Google is buying a messaging startup

Sundar Pichai, google, android, sv100 2015

Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president at Google, speaks during a Google event at Dogpatch Studio in San Francisco, California, July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Google announced on Wednesday that it's buying messaging startup Jibe Mobile for non-disclosed amount.

Amir Sarhangi, Jibe Mobile's CEO, wrote in a letter on its website that the Google acquisition offers the startup "the big opportunity we saw at the start: to change the way people communicate using their mobile phones.

The messaging startup describes itself as a "cloud communications company for mobile operators, handset manufacturers, and other communication networks" that "provides an open end-to-end technology platform enabling carriers to rapidly launch and commercially scale the most innovative IP communication services to mobile consumers globally."
Additional financial details about the acquisition have not been announced.

"We're very excited to announce that the Jibe Mobile team is joining Google to help us bring RCS to a global audience," Google told Re/code. "Jibe is a leading provider of RCS services and they'll continue helping carriers easily deploy RCS to their users. We can't wait to work with them and build on the great work that they've already done."

You can read the full letter from Jibe Mobile's CEO below.

As a good friend once told me, if you want to do something big, start with something small - a single, singular challenge you can lead, and rally others to support.

For Jibe - a company we founded in 2006 - that lesson came true today with the announcement that we've been acquired by Google. The big opportunity we saw at the start: to change the way people communicate using their mobile phones.The "small" challenge we focused on: the future of messaging, the super simple mode for communication that's favored by billions of people, all over the world.

What we learned

Like many other startups, Jibe challenged the traditional approach. And through conviction, customer champions, and a great team, we're starting to see some changes in the industry. We began Jibe at a time when:

  • Internet growth had exploded
  • mobile was picking up steam
  • smartphones were just becoming popular
  • iPhone and Android had not yet been born
As the mobile world was opening up, we had a hunch that carriers had to become more competitive by becoming innovative. So we decided to start a company with the vision of bridging the newer world of Silicon Valley with the older world of telecommunications.

Together, with the entire industry, we are making our vision come true.

At first we focused on the fringes, thinking the most important problems had already been solved by the industry giants who had invested millions in IP communications. But we then realized that the world of mobile was moving quickly, and the industry had not been able to keep pace.

This journey was absolutely necessary for us to find our way, by bumping into a real problem which needed to be solved = messaging.
In 2010, we foresaw the future of messaging and invested heavily in Rich Communications Services (RCS), the new standard that was being positioned as the evolution of SMS. We then introduced the Jibe model to put carrier messaging in the cloud and flip the infrastructure business model upside down.

The first bite

Of course, convincing the first carrier to trust a small startup with their messaging - a core part of their business - was not easy. But once we did, we knew we were on to something and never looked back. At times we have been seen as mavericks as we try to balance the need to stay competitive by running ahead versus making sure we build industry consensus. But one could argue that this is exactly what the industry has needed. Our persistent position has gradually been vindicated, first by our customers - who in every way deserve credit for our success - and now by Google's belief in and commitment to us. We promise to stay true to our roots, and keep building great products for our customers.

Thanks to all

I want to thank all our customers, directors/advisors, and investors/lenders for not only supporting but keeping us focused. They've been partners in this journey - not idle watchers on the sidelines - looking out for the best interests of the entire industry.Finally, I want to thank the team at Jibe, not just for their brilliance, but for their toughness, their resilience, their loyalty - and, yes, of course, their focus on a thing that might have looked small, but was not so small after all.

-Amir Sarhangi, CEO and Co-founder, Jibe Mobile