LAUNCHPAD: Facebook Likes UK startup Monoidics so much it buys it

The social networking colossus has acquired London-based code checking start-up for an undisclosed sum

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 31 Jul 2013
Facebook has been swinging its wonga around Silicon Roundabout this week and landed on four-year-old startup Monoidics.

Zuckerberg’s UK office has bought Old Street-based Monoidics, producers of software designed to search for bugs in coding. Its technology can scour thousands of lines of code for mistakes – something Facebook’s apps have often been accused of being jam-packed with.

‘This asset acquisition represents our investment in the quality of our mobile applications platform and also our people, as members of their talented engineering team will join us to work at Facebook’s London office once the deal closes,’ Facebook London engineer, Phillip Su wrote on, well, Facebook, obviously.

‘We have always focused on hiring smart, talented engineers -- and in this acquisition, we found many,’ he said in his post.

The Monoidics team, led by co-founder Dino Distefano, appeared similarly delighted with the news. No doubt the ‘undisclosed’ sum headed their way will far eclipse the startup salaries they’ve been paying themselves since launch in 2009.

‘Joining the Facebook team opens up a world of new opportunity for our technology and for our individual and collective scientific expertise,’ they wrote in a blog post.

The technical staff at Monoidics will join the Facebook clan at their London office, once the deal is well and truly sealed. Having launched in 2009, Monoidics is believed to be profitable, with an estimated turnover of around £600,000. The technology behind its software uses mathematical principles to work out if a piece of software will work correctly. Facebook app users will no doubt be delighted by the prospect of fully functional gadgetry.

The purchase isn’t the first Facebook has made in London. It bought photo-sharing app (like Instagram, but different) back in May 2012 for another ‘undisclosed sum’.

The purchase of Monoidics will celebrated around much of east London: the sale confirms the innovation and technical expertise alive and well in our technology cluster. But it does throw up the old question about our ability to create strong, long-lasting tech giants of our own.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging our homegrown talent to maintain independence and grow to create our own UK tech giants rather than producing streams of underlings for the international big boys to gobble up? At this rate, we’ll never have a Facebook to call our own...

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