Microsoft said Tuesday it had acquired the Israeli startup Equivio, which uses machine-learning techniques to help organizations find documents relevant to their legal and compliance needs.
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The software giant didn’t say how much it had paid, but industry sources put the figure at about $50 million, while The Wall Street Journal reported that the price might have reached $200 million. Either way, it would mark a huge return for the company’s backers, who are believed to have invested no more than $1 million in the firm since it was formed in 2005.
“We are making this acquisition to help our customers tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of email and documents,” said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365 at Microsoft, said in a blog posting announcing the acquisition.
The purchase was the second for Microsoft in Israel in just two months, following its $200 million acquisition of the information-security startup Aorato in November, after five years of no activity at all. Based in Rosh Ha’ayin outside Tel Aviv, Equivio was founded by CEO Amir Milo and vice president for engineering Yiftach Ravid.
Its customers include U.S. federal agencies and hundreds of law firms, corporations and other organizations.
Equivio’s technology is designed for businesses and government agencies that generate enormous volumes of data and need to sift through the numbers to find relevancies for legal or compliance matters. Traditional manual techniques are costly and time consuming and haven’t been able to keep up.