How Did A New Zealand Woman Sell Her Wildfire Facebook App To Google For $250 Million?

The role of social media marketing cannot be overstated. It’s an idea we’ve all been hearing for awhile but many entrepreneurs and startup folks still aren’t entirely certain how it works.


That’s just it. The idea seems simple enough but the challenge is how to leverage the resources and contacts you already have to draw traffic and generate money to your product.


Another Google Buyout

It seems as if four year old startup, the Wildfire Facebook App, has been acquired by Google and this time, it looks as if the price tag is about $250 million, with additional bonuses reportedly going towards the company.


Wildfire is a social media marketing firm founded by New Zealand native, Victoria Ransom.



Launched in 2008, Wildfire has been used to successfully run marketing campaigns, content, and promotions on social media sites. Just in the the couple of years the startup grew from five employees to 400.


The Roots of Wildfire

Ransom grew up on a farm in New Zealand in area so rural that her elementary school had 25 students total. Although her parents didn’t attend college, Ransom grew up in an environment in which the idea that she could achieve anything was constantly transmitted to her.


In between high school and college, Ransom was awarded a scholarship to attend a  civil service program that’s a part of the United World College in which academics and service are part of one’s education. After completing that program, she attended Macalester College which stressed an international understanding of the world alongside academics.




The Entrepreneurial Spirit

After graduating from school, Ransom got a position with Morgan Stanley where she witnessed entrepreneurs trying to catch the attention of Morgan Stanley investments. Not satisfied at Morgan Stanley, Ransom hung on for two years before quitting to start her first company, an adventure travel company called Access Trips.


Still, Ransom wanted to go to graduate business school and ended up attending and graduating from Harvard Business School in 2008.



It was in 2007 that Facebook launched business fan pages and Ransom needed to figure out how to run a sweepstakes from the page. The issue at the time was building an app that could do it through the Facebook page. Although it was done as a side project to solve an internal issue with Access Trips, Ransom soon found that Zappos and Kayak were using the app for their pages as well.


After Harvard, Ransom headed towards Silicon Valley.


The Valley Inspiration

Silicon Valley was were it all came together for the Wildfire Facebook App. Bootstrapping the business and working from home, Ransom and her partners applied for The Facebook Fund where they were one of five companies granted cash to further their app and thus, their new business.


From there the ball began to roll quicker and quicker and the company, Wildfire, quickly became the way companies ran sweepstakes and campaigns via Facebook and eventually through the most important social media sites.

In just four years, the Wildfire Facebook App was bought by Google after rumors circled that it was Facebook that was going to buy the company. Now, it’ll be interesting to see just how Facebook responds.


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