showed the biggest drops came from publishers that have been heavily invested in Instant Articles.”

More recently, the number of people seeing the average post published on a publisher’s Facebook Page has been cut in half. From January 2016 through mid-July 2016, publishers’ Facebook Pages have experienced a 52 percent decline in organic reach, according to social publishing tool SocialFlow. That statistic is based on the company’s analysis of roughly 300 media companies that use its tool to manage their Facebook Pages, which include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast, and Time Inc.

And just in June, after another tweak, at VentureBeat we saw an instant drop of 10 percent, and then another drop of 10 percent through September.

And if this doesn’t convince you of Facebook’s self-interest, let me mention the massive over-reporting of video views — by 60 to 80 percent — that Facebook admitted to this September.

Meanwhile, Facebook reported $ 7 billion in revenue in Q3 and 1.79 billion users. 

Two: Facebook is a social network, not a digital media platform, like a website.

Instant articles are designed for a news feed, accessed via a mobile device. They offer none of the richness of information, like a searchable archive of a website or app.

Further, while obvious, the fact that Facebook controls all the data concerning your readers will hamper your ability to serve them and make money.

Facebook’s goal is to keep its users — they’re called users, not readers — on its platform, and not to drive them to your site, where you can better monetize them. In this way, Instant Articles are the trap keeping people inside the walled garden.

Even as Facebook seems to offer publishers more ways to make a little bit of money, very few publishers will get good deals and make any meaningful revenue, as Bloomberg CEO Justin Smith said yesterday.

In fact, at VentureBeat we often see — and anecdotally, it seems to be increasing — stories blow up on Facebook in terms of interaction, reach, and so on, but result in scant traffic back to our site.

It’s wonderful that people comment and share, but there’s little tangible benefit for us. 

Three: Facebook sets the rules for your brand’s look, feel, and reader experience. You will surrender and abandon that which sets your brand apart, what makes it special.

Publishers live in a multi-platform world and understand the need to tailor content to specific devices and platforms, and it’s here that Instant Articles really hurts your brand.

Consider what would happen to your experience of The National Geographic — a magazine famous for its glorious photography, like the young Afghan girl with piercing green eyes or a majestic lion roaming a South African nature preserve.

As an instant article, a Nat Geo story gets reduced to the lowest common denominator, in terms of format. There’s no longer anything special. A couple of images and some words — no different than, dare I say, a Mashable or VentureBeat story.

And why should this surprise anyone? Facebook was built for social sharing, not for media publishing.

Conclusion

One: Facebook’s interests are not your interests. They are competing with you for ad dollars and readers.

Second: Facebook is a social network, not a media platform.

Third: Facebook’s Instant articles will reduce your brand to the lowest common denominator.

Finally: Don’t be tempted. Don’t do a deal with the devil. Don’t bite the apple.

After the debate ended, I received very positive feedback from several Web Summit attendees and was also taken to task by an audience member who misunderstood some of my purposefully exaggerated sentiment. There was so much more to talk about regarding Facebook’s relationship with publishers: censorship and the “Napalm Girl” photo, perceived bias of human editors, and many other relevant topics.

Greg Gittrich was an able foe, and it was fun debating him. Here is my favorite comment from a listener:

 

Web Summit 2016 comment blaise zerega facebook

 

Social – VentureBeat

What top Silicon Valley investors expect in 2017

Investment diagram


The year 2016 was an interesting one for startups. Between high valuations and the glory of reaching unicorn status, entrepreneurs have been frenetically chasing private investors — who were more than willing to deliver the cash — and thereby delayed their entry onto the public market. Yet there was significantly less VC funding than in 2015.

London-based auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY) reports that, as of Q3, U.S. companies raised $ 41.3 billion in 2,802 venture capital deals this year. In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, there were 916 deals, representing $ 16.9 billion. “Compared to last year’s Q3, VC funding is down,” Jeffrey Grabow, EY’s U.S. venture capital leader, told VentureBeat in an email. “There are several reasons for this decline. Chief among them is the need for the market to absorb the capital that has been deployed. Momentum capital rushed into the later stage of the venture pipeline and was invested in pretty much all available opportunities. It’s time to see how those bets play out.”

So what does 2017 have in store for startups? Grabow predicts that, overall, venture funding will continue to decrease. Data from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) confirms this, showing that VC fundraising should hit approximately $ 25 billion, which is nearly 38 percent lower than in 2016. Other predictions from SVB include:

  • Leading crowdfunding platforms (i.e., AngelList, Republic, OurCrowd) will grow more than in the past year, due to founders seeking alternative ways to raise seed money.
  • It’s taking longer to raise equity, and the appetite for debt at the seed stage is much greater.

