Friday 17 January 2020

SnapChat buys social mapping startup Zenly for $200m to allow users to track their friends

Snapchat logo
Snapchat logo

Sarah Frier

Snap acquired Zenly, a French startup that makes a social map so people can see where their friends are hanging out, for $200m in cash plus additional stock awards, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Los Angeles-based Snap bought Zenly in late May, according to the person, and has already turned the product into a feature on its main Snapchat application that lets users see friends’ photo and video posts by location. The tool uses Bitmoji - animated cartoon avatars users can personalise to depict themselves - as the markers on the map.

Zenly and Bitmoji, which chief executive Evan Spiegel added through another acquisition last year, show that Snap is willing to purchase tools to broaden the application’s appeal.

The company has said that product updates will be the main drivers of user growth, which slowed in the first quarter, sparking concern about the company’s trajectory just months after its initial public offering.

The company has been moving more deeply into location-based tools, using deals to build out its portfolio. It acquired Placed earlier this month to help it track whether ads are driving people to physical stores.

Snap declined to comment. The purchase of Zenly was reported earlier Wednesday by Techcrunch.

Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel is currently worth $2.1bn according to Forbes
Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel is currently worth $2.1bn according to Forbes

Independent News Service

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