Snap Inc., the owner of messaging app Snapchat and the creator of the Spectacles, has quietly made strides in shoring up its augmented reality division through a quiet acquisition of Israeli company Cimagine.
Cimagine was reported to have been acquired by Snap for between $30 million and $40 million, but it will be staying in Israel and will become the latest R&D unit of Snap.
Snap's Plans For Cimagine
Four-year-old startup Cimagine has an augmented reality platform that allows users to instantly visualize products that they are planning to purchase by placing them on top of the location where they are intended for.
One example that Cimagine shows in its official website includes a partnership with Coca-Cola, wherein a Coca-Cola dispenser is shown in the location where it is being planned to be put up using augmented reality through a mobile device's camera. Such a capability has been shown with Google's Project Tango and the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, but that platform requires extra hardware in the form of sensors and cameras, while Cimagine's technology does not.
Snap will likely be using Cimagine's technology to further enhance its augmented reality projects, such as the recent one between Snapchat and Starbucks, which allowed Snapchat users to superimpose a Starbucks drink over their pictures before sending them out friends.
Snap's acquisition of Cimagine paves the way toward a bigger establishment of a development center in Israel while also proving to be a talent grab. The four cofounders of Cimagine, namely CEO Yoni Nevo, Nir Daube, Amiram Avraham, and Ozi Egri, are all specialists in image processing and computer vision.
A Busy Year For Snap Inc.
The acquisition of Cimagine caps off a busy year for Snap Inc., which took on the new brand in September as the company looks to evolve beyond simply being a messaging app provider.
In that same month, Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel unveiled the Spectacles, which are video-recording sunglasses that are capable of recording 10-second video clips and directly uploading them to Snapchat. While first compared to the discontinued Google Glass, the Spectacles has proven to be nothing like the Google Glass due to its simplicity and has skyrocketed in popularity.
Last month, Snap Inc. filed for confidentiality for its initial public offering at a valuation of $25 billion, with the IPO said to be taking place in March 2017.
Over all these developments, Snap has not forgotten about the messaging app that started it all, with new features such as World Lenses and Snapchat Groups continuously being churned out for Snapchat.