Snapchat acquires social map app Zenly for $250M to $350M

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Snapchat’s latest characteristic, Snap Map, is predicated on its newest acquisition, social mapping startup Zenly. TechCrunch has realized that Snapchat has purchased Zenly for between $250 million and $350 million in principally money and a few inventory in a deal that closed in late Might. Snapchat will hold Zenly operating independently, just like how Fb lets Instagram run independently.

Zenly’s app lets customers see the place their pals at the moment are on a map utilizing fixed GPS within the background. Individuals can then message these pals within the app to make plans to hang around.

The Paris-based startup’s app has four million downloads in accordance with Sensor Tower, with 28% from France but in addition sizeable numbers in Asia together with 12% in South Korea and eight% in Japan. The app is usually utilized by teenagers making an attempt to maintain up with their pals round city, at college, or at live shows and different occasions. Zenly had raised $35.1 million, together with a $22.5 million Sequence B in September 2016 led by prestigious Silicon Valley enterprise capital agency Benchmark.

Zenly’s social map on the left appears to be like extraordinarily just like Snapchat’s new Snap Map on the best… as a result of Snap acquired Zenly

This morning, Snapchat launched its Snap Map location-sharing and location-based content material discovery characteristic. It really works barely in another way, solely pulling your location while you open the app, however in any other case appears to be like so just like Zenly that we suspected Snapchat had copied it. Sources informed us Snap expressed acquisition curiosity, however Zenly initially rejected them.

After extra digging, we’ve realized from sources near the deal that Snapchat did actually purchase Zenly. A Zenly phrases of service change on Might 25th could also be associated to the deal. A Snapchat worker has additionally been noticed retweeting individuals congratulating Zenly’s founders.

Fairly than shutting down Zenly and folding it into Snapchat, Snap Inc. will permit Zenly to run considerably autonomously. We requested Snap, nevertheless it declined to remark, and Zenly hasn’t returned our inquiries. As a substitute, right here’s TechCrunch’s interview with Zenly CEO Antoine Martin at Disrupt London final yr.

With each Snap Map and Zenly, Snap Inc. is hedging its bets within the social content material house. As a result of its Snapchat Tales characteristic is being aggressively copied by Instagram and Fb’s different apps, Snapchat is smart to broaden into the social utility house of serving to individuals meet up offline. Now Snap might personal two completely different apps on individuals’s dwelling screens.

Planning with pals includes a excessive diploma of intent — about what individuals wish to eat or do — there are many promoting and partnership alternatives down the road. You could possibly think about eating places, film studios and extra hoping to hit Zenly or Snap Map customers with advertisements as they plan to exit with pals.

Zenly’s app options

Whereas $250 million to $350 million could look like rather a lot to pay for Zenly, Snapchat has seen a lot of its different costly acquisitions end up effectively. It purchased Looksery for $150 million in money and bonuses, which went on to energy its iconic augmented actuality face filters. It purchased Bitstrips for $64.2 million, which has flourished as Snapchat’s Bitmoji customized avatar stickers. Story Search, QR Snapcodes and its Spectacles glasses have been all based mostly off its acquisitions of Vurb, Scan.me and Vergence Labs, respectively.

Zenly doesn’t appear to suit with Snap’s mission to be a digicam firm. However shopping for an app for assembly up with pals might let Snapchat personal the trail to doing the issues value capturing on digicam.

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Désiré LeSage

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