Decide.com announced on Friday that it was being acqu-hired by eBay and would shutter its service at the end of the month.
The entire team of 26 people will now go work for eBay.
Decide.com predicts the prices on electronics and helps people pay less for them. It’s not surprising eBay would want to buy this company. Decide.com had been using eBay’s data to help with its predictions, CEO Mike Fridgen said in a blog post.
But one of the most remarkable things about this deal is that it marks the sixth-in-a-row successful exit for cofounder and CTO Oren Etzioni.
Etzioni helped invent the concept of big data back when the Web was young, way before the term “big data.” We’re talking even before Google.
Etzioni is a computer science professor at the University of Washington (and these days, also a partner at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group). In between teaching and publishing hundreds of technical papers, he keeps creating valuable tech.
In 1994, four years before Google was born, he created one of the web’s first search engines MetaCrawler, bought by Infospace (and still running today). In 1995, he cofounded the first shopping comparison engine, NetBot, bought by Excite. Then he created ClearForest, which summarizes text documents, bought by Reuters.
In 2003, after he learned that he paid more for an airline ticket than the guy sitting next to him, he created a program that scraped travel sites to predict airfare prices. That became FareCast. It sold to Microsoft in 2008 for $US110 million and is now a part of Bing.
In 2011, he took what he learned at FareCast and launched Decide.com to predict electronics prices. It was backed by Madrona (naturally) but also early Google early investor Ram Shriram and Rich Barton (cofounder of Zillow, Expedia, Glassdoor).
Now, two years later eBay bought Decide.com. Terms weren’t disclosed, but we know that it raised about $US17 million including a recent $US8 million round in March that included Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s VC firm Vulcan Capital.
Given Etzioni’s history we’re willing to make our own prediction. He’ll be back with another successful startup and soon.
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