Snap Inc, the parent company behind the popular messaging app Snapchat, is buying Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for an estimated USD $30-40 million, marking Snapchat’s first acquisition in Israel reported Israel’s Calcalist News on Sunday (IE).
Cimagine developed true markerless augmented reality—technology that allows users to virtually place furniture and appliances they wish to purchase in the space of their home, on their mobile devices, at the click of a button, all you need is a mobile or tablet to see whether a piece of furniture fits into the place.
Augmented Reality Startup Cimagine’s technology can work with any smartphone or tablet available unlike Google’s Tango which requires compatible smartphone (say, a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro) that requires extra hardware, sensors and a specialized camera.
Cimagine Media is a four-year-old startup, which helps retailers and consumers visualize products that they are planning to purchase by placing them in their home before purchasing.
Cimagine will become Snapchat’s research and development centre in Israel and is expected to rapidly expand its workforce from its current 20 employees, Calcalist said.
The company’s highly-skilled team is probably the main reason for the acquisition, rather than its technology, Calcalist said.
The company was founded in 2012 and has raised a few million dollars.
Venice, California-based Snapchat is expected to go public as early as March with a valuation of as much as $25 billion.
Messaging app Snapchat current has 150 million daily active users, which puts it ahead of Twitter. That growth rate is mind boggling for any social network, but Snapchat is entering new territories, as in case of the Spectacles, which have video-recording capabilities and can created 10-seconds clips that one can directly upload to Snapchat or their smartphone.
Other acquisitions of Snapchat are –
- Flite (acquihire) – an adtech company
- Vurb – mobile search app, for which Snapchat paid a reported $110 million
- Seene – a computer vision startup that allowed users to take three-dimensional selfies
- Bitstrips – a maker of personalized emojis known as bitmojis etc.