The self-destructing video messaging application Snapchat has just shopped a Toronto-based startup that builds the popular Bitmojis, Bitstrips for $100 million. The news broke by Fortune which reported, citing an anonymous source close to the deal, which costs $100 million for Evan Spiegel’s social network. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal report says, Snapchat Inc. has agreed to pay more than $100 million in cash and stock to acquire Bitstrips Inc.
Despite surrounded by controversies within the founders, data leakage and on the privacy issues, Snapchat has well garnered the users, especially youths to its bucket. Due to its easy to use application, Bitstrips’ Bitmoji has also become increasingly popular among the smartphone users. It’s as simple as downloading the app and create a personalized avatar with different face shapes, eye colors, hair colors, hair styles and other features.
Once the users create the avatars, they can set the Bitmoji as a third-party keyboard on their phones so that they can send these as emojis on almost any apps that supports emojis. This application is a customized emoji keyboard like a customized firmware such as CyanogenMod on an Android phone. Bitmoji has become so popular among the smartphone and social networking enthusiasts that various tech analysts called it a new “digital identity” for every user.
Bitstrips firm was founded in 2007 – initially, as a personalized comics platform. As time passes by the Internet fever has spread so fast that it has become a developer of an app to create customized and shareable cartoon avatars.
As of now Snapchat has not yet announced the acquisition officially, nor commented on the news anywhere to anyone. However, experts suggest that the company could be planning a better integration with smartphone keyboards. It looks like, the Bitstrip acquisition will add one more way for Snapchat to earn more revenue in the long term. Snapchat is reportedly looking to generate at least $300 million in revenue in 2016, which is up from a reported $50 million in 2015.
As of now, Snapchat earns revenue from lenses, video ads and Snapchat Channels. Now, with the new acquisition, the company would be adding Bitmoji to its advertising ecosystem, which could be a interesting platform for users, investors and brands.
“All the movies, all the television shows, all the fashion houses, all the pop stars, they all want to be Bitmojis because we somehow became the determinant of who has made it,” Bitstrips Chief Executive Jacob Blackstock recently told Forbes.
According to the reports, Bitstrips, so far, has received well over $11 million in venture capital funding from the firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Horizons Ventures. Meanwhile, Snapchat has received just over $1.3 million funding from investors, but the acquisition spree started in the last year. Last year, Snapchat acquired the “Lenses” developer firm Vergence Labs, but that acquisition cost wasn’t close to the price of this deal.
Most of Snapchat’s income is obtained by advertising. Recently, Snapchat Inc introduced geo filters, where users can buy it and determine where they want them to appear, and for how long on the messaging application, from prices up to $5.
According to the Financial Times report, In 2015, Snapchat has seen more than 6 billion video views per day. Despite those video length is much smaller when compared to YouTube and Facebook videos, analysts are impressed with those numbers since the social network giant Facebook registers 8 billion views per day with a larger userbase of 1.01 billion daily active users.
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