VentureBeat also spoke to several VC firms to gather their predictions for 2017.

M.G. Siegler, general partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures)

Investments: Medium, Slack, Stripe, Giphy, and Periscope (acquired by Twitter in 2015)

mg-siegler

VentureBeat: What will the hot tech trends be in 2017?

M.G. Siegler: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the obvious trends to continue gaining speed into next year. One offshoot of those I’m particularly interested in: I think both vocal and audible computing will continue to get a lot more exciting in 2017. Obviously, products like the Amazon Echo and, more recently, Google Home, have planted the seeds for this. Heading into next year, I suspect products like Apple’s AirPods will expand the trend in different ways.

VB: Is your firm looking to invest in any particular sector next year?

Siegler: From my own perspective, consumer-facing technology has been a bit light from an investment standpoint in the past couple of years. The reason why is obvious; we’re all sort of waiting to see if/when the next big, new platform emerges. Given that such things tend to be cyclical in nature, 2017 could be primed for this.

VB: What percentage of your funds did you invest in Silicon Valley-based startups in 2016? Will this percentage increase or decrease next year?

Siegler: While Silicon Valley remains a core focus, I believe we’ve built a nice portfolio outside of the area. In the U.S., we’re quite active in the other more traditional tech sectors, like New York and Boston, but we also have a strong portfolio in places like Atlanta — with portfolio companies including FullStory, Ionic Security, Luma, and Pindrop Security. And who can forget Ann Arbor, Michigan, a place near and dear to my heart — Go Blue — where Duo is based. And, of course, we have a number of portfolio companies based around Europe, as well.

This diversification of locale seems to be increasing over time for us and feels natural. I do think one interesting subplot of 2017 may be how many startups begin to be based in Oakland, versus San Francisco.

VB: Do you think the tech bubble will burst next year?

Siegler: You mean as it was predicted to in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016? No, I do not (smiles).

Jerry Chen, partner at Greylock Partners

Investments: Cloudera, Docker, and Gladly

VentureBeat: What will be the hot tech trendsii8
in 2017?

Jerry Chen: AI is everywhere, and thus seems to be nowhere. AI-powered enterprise apps will be the brain behind the scenes enabling a new generation of horizontal apps, like CRM and IT help desk, and vertical apps, like health care, construction, and fintech. Security and data sovereignty (countries securing data of their companies and governments on foreign soil) will become national priorities, in addition to corporate priorities.

VB: Is your firm looking to invest in any particular sector next year?

Chen: Emerging tech will be a focus for us — autonomous vehicles will unlock billions of dollars in new opportunities. I think we’re going to see improvements in autonomous vehicle technologies, including computer vision, sensor and mapping technologies, and AV driving systems. Personally, I also think major verticals like health care and industrials will be fertile ground for new startups.

VB: Will 2017 be a good year for IPOs?

Chen: Though we can’t predict what future valuations and IPOs will look like, I can say with confidence that we will be seeing a higher number of IPOs in 2017 compared to 2016.

VB: Do you think the tech bubble will burst next year?

Chen: I don’t think we will see a burst, but interest rate hikes combined with investors who start to weigh risk better will lead to a new normal. We experienced a significant market correction earlier this year, and the market will no longer tolerate growth at all costs and companies with high burn rates. But the market will reward companies who build competitive moats, using cash strategically, and execute an effective go-to-market business model.

Alex Rampell, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz

Investments: Point, Quantopian, and PeerStreet 

alex-ah

VentureBeat: What will the hot tech trends be in 2017?

Alex Rampell: Financial services represents nearly 10 percent of U.S. GDP and trillions of dollars in market capitalization. As paper currency becomes less relevant, and more transactions move online, whole swaths of physical location-centric industries — banking, insurance, investment management — will be disrupted by lighter-weight, easier to use online counterparts. But the move will be swifter. Amazon can’t conquer all categories, because in-store shopping addresses immediacy and the ability to try merchandise — and sometimes, shopping and browsing are just fun. Money is the ultimate commodity, and going to banks is a nuisance, so one can imagine online finance conquering 100 percent of the market.

VB: How do you feel about future IPOs and the so-called tech bubble?

Rampell: We don’t speculate on what will go public and/or do well. We also don’t make a habit of breaking out our investment dollars. And we don’t think we’re in a tech bubble (smiles).

Ravi Viswanathan, general partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

Investments: Acquia, BloomReach, and Boku

ravi_nea

VentureBeat: What will the hot tech trends be in 2017?

