07 September 2008

MyHeritage.com: $15 million capital injection

There's no business like gen business, and Israeli company MyHeritage.com should know.

I've known CEO Gilad Japhet since before the site went online. We met at a genealogy conference in Israel, and I wrote one of the first articles on the company for the Jerusalem Post. Gilad then presented a program on the site during New York's 2006 International IAJGS conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Located in the pastoral setting of Bnai Atarot, near Tel Aviv, everyone who works there seems to be a genealogist - in addition to their diverse technical expertise - and loves what they do.

Another milestone has now been achieved as the site has now garnered a $15 million capital injection from Index Ventures.

Today's UK Times Online article is here, "Family-tree website MyHeritage tracks down £8m capital injection."

FAMILY-TREE website MyHeritage aims to put down commercial roots after raising $15m (£8.4m) to fund expansion,writes James Ashton.

Set up in 2005, MyHeritage has grown quickly because of interest in genealogy fuelled by TV shows such as the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which has featured actress Patsy Kensit, pictured, tracing her ancestors.

It wants to link together families in the same way that Facebook connects friends. MyHeritage already has 25m registered users, 260m personal profiles and 230m photos on the site.

The second-round funding was led by Index Ventures, which counts internet-TV service Joost and gaming website King.com among its investments. Accel Partners, an investor in Facebook, also took part, taking an undisclosed stake.

“Because of people’s fascination with their history and the growth in social networks, we believe and hope this can be a significant business,” said Saul Klein, a partner at Index, who will join the board.

Founder Gilad Japhet wants people to use his service to pool photos already posted on sites such as Flickr and Picasa.

Techcrunch.com's story is here

It’s been just a few days after our post on Geni’s big growth numbers - and now big news from Israeli competitor MyHeritage.

The site has grown from 180 million profiles a year ago to 260 million today, they say.

Registered users have also grown, from 17 million to 25 million. Compare that to almost 2 million users for Geni. 230 million photos have been uploaded to the site, which is available in 25 languages and has 5 million monthly unique visitors. Support for ten more language will be released this month.

Investors have certainly noticed MyHeritage’s stellar growth. The company has raised a new round of funding - $15 million in a Series D round led by Index Ventures and joined by current investor Accel Partners. That brings their total capital raised to $24 million.

New Features - Recognize Those Faces

MyHeritage’s facial recognition, which works a little like recent Picasa enhancements, lets you train the service by tagging a few photos of an individual. MyHeritage then starts to auto-tag other photos that you upload of that person, too. Users don’t have to upload photos directly, either. They can sync from Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, etc. And once the photos are properly tagged with people’s names, MyHeritage will re-sync them back to the original services.

Just to reiterate that, MyHeritage has created a heck of a tool to let users auto-tag photos with people’s names on the services they already use.
If you haven't already checked the site, do take the time to look around.

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