The American giant Google has so far boasted only one acquisition in Poland. In March 2022, it spent more than PLN 3 billion on an office and hotel complex in Warsaw and established a cloud technology development center there. Half a year later, he made his first acquisition of a technology company in Poland. He got 100 percent. Semihalf shares in Krakow.
Until now, information about the deal from a year ago was known only to insiders. Google did not want to publish this data to the public, but in the end the new owner’s data appeared in the national court registry. The main parties involved are still reluctant to reveal details – the deal is covered by confidentiality agreements. However, PB managed to create something.
The previous owner of Semihalf recorded PLN 35.7 million from the sale of shares in the financial statements. Taking into account the results of the Krakow company, which last year increased its profits to PLN 11.7 million from PLN 5.6 million in the previous year, and revenues to PLN 37.4 million from PLN 23 million, it can be assumed that this is not a practical total value. In the case of technology companies, the valuation is usually a double-digit multiple of EBITDA, and additional payments are often used depending on different criteria, usually future results (so-called earn-out).
A company like no other
The acquisition target is a unique company in many respects. Because of what she does, she is not widely known in Poland. “Things that are on our mind are so unpopular and unpopular that other programmers sometimes don’t know what exactly we do” – such an introduction greets the user on the company’s website. His profile is more suitable for companies operating in Silicon Valley. Semihalf programmers do not create common applications, but deal with so-called low-level programming, responsible for example for the operation of processors.
We do dirty work that cannot be seen, without which modern computers and systems would not work. In order for the microprocessor to work, there must be a bootable program for it, and we, among others, are the ones that we create. You could say that our software brings hardware to life – without it, hardware would remain a dead artifact, useless for anything – says Rafael Javorowski, who founded Semihalf in 2006 with his friend Bartlomiej Sieka.
Bring wizards to life
Most of the company’s clients come from the USA, especially Silicon Valley, and Israel, the world’s modern center for advanced semiconductor design. An important group of customers are the so-called chipmakers, that is, companies that design new processors, and for which Semihalf creates the mentioned system software.
– Because this program must be created before the new processor is introduced to the intended recipients, we have access to the world’s most advanced processors at an early stage of their design and development – says Rafai Javorowski.
Modern microprocessors are some of the most complex products ever created by man. The software for them is inevitably very complex as well.
Another specialty of Semihalf is boot software, which starts working immediately after you turn on the computer, before the operating system boots (like the BIOS in a PC), and a more low-level area – the design of reconfigurable FPGA hardware systems. Wawel’s enterprise software can be found in elements of communications, networking and data center infrastructure, and is the foundation for devices such as routers, switches, access points, firewalls, smart network cards and more.
Krakow programmers’ collaboration with the giant began in 2010, when they were racing for a while with… Apple.
– Our first project with Google started in early 2010. Then we created a prototype of a tablet with a touch screen. The project involved designing the entire device and adapting Android to work on our new platform. To show the context and importance of this project, I will add that it was the time when the first Apple iPad appeared, so our device was groundbreaking, although we ended up with only a few working prototypes – recalls Rafai Javorowski.
From here, the matter is not far away, that is, what prompted the American giant to acquire the company. This is another specialty of Krakow programmers – operating systems. Semihalf is located deep inside them, specifically in the so-called kernel, working directly with the microprocessor. It develops the inner part of the nucleus, among other things. Linux, Unix, macOS, and for several years now ChromeOS, the operating system for Chromebooks.
“Semihalf has an extremely talented team with extensive system design and development experience in areas such as firmware, connectivity, virtualization, and more. We look forward to working closely with the team to improve the quality of the ChromeOS experience,” Google said.
From the experts’ point of view
More and more giants on the Vistula River
CMT Consultant Partner
Increasingly large American entities, such as EPAM or Snowflake, which aspire to become giants, are investing in Polish IT companies. However, Silicon Valley moguls are always looking for unique technologies, which, by definition, are few in number. This is why the largest international companies rarely operate in Poland. It is not uncommon for innovative Polish companies, such as Estimote and Brainly, to follow suit and move into the American market. Giants from other industries are more active in the mergers and acquisitions area. An example of this is the acquisition of ADOB Group by the global company Nouryon Chemicals Holding.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.