Snap has reportedly made an investment in augmented reality, purchasing Israeli-based startup Cimagine Media in a deal that’s said to be worth between $30 million and $40 million.
Originally reported by Calcalist News, this acquisition will provide Snap with a development center in the Middle East, one that will eventually house more than the 20 people currently working at Cimagine Media.
Founded four years ago, Cimagine specializes in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, international marketing, and more. All of these areas are obviously compelling for Snap, whose Snapchat app is heavily reliant on augmented reality and the like. But Cimagine also brings to the table a focus on commerce, and as Snap looks toward going public, perhaps sometime next year, facilitating shopping through Snapchat might open up additional revenue opportunities.
Cimagine already has partnerships with Shop Direct, John Lewis, and Coca-Cola, and it’s aiming to help more retailers tap into the potential of augmented reality. Snap itself may want to eventually strike partnerships with big box retailers and department stores to accelerate engagement and time spent on its site. And merchants may want additional advertising opportunities, so the potential that Cimagine’s technology and team could bring to bear may be enticing.
Or perhaps Cimagine’s team will support Snap in laying objects over photos and videos captured through Snapchat.
Should an IPO be in Snap’s future, it needs to remain one step ahead of Facebook, which has been rapidly copying features from Snapchat. Investors are looking for real market leadership, so Snap’s acquisition of camera technology, especially around augmented reality, could give it a bit of a leg up.
Prior to the acquisition, Cimagine had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Explore. Dream. Discover, iVentures Asia Ltd., OurCrowd, and PLUS Ventures. This would be Snap’s second acquisition his month — the company also purchased Flite to integrate its ad technology into Snap’s offering. In fact, this year has been a busy one for the ephemeral camera technology company, as it has already made a total of four known buys, including the $110 million deal for Vurb, the purchase of Obvious Engineering (also known as Seene), and the $100 million it dished out for Bitstrips.
Although the Cimagine deal was reported by Calcalist News, no official word has been released — to be honest, Snap tends to be secretive about its acquisitions. We’ve reached out to Snap and Cimagine Media and will update if we hear back.