Frozen-rails-2014

Google Acquires Helsinki Based drawElements for 8 Figures

Yet another exit for the Nordics. The normally slow summer is turning into a shopping spree by the big players as the Helsinki based drawElements is acquired by Google. The exact amount behind the transaction is not disclosed but we have narrowed it down to eight figures, which is definitely a great achievement for the founders in their 20's and for Finland in general.

You probably never heard of the company, as they are a small but a very important one in the Mobile 3D Graphics space and Google needed them.

Without going into the nitty gritty technical details, there are a lots of different Android devices out there. They all have varying hardware components, different screen sizes, different GPU's, etc. This creates a difficult fragmentation problem for Google in standardizing graphics across all devices.

When manufacturers produce the phones, they have some specifications provided for them. However, it is immensely difficult for them to follow these specifications at all times when you take into account all the hardware they need to interconnect, all the drivers that need to work seamlessly together, etc.

For Google it is an even bigger issue as they need to make sure that fragmentation is low between all of the devices. To make sure of that, they needed a way of measuring what manufacturers are doing and then making sure they do the right things.

We are not talking about performance or speed benchmarks, which can be done by the likes of Futuremark. Instead they need a closer look at quality of implementation, stability, correctness.

If Google can check that, they can then whip all the manufacturers into place and set standards. drawElements can do exactly that. For example they can test tens of thousands of parameters and cases to see that everything is correct.

So this is acquisition is not your standard acquihire of 1-2 people. This is a proper exit where Google is interested in the people, the tech and the company. As a part of the transaction, the management will move to the Silicon Valley but the the rest of the operations will be grown in Finland.

The company was originally a started in 2008, by partners of Lots, Ardites (Now Symbio) and Petri Kero and worked on embedded graphics projects. The company was later joined by Pyry Haulos (CTO) and Kalle Raita (CEO) as well ask Markus Nuotto (V.P. of Sales) while Kero moved on to other projects.

Today, their clients are all the big chip guys and phone manufacturers for whom it was important to ensure their 3D implementations were spot on. With the Google acquisition, this process can be forced onto all manufacturers. That is big.

The even bigger story, of course is the trend. If you have not noticed, this is not your standard summer. Since May we have had two Facebook acquisitions in Finland (Moves & Pryte) , one Google acquisition and a number of other acquisitions by big players such as FAB acquiring One Nordic.

As much as we would like to claim that all of this is happening after our Arctic15:Exit Path conference, with the appropriate name, I guess the real reason is that the big players are finally starting to pay some serious attention to the region.

During the conference, we had the chance of meeting Google, Facebook, GE, Microsoft and many other big player representatives and it is clear that they all have a growing desire to put the Nordics & Baltics on their acquisition maps.

Now it is becoming clear that those are not just words and it is in-fact happening. Who will be next?

We have reached out to both Google and drawElements for an interview and will update the story when we hear back from them.

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