Singapore-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup Gridblaze is closing down after it inked an undisclosed 7-figure deal to sell its proximity storage technology and patent to an unnamed Silicon Valley company “in the consumer Internet space”.
As first reported by E27, founder Mikhail Choo has signed a transfer agreement with a “100+ person venture backed startup” which runs a “popular” Internet service. The 1,200 Gridblaze users were notified that the service would shut down two weeks ago, and it will cease serving them from February 22.
The deal will see the US firm gain the exclusive use of Gridblaze’s service, which launched in beta in July 2012 and uses a network of globally-deployed servers to enable applications and services to run faster by using a server that is local to each user.
For example, a user in Asia will enjoy a quicker experience because a service is routed through a local node in Asia, rather the traditional route that typically sees it run from Asia, to the US, and back to Asia.
Following the deal, Gridblaze’s three-man development team will join up with its US-based purchaser for a six month handover period, after which the technology will be fully integrated into the host company. Choo will travel to the US regularly, but will remain based in Singapore.
He tells TNW that the deal is “bitter sweet” since, in the hands of a major Web company, the Gridblaze technology has the potential to help many more people than if it were to remain with Grindblaze. “Getting big companies to use a service [from a small startup] is not easy,” he says, reflecting on one of the difficulties of startup life.
While the technology and patent become exclusive to the mystery firm, Choo retains the rights to use them and he may look to develop future “consumer Internet-focused” companies based on the technology.
He started Gridblaze after becoming frustrated with the slow speed of US cloud-based services in Asia, so it’s apt that the technology has been bought out by one of the kind of companies whose pain points it was designed to overcome.
Choo is likely to remain busy despite the abrupt and mysterious deal, which represents a rare example of a US Web firm making a transaction in Southeast Asia’s growing startup space. He says that he is plotting his next venture, but also has Ape Communication, the ad agency that he founded, to run.
Note: We have corrected the deal value to ‘7-figure’ after the post originally read ‘8-figure’.
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