The race to buy up the latest hotshot data-analytics startup is all the rage in Silicon Valley, and now Alphabet has closed the gap on market leader, Amazon Web Services, by paying $2.6 billion for Santa Cruz-based Looker. The transaction is fourth largest in Google’s history.
The acquisition will allow for a significant upgrade to Google’s existing data management system, BigQuery and contribute to Google diversifying away from online advertising, which accounts for over 80% of revenue. Even within the Mountain View empire, this deal is making waves as it is surpassed in terms of outlay only by the 2012 purchase of Motorola ($12.5bn) and the amounts paid for Nest ($3.2bn) and DoubleClick ($3.1bn).
With this purchase, Google has gotten its hands on a prized asset that it knows well having led, through its CapitalG fund, $280 million dollars-worth of funding since Looker was set up in 2012, including an $81.5 million Series D funding round in 2017. According to leading research company Gartner, Looker’s solutions are among the best performing in the market, alongside SAP, Salesforce and pure players such as Qlik and Tableau.
Following the announcement of the sale, Looker president Frank Bien was at pains to stress that existing clients could still work with other cloud platforms apart from Google.
Looker uses big data to assist companies such as King, the makers of the hit cellphone game Candy Crush, to retain players and the Economist magazine better understand the behavior of subscribers.