Ravi Viswanathan: AI will become the “big data” from five years ago — the initial massive hype will settle into real use cases that solve real problems, versus just buzzwords flying around. We will continue to see a broad range of applications for AI-based technologies, both in the application layer and the infrastructure layer.

Within the application layer, we will see horizontal markets continue to be funded and scale, including security, data analytics, and marketing. Vertical markets such as financial services, health care, and retail will also see more companies building software using AI. Regarding the infrastructure layer, emerging areas such as machine intelligence and deep learning will continue to thrive in terms of investment dollars.

VB: Will 2017 be a good year for IPOs?

Viswanathan: A positive trend that began in 2016 will continue in 2017, that of quality tech companies going public and not looking at their last private round valuations. The deals will continue to likely get priced very conservatively and see a pop in the markets. This trend will continue, which should bode well for the tech IPO markets.

M&A may still not see a big pop in the tech world in 2017, as buyers will likely continue to be choosy and wait for the “unicorn” phenomena to get repriced to more rational levels. Having said this, the elite companies will still trade at premium multiples.

Deals – VentureBeat

These were the 10 biggest European tech stories this week

Euros - Funding in Europe European currencies


This week, Tech.eu tracked 23 technology M&A transactions, one IPO and 62 tech funding deals (totalling €255 million, not counting the £2.4 billion pumped into London-based data centre operator Global Switch by Chinese investors) in Europe, Turkey and Israel.

Here’s an overview of the 10 biggest European tech news items for this week:

1) Nokia said on Wednesday it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for violating 32 patents.

2) Russian carrier Megafon is acquiring a majority stake of 63.8% in Mail.ru for £602.21 million (about $ 738 million).

3) The European Commission Monday released the non-confidential details behind its ruling in August that Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion.

4) German meal delivery startup HelloFresh, a Rocket Internet company, has raised €85 million from a new unnamed investor along with previous investor Baillie Gifford.

5) Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is to acquire a majority stake in Belgian supply chain and mobility solutions company Zetes for €149.6 million.

6) Israeli startup Lumus, a developer of wearable augmented reality (AR) displays, has closed a $ 45 million Series C round.

7) Global Switch, a London-based data centre company, has sold a 49% stake to a consortium of Chinese investors for £2.4 billion.

8) BMW has partnered with IBM to add Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities to its cars as it plans a campus for autonomous driving near Munich.

9) Rightware, an automotive software company from Finland, has been acquired by Chinese firm Thundersoft for €64 million.

10) French book publisher Hachette Livre has acquired a majority stake in UK mobile app developers Brainbow, makers of Peak.

Bonus link: Inside Facebook’s Berlin-based team in charge of policing content on the social network

This post originally appeared on Tech.eu

You can subscribe to Tech.eu’s newsletter here.

Deals – VentureBeat

Twitter admits ‘technical error’ in product update impacted video ad campaign reporting

Twitter's logo on display at the company's 2016 Flight developer conference in San Francisco, Calif.


Twitter has acknowledged that it incorrectly calculated video advertising metrics with the result likely impacting some campaigns between November 7 and December 12. The company placed the blame on a “technical error” from a product update made to its Android app and said that the issue has since been resolved.

In a rather opaque statement, Twitter said that it has since notified affected advertisers and is “confident it has been resolved” because it’s not a policy or definition issue. Although not disclosed by the company, Business Insider has reported that this bug inflated video ad metrics by as much as 35 percent.

When reached out for more information, a company spokesperson remarked, “We recently discovered a technical error due to a Twitter product update to Android clients that affected some video ad campaigns from November 7 to December 12. Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated the impact to affected partners. Given this was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, we are confident it has been resolved.”

It’s also said that those impacted will be receiving refunds for the overbilling. Sources familiar with the matter shared that while 35 percent appears to be a lot, many affected advertisers will likely be reimbursed $ 1, suggesting that this event may not have that large an impact. However, the fact that Twitter disclosed a metric bug is noteworthy as it seems to be one of the first times the company has had to recalculate ad metrics.

But Twitter isn’t the first one to have to reveal this error. Fellow social media service Facebook has had to humble itself in front of advertisers repeatedly this year, announcing that it has had to readjust metrics multiple times, including for its estimated reach, streaming reactions, Graph API, around how it measured video viewership and more.

Nevertheless, the frequency at which services like Twitter and Facebook are disclosing may cause advertisers to worry, since they’re devoting huge budgets to this promising new age of marketing only to find out that there are discrepancies in reporting, which affects their return — and their trust. Additionally, how will today’s revelation impact Twitter’s relationship with brands as it seeks to keep itself afloat and prove that it’s something to bet big on?

