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Snapchat Silently Buys Israeli Augmented Reality Startup Cimagine

By Andy Franco , Dec 25, 2016 08:45 PM EST
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The popular messaging and multimedia mobile app Snapchat acquired Cimagine Media, an augmented reality platform from Israel.

Founded in 2012, Cimagine specializes in computer vision and real-time image processing. It is known for developing tech that allows its users to virtually place objects like home furniture they are considering for purchase within their home just through a mobile device. Users simply use the camera phone to scan the room, then gave a visualization of the product in 3D on the device.

Within 4 years, Cimagine has worked with brands like furniture franchise Jerome's and Coca-Cola to boost in-store sales and to improve their apps.

Snapchat, now Snap Inc., bought the augmented reality startup based in Kfar Yehoshua for an estimate of $30-$40 million. This is Snapchat's first Isreali acquisition, however, the company has made several acquisitions in 2016, including a $110 million deal with the mobile search app Vurb; ad tech company Flite; computer vision startup behind 3D selfies, Seene; and a $100 million purchase of personalized emoji maker, Bitstrips.

The obvious step is for Snapchat to use the fancy new tech to focus on shopping facilitation or improve its feature of superimposing objects over captured photos or videos. While the tech from Cimagine is impressive, Israeli newspaper Calcalist said that the company's highly-skilled team is probably the main reason for the acquisition instead of its technology.

Calcalist also said that Cimagine will become the center of research and development in Israel for Snapchat and is expected to rapidly expand its workforce from its current 20 employees.

Snap, Inc., on the other hand, has not made any official statement and remains silent about its acquisitions. The California-based company, however, is expected to go public as early as March of 2017 with an IPO that could value between $20 billion and $25 billion.

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