WhatsApp, Nest, Beats, these are all household brands for consumers in the United States and around the world. In 2014, these 3 tech businesses led the list of the top 10 US tech exits.
In October 2014, Facebook completed its acquisition of Santa Clara based startup WhatsApp for $22 billion. Founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, reached 400 million active users in less than 4 years by December 2013 thanks to its global success. After the acquisition, Facebook confirmed that the immediate goals are to continue focusing on user adoption to drive the number of active users up to 1 billion before shifting towards monetization. With recorded revenue of only $10.2 million in 2013, it’ll be interesting to watch how Facebook can drive that up sufficiently to at least cover the app’s monthly costs.
Coming in at second place on the list of the top US tech exits of 2014 is Concur Technologies, which was acquired by SAP in September for $8.3 billion. While not a household name like Whatsapp, Concur Technologies has grown to have over 10,000 enterprise clients across 100 countries. This made it as one of the largest acquisitions in the Software as a Service (SaaS) space.
Nest Labs, the popular smart thermostat and smart A/C startup, was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in January last year. The value of the acquisition of this Palo Alto based startup places it in third as the highest US tech exits of 2014. Google has had an eye on the Internet of Things space for a while, so this acquisition should only help it strengthen its position there.
Not to be outdone by Google, Apple also completed a $3 billion acquisition in 2014 when it purchased Beats Electronics, the premium consumer headphones and music streaming service founded by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in 2006. While there are many rumours as to why Apple purchased Beats Electronics, it’s clear that this is a good fit due to the strength of each company in the music industry.
In 2014 many household names made it on the list of the most successful US tech exits. But it may be the acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook in March for $2 billion that helps reshape an entire industry through Oculus’ virtual reality headsets for gaming.