Facebook looking to purchase its first Indian startup

Steven Loeb · December 2, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/338c

Crash testing service Little Eye Labs would give Facebook a stronger foothold in the country

Facebook has been vocal about its mission to expand globally, with Asia and the Middle East being two of its most sought after sectors. Expanding in India, with the second largest population in the world, would be a big deal for the company's future.

That is why the company is apparently looking at Little Eye Labs, a startup based in Bangalore, which provides performance analysis and monitoring tools for Android developers, according to a report from Business Standard on Monday.

When we asked about the report, a Facebook spokesperson gave VatorNews the standard "We do not comment on rumors and speculation," statement. Little Eye Labs could not be reached for comment.

Little Eye Labs would be Facebook's first purchase in India, a country that has been showing some of the company's largest growth.

As of June of this year, Facebook had 82 million monthly active users in India, 62 million of whom were on mobile, according to the Times of India

Facebook's Indian MAUs grew roughly 5%, year to year, from the 72 million it had in June of 2012. And it is only going to continue to grow over the next few years at least.

In fact, it is expected to develop the largest Facebook population of any country in the world by 2016, surpassing the United States, according to a report from eMarketer in November. 

Mark Zuckerberg has also previously said that "India is a really big opportunity" if Facebook can reach the next billion users. 

"With 82 million monthly active Facebook users in India and a comparatively small Internet subscriber base, we have a long road ahead."

Facebook obviously sees a big opportunity in the country, and buying a startup would be a good step toward increasing its presence in the country. 

This is almost exactly what Facebook did with Israel earlier this year. After losing out on its bid to buy up Israeli crowdsourced traffic app Waze, Facebook was finally able to gain a foothold by purchasing mobile data optimization company Onavo.

That deal was reportedly only worth around $150 to $200 million, and it is possible that Facebook is taking a similar strategy with India by starting with a small acquisition.

That isn't the only reason that Facebook would make this purchase, though. The company has recently begun opening up testing of its Android apps in the earliest stages, asking them to say what do and don't like about the app, and when it crashes.

Earlier this summer, Facebook introduced Android beta testing program to allow its users to test out products before they were released and let the company know about any problems they were experiencing. 

And it was a big success: in the first four months, the program saw over 1 million daily active users from over 150 countries.

In October, Facebook introduced an Alpha testing program, to give users the chance to test things out even earlier.

All of this is being done to maximize Facebook's potential on Android, which is quickly becoming the dominant platform on both tablets and smartphones.

Of course, Facebook isn't going to rely completely on its users to give them this information, so it should be no surprise that it is apparently looking for a crash testing service to buy. Little Eye, which builds mobile app analysis tools for app developers and testers, would obviously help Facebook improve its early testing.

(Image source: https://www.techinasia.com)

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