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MyHeritage acquires Geni and $25M to build family tree of the whole world

MyHeritage, a genealogy website where people can research and build their family trees, raised $25 million in its fifth round of funding. The company is also acquiring Geni, a similar ancestry site founded by Yammer CEO David Sacks.

MyHeritage is an Israeli company that is second in the market behind Ancestry.com, which was recently purchased for $1.6 million. The model is similar. Users enter their personal data into the site to create a family tree, and can search through billions of records to uncover new information and connect with long lost family members. Users can also follow family members, and share photos and messages.

There are 72 million users and each user follows an average of 16 family members. There are 1.5 billion profiles  and 27 million family trees on the site. The basic service is free, but a yearly subscription gets additional features and allows members to invite their family members into the community. MyHeritage distinguish itself from Ancestry.com by emphasizing the social component and its collaboration tools. It also targets an international audience, and the platform is available in 40 languages.

David Sacks founded Geni in 2006 as a place where “casual genealogists and experts” can discover new relatives and stay in touch with family members. It raised $16. 5 million in funding from Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures. Sacks stepped down as CEO of Geni to run Yammer full time in 2011, which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion in June.

With this purchase, MyHeritage will gain 7 million users. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, MyHeritage’s CEO Gilad Japhet said he is also excited about the complementary technology.

“They have excellent technology, a unique vision about connecting everyone into a single family tree if you can implement it properly, and it just complements us. MyHeritage is a forest of private hyperlinked family trees, and Geni is building a family tree of the whole world. If you combine the two, you end up with a reference of the world, everyone is on there, just like everyone is on LinkedIn.”

This latest funding found was fronted by new investor Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners. MyHeritage previously raised $15 million in 2008 and this brings its total amount raised to $49 million. It

The investment will be put towards continuing global growth, adding in new features, and to support more acquisition opportunities.

 

 

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