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Walmart acquires Aussie tech start-up Grabble

Friday, 11 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Australian tech start-up Grabble has been acquired by US retail giant Walmart for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that will see Grabble’s technology and talent become part of Walmart Labs.

 

Founded in January 2010 by Stuart Argue and Anthony Marcar, Grabble provides retailers a point-of-service app for purchases.

 

“Grabble started with a vision to make shopping smarter in a garage in Wollongong,” the company said in a statement.

 

“Today we are pleased to announce that Walmart has acquired the company and we will be joining the Walmart Labs team.”

 

“We’re excited about seeing our passion play out on a larger stage and especially look forward to working with the team at Walmart.”

 

Walmart Labs is the digital technology division of Walmart. Argue and Marcar have confirmed they will relocate to the US to join the Walmart Labs team, which is based in Silicon Valley.

 

The founders made special mention of Australian mentor-driven seed fund Startmate, which “recognised Grabble’s potential early on”, and US tech accelerator 500 Start-ups.

 

StartupSmart contacted Grabble for further comment, but was told “we don’t have any more comments about the acquisition at the moment”.

 

The news comes just one week after Melbourne-based data-mining start-up Kaggle secured $US11 million in funding from a raft of investors including PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

 

Meanwhile, Startmate recently opened up applications for its second funding round, expanding the program from five to seven start-up businesses.

 

The scheme, which invests $25,000 for a 7.5% stake in chosen tech start-ups, will run from January to April 2012, following its inaugural round earlier this year.

 

Startmate will also have additional mentors, including Silicon Valley-based Ash Fontana and Ozan Onay. Argue and Marcar will also act as mentors.

 

Niki Scevak, co-founder of Startmate, says he “underestimated” the level of interest among US investors for the first round of program participants.

 

“The willingness of US investors to put money in Australian start-ups surprised me,” he told StartupSmart.

 

“They were very interested in what was happening in Australia and there is already a great Australian start-up community in Silicon Valley, so we will be looking to build up the US component.”

 

“The success of Startmate is whether mentors are involved with start-ups after the program and then participants come back as mentors, as Grabble has done.”