Google has acquired New Zealand-founded social media start-up Wildfire for a reported $US250 million, with the start-up expected to help Google expand further into social media.
Wildfire is the brainchild of Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, who developed the first Wildfire technology in 2008 as owners of a New Zealand-based adventure travel company.
Whenever they wanted to give away a free trip via a promotion on Facebook, they were required to create an application. This prompted them to develop new software.
What was intended to be a weeklong side project quickly turned into a venture of its own, and the first Wildfire product – Promotion Builder – was born.
Four years later, Wildfire generates social media marketing for more than 16,000 businesses, including 30 of the top 50 global brands.
Earlier this year, it became the first social media marketing company to have a software platform that integrates directly with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
In the last two-and-a-half years, the company has grown from five employees to almost 400.
It’s no surprise then that Wildfire caught the attention of Google, which has snapped up the start-up for $US250 million ($238 million), according to All Things Digital.
Ransom and Chuard expressed their excitement over the deal in a company blog, describing Google as the “perfect home” for Wildfire.
“Joining with Google will make it easier for us to realise our vision of changing the way the world markets,” they said.
“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.”
“To this end, Wildfire will operate as usual, and there will be no changes to our service and support for our customers.”
According to Jason Miller, Google’s product development manager, Google was impressed with what Wildfire has achieved in four years.
“They and their team have built a service that helps businesses like Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across numerous social websites,” Miller wrote in a company blog.
“It’s a platform for brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, promotions and more, all in one place.”
“People today can make their voices heard in ways that were previously impossible, and Wildfire helps businesses uphold their end of the conversation (or spark a new one).”
Miller said Google understands businesses want to manage and measure these efforts in an integrated way, which is why it has been working towards this goal for “some time”.
“With Wildfire, we’re looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services,” he said.