Miro Quietly Acquired Startup Around, a Video Conferencing App

  • Around is a next generation video conferencing app founded in 2018.
  • It was acquired by Miro in June, but both parties remained silent until contacted by Insider.
  • Terms were not disclosed, although a source said the deal was worth up to $300 million.

Miro, a visual collaboration company last valued at $17.5 billion, has quietly acquired Around, a next-generation video conferencing app. The transaction closed in June, but both parties kept it under wraps until contacted by Insider this week.

“The idea was that this team and their expertise can be used to deliver specific experiences, and when those experiences are ready to be delivered, then we can talk about them,” said Varun Parmer, Miro’s Chief Product Officer.

Neither Parmer nor a Miro spokeswoman would share the terms of the deal.

A person close to the acquisition put the value at between $250 million and $300 million in cash and cash equivalents, which the person called a “life-changing payday” for Around founders Dominik Zane, Matt Zakutny and Pavel Serbajlo. However, another person with knowledge of the deal said the value was much less than $250 million. (Zane, who is CEO, did not respond to a message seeking comment.)

Earlier this year, Zoom introduced a new virtual whiteboard feature that competes with Miro.

Zane and Serbajlo, Around’s chief technology officer, previously founded M.dot, a mobile marketing company that was acquired by GoDaddy.

With Around, Zane told TechCrunch in 2020 that they wanted to build a better version of Zoom, which he said was “built around decades of assumptions about what a video call should be.”

“A Zoom video call is basically a phone connected to a video camera,” Zane said. “In design, it’s not very different from the original Picturephone that was introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair.”

Around has received favorable reviews for its “floating head” video chat feature that allows conversations to stay in the background instead of touching the entire screen.

Founded in 2011, Miro’s online collaborative whiteboard enables in-person, hybrid, and remote teams to collaborate on a variety of projects, from brainstorming to project management. The company became popular during the pandemic as companies were forced to organize their employees across different geographic locations and time zones.

In 2020 alone, the startup more than doubled its headcount, from 250 to over 500 employees. Thanks to the company-wide shift to remote work, Miro raised hundreds of millions from investors including Accel and ICONIQ Capital and saw its valuation soar to $17.5 billion.

Parmer added that Miro has retained the entire Around team, which will be tasked with helping launch new tools to help engineering, product and design teams collaborate better remotely as part of a new initiative called Miro Labs .

“It’s a product incubation and innovation program,” Parmer added. “We want to get the community to give us feedback on the problems we’re solving.”

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