It’s not been all that long ago that I was writing about MyHeritage’s acquisition of WorldVitalRecords. I was excited about that merger, which has proved to be a good move for both MyHeritage as well as WorldVitalRecords. The headquarters of MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords were worlds apart – with MyHeritage based near Tel Aviv, Israel, and WorldVitalRecords being in Orem, Utah.
Now MyHeritage has acquired the Los Angeles, California based Geni.com. This acquisition made a lot of sense, as Geni comes with a user base of 7 million registered users (as compared to the 65 million users of MyHeritage), who have uploaded more than 135 million profiles to the Geni.com website (as compared to about 1.35 billion on MyHeritage). As you can see, MyHeritage was by far the larger operation of the two. However, Geni was a popular U.S. operation with an interesting pedigree of its own. Geni was founded by none other than David Sacks – the guy who is said to be behind the enormous success of PayPal. Sacks is also the founder and CEO of Yammer. He will now join the MyHeritage Board of Directors.
I see this acquisition as a win for the genealogy community. MyHeritage is reporting that users of both MyHeritage and Geni will now receive matches with the family trees of the other website, and MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching technologies will benefit the Geni.com users, who will get access to historical records not accessible before at Geni.com. Being one of the “old timers” of the commercial genealogy community, I still think it’s important that the folks who run these large genealogy powerhouses also now a bit about the hobby itself – and that they just might be putting all these efforts into something that they are passionate about – not just for the money, but for love of family and community. I see the MyHeritage purchase of Geni as fitting into this mold. MyHeritage CEO, Gilad Japhet, started his operation by building a family tree program to fit his own needs, as at the time he couldn’t find a program that he felt did the job. It’s nice to know that we’ve got a genealogist running what’s now become a multinational family history company.
25 Million Dollars in New Venture Capital
I got a note this morning from Daniel Horowitz this morning stating that they have raised $25 million to boost MyHeritage’s operations in the years ahead and allow MyHeritage continue to grow and provide better services to their users. The funding round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), along with existing investors Index Ventures, and Accel Partners. This will have a positive effect on all the MyHeritage operations, including WorldVital Records, here in Utah.
I think it’s been a good week for genealogy!
By the way, I just ran a WorldVitalRecords promotion on GenealogyBlog, as well as in Genealogy Newsline. It ended Tuesday night. In light of this new good news about MyHeritage, I made a few calls today and got permission to re-up the WVR Promotion and run it again through Friday night, midnight MDT, November 30. It’s a great deal at ony $69 for 14 months – less than 1/2 the normal cost. Click here to learn more. And yes, I have an affiliate relationship with WorldVitalRecords. I’ve worked with them in one way or another since their founding, and plan to continue to do so.
Click here to read more about the acquisition at the MyHeritage Blog.