I don’t know the guys at Plink but I was really pleased to read on the Guardian website this morning that they have been acquired by Google. Plink is a mobile visual search startup which will now contribute to the Google Goggles product. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This is great news for the UK ecosystem on a number of levels, but probably most importantly it will now be much easier for Google to make their next deal here. It is a fact of life that the large tech aggregators prefer buying companies that are close to home – but the more experienced they get with M&A the weaker that preference becomes. The reasons are fairly straightforward – local acquisitions feel more comfortable because there are more touch points both at a business/product level and at a personnel level and because post acquisition integration is easier the closer you are to corporate HQ. Once the first deal in a geography is done all these reasons get weaker.
That said, they don’t disappear, and the fact that Google, HP, Oracle and a bunch of other serial acquirers are based in the Valley is one of the reasons it is still easier to build a startup over there than it is over here. As I’ve said before, if we want Europe to equal the Valley as a startup centre we need more indigenous large tech companies to join the likes of Autonomy, Software AG, ARM and CSR, particularly in the internet sector.
The other reason to be pleased about the news of the Plink acquisition is that the founders, Mark Cummins and James Philbin, will hopefully stay in the UK and build on this success by becoming serial entrepreneurs and mentoring and investing in other startups.