Online retail giant eBay splurged on a special present for itself: Israeli start-up The Gifts Project. Though financial details of the transaction were not specified, media reports estimate the deal to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
The Gifts Project is a social gifting platform that allows multiple friends to contribute money toward a gift for a friend, relative or co-worker. In January of this year, The Gifts Project signed a cooperation agreement with eBay under which eBay offered group gift buying through the Israeli company’s technology.
Moreover, The Gifts Project was listed on Wired magazine’s Top 11 Start-ups in Tel Aviv this month.
“eBay plans to transition The Gifts Project into eBay’s Israel Social Center and focus on building social shopping platforms and product features for eBay Marketplaces. We’ll be recruiting additional ninja developers with rock-star capabilities and keep operating from our Tel-Aviv hideout to maintain the same culture of innovation and challenge,” it reads on The Gifts Project blog.
The Gifts Project was founded two years ago. This was eBay’s third acquisition in Israel. In 2005, it bought Shopping.com for $620 million, and in 2008 it bought Fraud Sciences for $169 million.
Meanwhile, eBay’s acquisition of The Gifts Project funneled more than $65,000 to Tmura - the Israeli Public Service Venture Fund. Rather than soliciting cash donations, Tmura receives grants of stock from companies and uses the proceeds from successful “exits” – a public offering or acquisition – to fund education- and youth-related charities in Israel.
“Social responsibility is one of the values upon which we founded The Gifts Project, and Tmura has developed a fantastic, and unique yet simple, avenue for early stage companies to act on these values,” said Ron Gura, The Gifts Project co-founder and CEO.
More than 20 different non-profit organizations in Israel have benefited from Tmura’s exit. The list includes College For All, the Tel Aviv Rape Crisis Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Israel, among others.