London-based private equity firm EMK Capital LLP agreed to acquire a majority stake in Israeli VPN startup Luminati, the enterprise proxy network division of Hola Networks, for an enterprise value of $200 million. Hola’s early investors Horizons Ventures, DFJ Tamir Fishman, Trilogy Partners, DFJ, Magma Ventures, Iris Ventures, and others are selling their interests in Luminati as part of the deal.
Hola’s co-founders Ofer Vilenski, and Derry Shribman will retain a significant stake in the company and Vilenski will continue as Luminati’s CEO.
Luminati‘s enterprise proxy solutions were separated from Hola in 2014. Hola is a freemium web and mobile application which claims to provide a faster, private and more secure Internet. It provides a form of virtual private network services to its users through a peer-to-peer network. It also uses peer-to-peer caching. When a user accesses certain domains that are known to use geo-blocking, the Hola application redirects the request to go through the computers and Internet connections of other users in non-blocked areas, thereby circumventing the blocking.
Luminati is a world leading enterprise IP proxy network. With a proprietary network of over 30 million residential IPs and large network of data centers, it helps make the Web more transparent by allowing businesses to see the Web as it appears to real consumers, without being blocked, slowed or spoofed and to view the Web from different users’ perspectives from any city across the globe. The company’s technology and patent portfolio allow it to operate what it deems to be the only mass-scale residential IP proxy network in the world.
Luminati serves corporate clients which use its transparency network for ad verification, brand protection, price comparison, fraud prevention, data collection, cyber security, and application performance measurement.
“We believe that with EMK’s transformational growth experience, Luminati will reach the next level in its development, bringing transparency to commerce and data security,” Vilenski said:
Mark Joseph, Managing Partner at EMK said: “EMK Capital is delighted to have agreed to acquire Luminati in partnership with its Founders. The Luminati team led by Ofer Vilenski has built an innovative and fast growing business, which helps address some of the key challenges online businesses face today. We look forward to working closely with such a highly performing team to help take Luminati to the next stage of its growth.”
EMK was co-founded by Edmund Lazarus, previously Founder and Managing Partner of Bregal Capital, and Mark Joseph, previously Founder and Partner at Oakley Capital Private Equity. The firm is focused on investing in businesses with unrecognized and/or hard to realise value and where EMK can support management teams in executing transformative change. The firm closed its first fund in May 2017 at its hard cap of £575 million. In August 2017 the fund acquired Reconomy, the UK’s leading outsourced waste management business.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal served as legal advisors to EMK. CODE Advisors served as financial advisor and Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co., served as legal advisor to Hola Networks. Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co., served as legal advisor to Hola Networks’ major investors.
Photo: Ofer Vilenski, co-founder & CEO of Hola and Iluminati. (Ynet August 2016 video interview)