Tencent Backer Naspers Invests in Israel Web Intelligence Firm

  • Financing round said to value SimilarWeb at about $400 million
  • Tel Aviv firm was founded by former jewelry entrepreneur

Naspers, a key investor in China’s Tencent and Russia’s Mail.ru, is now betting on a Israeli startup that analyzes Web traffic for corporate clients from Nike to EBay.

Naspers is leading a $25 million financing round for SimilarWeb,  a Tel Aviv-based firm that measures traffic, engagement, time on a site and other metrics. The deal values SimilarWeb at about $400 million, according to people familiar with the situation. Naspers is a global media and e-commerce company that invests in early-stage technology companies.

“Naspers was originally a customer of ours and then turned around and said, ‘We love your data, we are using it quite a lot, why don’t we become your investors instead?”’ said SimilarWeb’s newly appointed Chief Finance Officer Jason Schwartz. “We said, ‘You can do both.”’

A few years ago, SimilarWeb founder Or Offer wanted to expand his jewelry business and a friend suggested he look up popular designer David Yurman. Offer couldn’t find enough information online. Certain this was a widespread problem, he and a pal built a tool that recommended websites with similar content. Before long, SimilarWeb was up and running. The eight-year-old firm says it sells data to more than 80 million websites and 3 million applications in 196 countries.

SimilarWeb is “competing with a few of the biggest players in the industry -- Alexa and Google -- and both are dominant players and really aggressive,” said Koby Simana, head of the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center. “And as big as the challenge is the opportunity.”

The financing round, which included British angel investor David Alliance, will be used to open new offices, fund acquisitions or help improve the company’s ability to measure the digital world, including video and the so-called Internet of Things. Three months ago, SimilarWeb bought Swayy, a firm that helps businesses track how their content is being shared and received online.

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