from the January 2010 issue

PlanPlatform sold for $25m

The Israeli startup PlanPlatform, formerly known as VisualTau, has been sold to the U.S. company Autodesk. The price of the deal was not disclosed, but industry observers estimate it to be $25 million.

PlanPlatform has developed an online software platform that seeks to compete with the costly two-dimensional and three-dimensional drafting tools used by engineers, such as Autodesk's AutoCAD.

As VisualTau, the company had developed a system that provides the online software, which can be used to construct models collaboratively and exchange information online. PlanPlatform was established in 2007 by former members of the Israel Air Force's visual intelligence unit and Israel Aerospace Industries - chief executive Tal Weiss, VP Jonathan Seroussi and project manager Iris Shor.

The company has raised $4.3 million, including $800,000 of which came from private investors and the chief scientist and $3.5 million from the Sequoia venture capital fund. According to Business Data Israel, the company's private investors include contractor Eyal Gabbay, who heads the infrastructure division of the Association of Contractors and Builders in Israel.

Although the exit is relatively low in value, it is one of Sequoia's better deals in terms of return on investment. The U.S.-based venture capital fund invested in PlanPlatform just six months ago, during PlanPlatform's most recent round of financing.

In light of the fact that the company was founded only about two years ago, it is one of the more profitable exits for its investors and founders.

Autodesk, which acquired PlanPlatform, is traded on the Nasdaq at a market cap of $5.62 billion. The company ended the second quarter with sales revenues of $415 million. It is based in San Rafael, California. Autodesk's principal product lines are professional design tools such as drafting software for engineers and architects, including AutoCAD and Revit Architecture, and Maya Autodesk, for animation design.

Autodesk has a worldwide workforce of about 7,800 employees. This is the second design software exit in Israel's high-tech sphere in recent months: Expert Dynamics, the developer of software for the simulation of printed circuit boards, was bought out in October by Mentor Graphics for $10 million.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report January 2010

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