Netvibes acquired by Dassault Systèmes for $26M

Update from Om Malik at 6:39 a.m. PST, Feb. 9. Netvibes has been sold for about 20 million euros, or roughly $26 million, according to folks familiar with the transaction. While it is not a blockbuster outcome, it is the best possible outcome for the company, which has had a tumultuous history. The company, which was founded by Tariq Krim, a French entrepreneur, was once the shining star of the Web 2.0 movement, but it fell on hard times, only to be rescued by focusing on an entirely different set of customers. Netvibes should also be a cautionary tale for all of today’s shooting stars who get caught up in the hyperbole. My kudos go to CEO Freddy Mini, who helped guide the company to profits and finally to an exit.

Netvibes, the San Francisco–based company that allows people and brands to create personalized RSS and social media feed dashboards, announced on Wednesday evening it has been acquired by French enterprise software firm Dassault Systèmes. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini

The deal makes sense on a few levels, as Netvibes’ engineering team is based in France (CEO Freddy Mini splits his time between France and California.) The company has also been around for a while — since 2005 — and in that time has grown from being a personal RSS feed dashboard to a profitable enterprise web analytics service. Even though there have been a few management changes and strategy pivots along the way, Netvibes’ tenacity and very smart shift toward enterprise products surely helped position it as an attractive acquisition candidate.

As far as the near future goes, it seems that many things for Netvibes will remain the same. A rep for the company said in an email:

Our brand, business, products and team all stay. Our free product will remain free and available to our millions of users. What will change is that Netvibes can innovate even faster.

At the same time, Dassault, which is best known for making 3-D computer-aided design and project life cycle management software used by large corporations for industrial projects (Boeing uses Dassault tools to design its jets, for example), seems on the surface like a fairly unexpected match for a social web–focused company like Netvibes. It will be interesting to see how Netvibes’ tools are integrated into Dassault’s product lineup in the longer run.

Feature image of Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini courtesy of Flickr user snackfight