GoDaddy Buying American-Israeli Company Mad Mimi

The Arizona-based acquirer is losing money and hopes to beef up against new competitor Google.

Web hosting giant GoDaddy is buying Mad Mimi, a startup with Israeli roots, the companies said last week, but did not give a purchase price.

Analysts estimate the price in the tens of millions of dollars, at least.

Mad Mimi, based in Brooklyn, was founded in 2008 by Gary Levitt, an immigrant to Israel from South Africa. The company develops tools for designing and sending newsletters and other mass mailings, and competes with newsletter giant MailChimp.

GoDaddy was founded in 2007. It offers domain name registration and hosting services for websites, and has about 4,000 employees. In Israel, the company is well known for its 2013 Super Bowl commercial starring model Bar Refaeli French-kissing a stereotypical nerd.

But not all has gone well for GoDaddy. In June the company filed to raise $100 million, and the forms show that the company has not been profitable since 2009. It lost $279 million in 2012, $200 million in 2013 and $51 million in the first quarter of 2014.

GoDaddy’s turnover tops $1 billion a year.

Google has started competing with GoDaddy’s main service, domain registration, with its product Google Domains. The service is in a trial stage and is open only via invitation, similar to Gmail in its early days.

Mad Mimi’s customers include Air Canada, AOL, Disney, Facebook and Kellogg’s. Most of Mad Mimi’s 250,000 customers are registered for its free service.

Under the acquisition terms, Mad Mimi’s mail tools will be available to GoDaddy customers, replacing GoDaddy’s current email options. The Mad Mimi brand will continue to exist.

Mad Mimi was founded with nearly no capital. It took in $110,000 in the seed-capital stage, so Levitt will be receiving most of the money in the GoDaddy deal.