- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 01 August 2012 06:01, Updated 02 August 2012 04:15
Money maker ... California-based Wildfire Interactive is young New Zealand entrepreneur Victoria Ransom’s third successful start-up. Source: @Kmeron
Kiwi entrepreneur Victoria Ransom has sold her social media start-up Wildfire Interactive to internet titan Google for an estimated $US250 million.
The move comes after Business Insider speculated in June that Facebook was circling the California-headquartered social marketing outfit, which Ransom founded four years ago with fellow entrepreneur Alain Chuard.
Wildfire posted: “We believe that over time the combination of Wildfire and Google can lead to a better platform for managing all digital media marketing. For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across all social services — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more — and to deliver rich and satisfying experiences for their consumers.
“To this end, Wildfire will operate as usual, and there will be no changes to our service and support for our customers.”
Google has already taken a tilt at buying its way into social marketing with its failed attempt to snare Buddy Media, which Salesforce.com acquired in June for $US689 million. This time around, it’s succeeded by stumping up the reported $US250 million plus earnouts for Wildfire, which will let it sell social marketing services into rival social network players, including Facebook.
AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka writes: “The logic here is straightforward: Google will integrate Wildfire into its growing display advertising ‘stack,’ which is anchored by DoubleClick and Google’s AdX exchange. The idea is to convince markets that they can buy both social ads and convential display ads from Google, even if they want to buy them on competing platforms like Facebook.”
Wildfire employs close to 400 people around the world and boasts a roster of about 16,000 customers, including Pepsi, Audi, Nestle, Virgin Atlantic, Unilver, American Express and Air New Zealand. Investors in Wildfire who’ll enjoy a pay day as a result of the Google deal including Summit Partners, Accel Partners and Facebook.
The sale of Wildfire – her third successful start-up – to Google confirms Ransom’s place as one of social media’s up-and-coming stars.
Ransom was Ernst & Young’s New Zealand young entrepreneur of the year in 2011 and has earned plaudits as one of ‘25 Women to Watch in Tech’ for 2010 and 2011, as well as MBA from Harvard Business School.
The acquisition of Wildfire continues a wave of consolidation in the social media sector, which has included Salesforce.com’s buy out of Buddy Media this year and social media monitor Radian6 in 2011. Google, meanwhile, acquired social sharing operation Meebo this year for an estimated $US100 million.