Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Facebook agrees takeover of Moves developer ProtoGeo

Iain Morris
April 30, 2014
Social media giant Facebook has agreed a takeover of health and fitness tracking specialist ProtoGeo Oy, whose Moves app gives it an entry point into the burgeoning market for health monitoring services.

The financial terms of the takeover were not disclosed, although a Facebook (Menlo Park, CA, USA) spokesperson has reportedly said the price was nowhere near what Facebook has spent on other recent acquisitions, such as its $19 billion takeover of online-messaging player WhatsApp (Mountain View, CA, USA) in February.

Based in Helsinki in Finland, ProtoGeo has fewer than ten employees and launched operations two years ago.

Its Moves app will track the distance a user walks or runs, measuring the calories that are burned in the process.

According to Reuters, Facebook has said the purchase of ProtoGeo fits with its strategy of offering services that will function on a standalone basis, such as Instagram for photo sharing and WhatsApp for online chat.

However, just as the WhatsApp acquisition could ultimately make Facebook a major player in the messaging and internet telephony markets, so the takeover of ProtoGeo positions the social media giant for a major push into the connected health opportunity.

It also follows connected health moves by other tech giants in recent weeks.

Last month, Apple (Cupertino, CA, USA) was reported to be readying an application called Healthbook for launch with iOS 8, the next version of its mobile operating system.

According to reports from 9to5mac, Healthbook will be capable of tracking a user’s bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and weight.

Meanwhile, Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) has released a version of its Android operating system that has been designed for use with wearable devices, including gadgets that monitor a user’s health and fitness.

ProtoGeo has previously raised seed funding from Lifeline Ventures (Helsinki, Finland), PROfounders (London, UK), AJP Holding (Helsingfors, Finland) and Tekes (Helsinki, Finland), and says that its Moves app has now been downloaded about four million times for iPhone and Android phones.

In a statement, ProtoGeo was quick to emphasize that it will continue to operate independently of Facebook.

“For those of you that use the Moves app – the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook,” said the company.

“We’re joining Facebook’s talented team to work on building and improving their products and services with a shared mission of supporting simple, efficient tools for more than a billion people,” it added.
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