According to recent reports, Snap Inc. has bought a small Venice, California-based drone startup named “Ctrl Me.” According to the reports by BuzzFeed, the acquisition was a small-scale acquihire and ‘Snap Inc.’ – the company which is behind the photo-sharing app Snapchat – spent more or less $1 million to hire Simon Nielsen, the founder of Ctrl Me.
The acquisition happened in 2016, not this year
The popular entertainment news site BuzzFeed was the first to report the news about the acquisition on Friday afternoon. Later, another popular news site Variety learned from a person familiar with the matter that the acquisition actually took place late last year. The company ‘Snap Inc.’ has refused to comment on the acquisition deal.
A source familiar with the matter told the news site Variety that the California-based drone startup was not actually building its own drones but rather, it acted more like “a small, specialized retailer, reselling other company’s drones and custom-rigging them to carry heavy high-end cameras.” In 2014, the co-founder of the drone startup described some of that work in a YouTube video.
Now, it looks like the acquisition by the photo and video sharing giant may be more about adding expertise to the team and less about buying and using an actual technology. According to the source familiar with the deal, Nielsen, who is popular among the people as a drone expert, understands the limitations of the technology as well.
Not the first time Snap is showing interest in drones
Now, if you think that this is the first time that the photo and video sharing company is showing interest in drones, then you are mistaken. Just last year, news site Business Insider reported that the company had been in talks to buy the Berkeley-based drone startup Lily Robotics. However, those talks with the drone company did not result in any successful acquisition.
According to the BuzzFeed report, the drone startup was founded to develop a system for capturing movie-quality aerial video. Also, some technology of the startup and the founder is included in the small acquisition, said the report. Snap has already launched a hardware product: sunglasses called Spectacles, which capture video for the mobile application of the company. The drone industry is already suffering because of competition from China-based drone manufacturer company ‘DJI.’
In March, the video and photo sharing giant posted a large IPO, but it has been struggling since then including a large drop after its first earnings report as a public company showed a $2.2 billion quarterly loss. On Friday, the shares of Snap closed with a 3.2% decline at $21.22.