“We will continue to monitor our systems to proactively identify issues. We value our customers’ trust in our service and will continue to provide support and transparency in our partnership,” the company said.

Social – VentureBeat

Here are the 5 most likely U.S. IPO candidates for 2017

nasdaq


A new report offers some mild optimism for the 2017 IPO market after a 2016 that basically turned into a big, fat disappointment.

The 5th annual Tech IPO Pipeline Report from CB Insights released today tracks 369 private companies in the U.S. that seem to be on the road to a public offering of stock at some point. Within those numbers are some interesting trends to note.

First, there have been 14 tech IPOs year-to-date in 2016. That’s down from 19 in 2015, which already wasn’t such a hot number. CB Insights projects that number will go up in 2017, but we’ll see.

2017-tech-ipo-pipeline-pre-release-final-pdf-2

Next, the whole unicorn thing seems to be losing steam. CB Insights tracked 23 new unicorns in 2014 and 40 in 2015, based on valuations of rounds raised in those years. But there were only 12 new unicorns in 2016.

In part, that’s because the number of rounds over $ 100 million raised fell from 77 in 2015 to 41 in 2016. It seems that venture capitalists are growing tired of underwriting mega-startups and are looking for the exits. Which, again, could create pressure for more IPOs.

2017-tech-ipo-pipeline-pre-release-final-pdf-1

CB Insights uses a proprietary calculation called Mosaic to determine the strength and rank of privately held companies. Mosaic calculates a score using three broad data points: Momentum (based on signals from social media, news sentiment, mobile and web traffic/usage, hiring, customer, and partner signings); Market (overall health of a company’s industry based on things like hiring, funding, and exits); Money (money raised, burn rate, and quality of investors).

Using that Mosaic score, CB Insights says these are the 5 strongest IPO candidates:

2017-tech-ipo-pipeline-pre-release-final-pdf-4

For more on these companies, read our coverage here:

Deals – VentureBeat

Facebook takes on Google Doodle with News Feed messages


Google’s Doodles are a simple but effective way for the search engine to mark holidays and current events without interrupting the search experience. Now Facebook is revealing its own take with News Feed messages about holidays and events. The messages show up atop your feed, and like Google Doodles, they may be themed around holidays or specific moments in history. However, Facebook seems to be placing a larger emphasis around current events as well, highlighting interesting things happening in local communities. In one example, Facebook suggests you check out the supermoon, along with a link explaining what’s so special about…

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Or just read more coverage about: Facebook,Google


The Next Web

Sweden’s Stillfront Group buys Dubai-based Babil Games for up to $17 million

Admiral by Babil Games.


Sweden’s Stillfront Group, maker of games that include Call of War, has acquired Dubai-based Babil Games for $ 17 million.

The deal shows that the Middle Eastern and North African games market is becoming a significant market on the global stage of gaming.

Babil started in 2012, and it has 12 employees in Dubai and Amman, Jordan. It has several successful mobile games, such as Admiral, Niba Harb 2, Asefat Al-Dababat, and Jaish Al-Foolath.

Babil’s games are primarily sourced from Asia with long term exclusive publishing rights. All localized content belongs to Babil. The founders team of Babil will remain on board and also lead the company in the future — under the umbrella of Stillfront.

Babil will receive an upfront payment of $ 4.5 million plus earn-outs that can take the total to $ 17 million. The purchase price is payable 50 percent in cash and 50 percent in newly issued shares in Stillfront.

Jörgen Larsson, CEO of Stillfront Group, said in a statement, “Babil and Stillfront constitutes an excellent fit. We share the passion, philosophy, and cornerstones of Stillfront’s PLEX strategy, and Babil will strengthen Stillfront’s position in a number of strategic areas — for instance, in the mobile strategy games space and with publishing capabilities. The truly unique position of Babil, now within our Group, will create significant value going forward. I am extremely pleased to have the founders and their committed team as valuable new members to the Stillfront family.”

The deal is contingent on approval of the Creative City Free-Zone Authority in the Emirate of Fujairah, U.A.E.

Mohammed Fahmi, founder and CEO of Babil Games, said in a statement, “I am excited for Babil to be joining forces with Stillfront Group. We share a common vision and objectives, and I firmly believe this will be a great strategic advantage for both companies, enabling us to become a larger family that will strengthen our foothold in local and global markets.”

Agnitio Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor to Babil Games in this transaction.

Stillfront operates four near-autonomous subsidiaries: Bytro Labs in Germany, Coldwood Interactive in Sweden, Power Challenge in the UK and Sweden, and Dorado Online Games in Malta. Stillfront’s games are distributed globally. The main markets are Sweden, Germany, the United States, and South America.

Deals – VentureBeat