Apple Pays $10 Million for Israeli Video Discovery Start-up Matcha.tv

Apple, which has been rapidly expanding its Israeli operations ever since it first entered the country in late 2011, bought the startup for a far higher sum than previously reported, Haaretz has learned.

Apple has bought the Israeli startup Matcha.tv, a video discovery app - the multinational's second acquisition in Israel - for a higher sum than previously thought. 

Citing an unamed source,  the website VentureBeat reported Wednesday that Matcha, which was founded in 2012 by Guy Piekarz, the company's CEO and Ilan Ben-Zeen, is being bought by Apple for a relatively small sum of about $1 million to $1.5 million, However, Haaretz has learned that the actual sum is much higher – a little over $10 million. Matcha was routinely ranked among the top 15 apps in Apple's store.

Moreover, the deal, a source told Themarker, was already signed in May, when the popular iOS app was yanked from the market. At the time, Piekarz told TechCrunch that the company was working on a new direction for its service, but now we know that the deal was kept secret. All five Matcha employees are now working for Apple.

Matcha was founded in 2010 and raised $300,000 from private investors. Its product is an application that functions as a TV guide for the modern age - letting users know which shows are available on various sites such as Netflix and Hulu, it also contains a social aspect that shows friends' viewing recommendations. The app also makes recommendations based on users' viewing record.

Matcha develops what's considered a Second Screen app, meaning it banks on  the fact that increasingly, TV viewers are using their smartphones or tablet computers while watching TV in order to access complementary media.

About one million iPad owners are using Matcha's app, which was introduced in May 2012. However the company had no revenues. Matcha also received offers from several other companies.

Last week, TheMarker reported that Apple was likely to be expanding its operations in Israel, with a lease on 12,500 square meters of office space in Herzliya Pituach. The space, within Bayside Land Corporation's new O2 development, could house 600-1,200 employees. Apple is believed to currently employ 400-600 people in Israel.

Apple has been rapidly expanding its Israeli operations ever since it first entered the country in late 2011 when it bought out Anobit, a startup developing flash-based storage for smart phones, tablets and media players.

The company next opened a processor development center, believed to employ 150 people, in Haifa’s Matam industrial zone.

AP