What Viber’s $900m acquisition means for Cypriot (and other EU) startups.

It’s with great excitement that I saw the news spreading about Viber’s acquisition by Japanese internet-juggernaughts Rakuten for $900m.

Not only have the team (in Belarus I believe) worked hard on bringing an instant, free and quality messaging system to almost every device (*cough* whatsapp where’s your desktop version already? *cough*) but they also were originally registered as a Cypriot company.

This makes me smile because during the last 2-3 years I don’t think I met a VC, investor or startup-enthusiast (not from the island, obviously) who ‘liked’ the idea of a company registering on the island.

Maybe this news just goes to show that being splat down in the middle of the Asian and US markets, with direct access to Europe, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when you are building a global product.¬†Oooor maybe the economic system just allows for a more lean approach to starting up something that requires a longer runway to revenue?

Whatever their reasons were for choosing Cyprus as a base, a precedent has been smashed, and a company registered in Cyprus can reach a global-scale exit. That’s good news in my opinion.

Either way, a big bravo to everyone involved with Viber, and I happily expect to see many many more anime-related stickers in the store from on.

Keep the passion!

(Full-disclosure: I work hard on connecting the Cypriot startup ecosystem with another 5 nations across Europe, so if I can answer any questions regarding setting up in Cyprus, send me a tweet or post a comment below.)

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