The Israeli-based QR startup Visualead Ltd, will be absorbed by the Alibaba empire of Jack Ma, according to the Israeli site Calcalist, who first reported it. Jack Ma’s company is a current investor in Visualead, and has being in talks to acquire the startup for several months. At the beginning of this year, Alibaba announced a $1.5 billion push to grow internationally, and a lab in the Middle East tech capital Tel Aviv was part of that plan.
Visualead software generates personalized QR codes, which differ from the typical black-and-white codes by using colorful designs. The QR codes are compatible with smartphones and portable devices, and also serve like optical labels with product information, allowing product tracking and protection against counterfeiting.
Visualead has raised $10 million in three rounds of founding. In the last one, which raised $5 million, Alibaba lead the round. If Jack Ma’s company completes the acquisition, it will be the first for the Chinese giant in Israel, where they have established a presence since 2015 when they became a limited partner for Jerusalem Venture Partners. Alibaba also has invested in Israeli startups like Twiggle, Infinity Augmented Reality, Lumus, and ThetaRay.
Founded in 2012 in Herzliya, nine miles north of Tel Aviv, Visualead will became the first step in the expansion of Alibaba operation in a region that’s blossoming with opportunities and talent, to drive their plans of improvement and diversification, with a heavy focus on development of AI and new technologies. No amount of money has been made public, but according to Times of Israel, the deal could be around tens of millions of dollars.