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Frank Böhnke

From a hugely popular consumer platform
to an integral part of Microsoft Live Search

Ciao is Europe’s leading online community for independent reviews and ratings on millions of consumer products and services. The company launched in 1999 with initial funding from Wellington Partners and Burda Ventures. Wellington and the other investors supported the management team throughout the difficult years 2000-2002. During this period, the enormous popularity of the Ciao platform with consumers enabled the management team to develop and execute successfully business models in the areas of shopping comparison and online market research. In 2004, Ciao had a total of 210 market research clients and became the European market leader for online surveys.

Ciao’s strong profitable growth and excellent market position in Europe won it the attention of NASDAQ - listed Greenfield Online. In April 2005, this leading provider of online surveys in the US. acquired the company. The sustained growth and the enormous popularity of Ciao prompted Microsoft to acquire Greenfield Online in a transaction valued at approx. $ 486 million three years later. After the closing of the merger, Microsoft has integrated Ciao in its bing platform.  

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