Friday, January 06, 2006

Comments on Reqwireless and Google

I don't intend for this blog to be focused on the day's events, but since the "Google acquired Reqwireless" story unfolded and broke here, I've received a few requests for comments. To save myself some time ... here they are.

I've known the principals behind Reqwireless since 2003 and Google got some excellent people with this deal. The core team was very small, but they did a great job in building Reqwireless and developing their software. I'll now be able to say that the first Waterloo company that I brought in a Toronto VC to meet with ended up being acquired by Google.

What the deal will mean to the community remains to be seen, but it's cool to have Google in town. We don't get many $125 billion companies dropping by ... certainly not with Google's cachet. They haven't announced yet what the plans are for the local site. Adobe -- which is bigger than RIM -- been here for years and hardly anyone knows about it. We had Cisco and AOL and HP here in the past, so it's too early to speculate on what this might mean long-term.

Some background: Reqwireless was founded in 2001. The principals are UW grads. The company's WebViewer and EmailViewer had become -- partly by accident -- very popular applications in the Java-based mobile device market, which was just beginning to take off. It had raised about $400,000 in seed funding by mid-2003. The company didn't intend to be in the business of selling applications in a retail market, but people around the world were willing to pay for the products and Reqwireless ... for a while ... was happy to accept their money. By mid-2004 it was looking at either bringing in more investment or being acquired. By the end of the year, there were some offers on the table. The deal with Google was made a few months later but not announced. The July edition of the Waterloo Tech Digest reported that Reqwireless had been acquired.

Google was tight-lipped about the deal, and only made its presence in Waterloo known officially a few days before Christmas. There had been speculation for months -- about both Google and Reqwireless, although not necessarily together.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's official ... Google acquires Waterloo's Reqwireless

It's true ... Google is in Waterloo. It acquired Waterloo's Reqwireless last summer. Confirmation was made today by Google following months of speculation -- both about Google coming to Waterloo and about who acquired Reqwireless.

Reqwireless developed a mobile application toolkit as well as two successful Java applications for mobile devices -- a browser and an e-mail client. The applications were originally developed to demonstrate the toolkit, but they ended up generating healthy, profitable revenues for the company. About a year ago, Reqwireless had been in acquisition talks with a few suitors. The company was founded by UW grad Roger Skubowius in 2001.

In a statement, Google said it acquired Reqwireless "because of the talented engineers and great technology. We're thrilled to have them here." And it's looking to hire some more engineers here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Google in Waterloo revisited

Reqwireless, a Waterloo-based developer of mobile wireless applications, was acquired last summer by a company that very much wanted to remain anonymous. One of Reqwireless' principals, Joanne McKinley, is speaking at the CUTC conference next week as a representative of Google, where she is a software engineer. According to her bio, she still lives in Waterloo.

Can Windsor use a non-snub to energize a focus on innovation?

OMG, did you hear? There's a new $100 million "Innovation SuperCorridor" initiative from the province introduced in the budget...