This is Facebook's third and biggest acquisition in Israel, which will lead to the opening of a development center in the country.
Onavo has raised so far only $13 million from investors like Sequoia Capital, Li Ka-shing's Horizons Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Motorola Mobility (which has been acquired by Google).
The company was founded by Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger and employs about 30 workers in Ramat Gan and Palo Alto, California.
Onavo was founded in 2009, developing cloud-based technologies allowing the compression of data on smartphones. The company provides a data-compression technology for popular applications like Facebook and Google Maps, and transfers the traffic on these applications through its servers. There, it ensures that the phone receives the minimum data required to present the same data to its user.
In recent years, Onavo has made a name for itself as a research company: The startup uses the information it collects on its servers to rank the popularity of applications, functioning as a sort of rating company.
Facebook is likely purchasing Onavo not just for its rating abilities, but also in order to minimize the Facebook application's data consumption on cell phones. The social network is expected to use Onavo's technology as part of the Internet.org project to reduce the cost of Internet connection.
The social network has already acquired two other Israeli companies: Snaptu, an application developer for mobile devices that are less sophisticated than smartphones, which was bought for $70 million in 2011; and Face.com, which supports facial recognition technology and was purchased in 2012 for $100 million.