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Microsoft buys text analysis co Equivio for $200m

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

As reported in Globes: Microsoft plans to integrate the Israeli company’s product in its Office 365 package.

Three months after a report by “The Wall Street Journal” and two months after acquiring Israeli company Aorato, Microsoft today confirmed that it is acquiring another Israeli startup, Equivio, for $150-200 million. Equivio is developing text analysis software capable of attaching various related texts from a collection of many documents, including e-mails and various types of documents.

The algorithm in the program is already being used by enterprises providing support services for law firms, for example by collecting and analyzing data in various legal documents relating to the relevant information. Other organizations also using the program include the US Department of Justice, the US Federal Trade Commission, and US law firms KMPG and Deloitte.

The software is capable of summarizing and condensing lengthy written content, and operates in the big data segment for texts. Microsoft plans to integrate the product in its Office 365 package, and in order to bolster the productivity of its users.

Equivio’s exit comes after many years of activity in the market, but the company has raised little capital. Founded in 2004 by Amir Milo, Yiftach Ravid and Warwick Sharp, the company raised only $500,000 from private investors, meaning that its investors are making their initial investment back 400 times. The company has only a few dozen employees in its Rosh Ha’Ayin center.

Microsoft paid $200 million for its previous acquisition of Aorato, which raised $10 million in January 2014. The company’s investors include Accel Partners; Innovation Endeavors, controlled by Eric Schmidt; Mickey Boodaei; and Glilot Capital Partners, which invested in Aorato’s previous financing round a year earlier. Aorato has raised a total of $11 million since its founding.

Aorato has 10 employees in its Herzliya offices. Founded in 2012 by CEO Idan Plotnik, Michael Dolinsky, and Ohad Plotnik, the company focuses on an angle mostly ignored by information security startups. Idan and Ohad Plotnik’s prior careers also involved information security for Microsoft systems. A few years ago, they founded a company named Foreity, acquired in 2012 by Aman Computers, that provides information consultation for enterprises.

The two acquisitions by Microsoft follow several years without any Israeli acquisitions, following the acquisition of 3DV Systems in 2009 for $35 million. The new interest in Israel is apparently part of the lively activity of Microsoft’s mergers and acquisitions division in Israel.