Valley start-up Rover bought by Revcontent

Indians from Chennai founded Rover

February 24, 2017 10:52 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - CHENNAI

A start-up founded by two Indians in Silicon Valley has struck gold in a multimillion dollar deal.

Rover, a machine learning-based content discovery engine founded by Stanford University graduates Jonathan Siddharth and Vijay Krishnan, has been acquired by content discovery network Revcontent. Technology website Techcruch cited RevContent CEO John Lemp as saying the deal was valued “north of $30 million” in cash and in stock.

Speaking from their Palo Alto apartment through Skype, Mr. Siddharth and Mr. Krishnan said they were very excited with the major milestone in the journey of the company that they co-founded as students of Stanford University.

“At this point, we are in the process of onboarding our technology to Revcontent, which would reach out to such reputed publications like Forbes and Atlantic,” Mr. Siddharth said. “Maybe it will sink in a few weeks later when I am by the beach, relaxing.”

Rover’s content discovery engine, Mr. Vijay said, was very granular. The engine studies traits and behavioural patterns of users and by virtue of that would recommend superior content to what was available. Revcontent’s rivals include Outbrain and Taboola.

The duo also see their technology providing succour to quality journalism. “We always worked on the principle of making Rover to discovery what Google is to search,” Mr. Siddharth said.

The acquisition will mean they will reach out to a large cross-section of the online media in U.S.

Mr. Siddharth, a graduate of Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, and Mr. Krishnan, an IIT Bombay alumnus, are from Chennai.

They were class-mates at the Stanford University and originally floated the idea of a machine learning-based content recovery and discovery engine while at the Info Lab under the guidance of Prof. Hector Garcia Molina, who had earlier been an advisor to Sergey Brin of Google.

In three rounds of funding since the company was founded in 2008, Rover had raised $7 million. They maintained a staff strength of 15 through the years. “We always were always cautious of not scaling up too fast,” Mr. Siddharth pointed out.

Mr. Siddharth and Mr. Vijay, along with rest of rover’s team, will join Revcontent.

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