Snapchat reportedly buys Israeli AR startup Cimagine for $30-$40 million


Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah indeed if reports pan out to be true that Snapchat (Snap, Inc.) has made its first acquisition of an Israeli startup, Cimagine Media, for a price somewhere between $30 and $40 million.

The buy would turn Cimagine into Snapchat’s de facto development center in Israel, according to the Israeli financial daily Calcalist (Hebrew link).

Geektime profiled Cimagine last year as a pioneer of “v-commerce,” or visualization commerce. They have inked deals with different companies, inluding the UK’s John Lewish Partnership (JLP), to incorporate their technology into the JLP online store. That feature allows customers to visualize what a given piece of furniture would look like in a customer’s living room, kitchen, etc. They also have a deal with one of Britain’s largest retailers, Shop Direct.

“We have a ‘virtual production line’ to create thousands and thousands of high quality 3D models from the images and dimension that are topically found on the product pages anyhow,” a spokesperson told Geektime in September last year. “There is no need for physical scan.”

With a heavy background in image processing and computer vision — the latter a major staple of the Israeli startup ecosystem – they are well-equipped to attract the attention of investors looking for an experienced team. The staff has experience at companies like HP, IBM, and Israeli defense company Rafael.

It is not exactly clear if Snapchat just wants to incorporate their AR techniques into their filters, or Snapchat is itself trying to expand its business portfolio into eCommerce.

This would be the ninth acquisition by the company if the news is correct, as well as the second made public (officially or not) in the past week. Snapchat acquired ad platform Flite on December 19 for an undisclosed sum. Other recent buys include event-finding app Vurb ($110 million), online comics company Bitstrips ($100 million), face-tracking software startup Looksery ($150 million according to Crunchbase), and Obvious Engineering.

Cimagine was founded by CEO Yoni Nevo, VP Product Nir Daube, and VP R&D Ozi Egri.


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