Yahoo acquires Bangalore startup, sparking excitement all around

Marissa Mayer is the latest tech CEO to look to India for an acquisition.
Marissa Mayer is the latest tech CEO to look to India for an acquisition.
Image: Reuters/Denis Balibouse
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This story has been updated to include Yahoo’s official response to our email. 

Yahoo has followed Facebook and Google in acquiring startups based out of India.

The deal is sparking excitement that global tech majors will look at Indian companies more closely as acquisition targets.

Yahoo has acquired Bangalore startup Bookpad. While Yahoo has not revealed the money involved in the deal, multiple newspaper reports have pegged it at Rs50 crore. This is 20-year-old Yahoo’s first acquisition in India.

This follows Facebook’s January acquisition of Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs and Google’s acquisition of Imperium, which has strong India links.

Bookpad was founded in 2013 by three Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduates; all three founders are in their early to mid twenties. Their flagship product, Docspad, is aimed at developers looking to integrate document viewing, annotations and editing features within their own applications.

“With Docspad, we’re helping to build a web where no one needs to download any document,” wrote Aditya Bandi, CEO and co-founder on his blog. “All of your documents like Word, Powerpoint, Excel, PDF… and all common image formats are supported by Docspad.”

It is not a consumer application. It is targetted at designers or app developers who might want to integrate document features into their apps.

“Applications like applicant-tracking systems, file-sharing apps, conferencing solutions, learning management solutions, et al.—used by millions of users worldwide—are unable to provide the the same features and user experience as Google docs does. We exist to help,” explained Bandi.

Yahoo could potentially integrate this technology in many of its services, such as the desktop and mobile version of Yahoo Mail. Right now, Yahoo does not have a service that rivals Google Docs.

“We have acquired Bookpad, the company behind the Docspad product. The team will join our communications organization in Bangalore, where they will work on strengthening the Yahoo Mail experience,” said a Yahoo spokesperson.

Bandi did not respond to an email from Quartz seeking comment. But his LinkedIn profile now says that he works as a product manager at Yahoo. The other two founders are also listed as Yahoo employees on LinkedIn.

According to the Economic Times, Yahoo wasn’t the only company eyeing Docspad. Dropbox and Autodesk had also expressed interest in the bangalore-based startup. Last year, the team was backed by industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). This summer, it graduated from Microsoft’s Accelerator program from early-stage startups.

Such programs are helping small homegrown companies catch the eye of tech titans. When Google’s high-profile head of Android program, Sundar Pichai, was in New Delhi last week for the launch of Android One, he met eight startups at a private roundtable, reports business standard. Nasscom is similarly showcasing a few companies to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when he visits New Delhi next week.

“Getting acquired by Yahoo puts Bangalore on the global startup map,” said Karnataka state’s secretary for information technology and biotechnology, Srivatsa Krishna. And, now that Yahoo has raked in a jackpot from the Alibaba IPO, many other Indian startups are hoping to catch Marissa Mayer’s eye as well.