A new company which specializes in software for creating family trees has won the Globes “most promising start-up for 2013” award.
“We focused on offering tools for free in a wide range of languages. This gave us a foothold,” says MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet. “It went viral, when you invited new people and relatives to the process of building a family tree.”
The company also recently expanded operations to include collation, collection, and digitalization of historic documents, such as old newspapers and birth and marriage certificates.
“This is an untapped source of information, which supplements what people know. It’s accelerated in recent years, as archives around the world digitize and go online. We’ve set the goal of being the leading global website, and we established a large unit in Utah to focus on this issue, in collaboration with countries and organizations, such as newspapers,” says Japhet.
Japhet founded the company in 2005. It has raised $49 million to date from Bessemer Venture Partners, Index Ventures, Accel Partners and other investors.
MyHeritage’s basic services are free, while hundreds of thousands of users pay for premium services.
“We’re talking about annual subscriptions and renewals, which give the company a deterministic revenue engine. The recruitment rate of new subscribers is faster than the churn rate and non-renewal of subscriptions. People don’t want to lose access to their family history, and in most cases, you don’t buy a subscription for only one year,” says Japhet.