Snap acquires Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine for $30-40M

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Messaging app maker Snap Inc. has acquired Israeli augmented reality firm Cimagine Media, according to an Israeli news report.

First reported by Calcalist, the deal, which has not yet been confirmed by either company, is believed to be around the $30-$40 million mark. Cimagine will become Snap’s research and development center in Israel and is expected to expand its workforce from its current 20 employees.

Founded in 2012, Cimagine offers what it calls “augmented commerce” technology. It allows individual consumers to see how products will look in their own home with the touch of a button on their mobile phone or tablet. Or potentially businesses could demonstrate how their products would look in the customer’s premises.

The company claims it enables brick-and-mortar stores to create endless showrooms though AR visualization platform that requires no physical markers. The technology provides 3D image rendering of virtual products so that consumers experience the look-and-feel of the actual product.

For Snap, Cimagine’s shopping features potentially deliver attractive revenue possibilities, which could be key as Snap heads toward a likely initial public offering, for which it filed in November.

Cimagine already has existing relationships with Shop Direct, John Lewis and Coca-Cola Co., a starting point Snap may be able to use to establishing its own partnerships with retailers and brands to deliver e-commerce functions to the Snapchat app itself. Alternatively, as VentureBeat points out, perhaps Snap just wants the augmented reality tech, although the idea of the company expanding into shopping as a way to give users more to do within the app does make a lot of sense.

Coming into the acquisition Cimagine has raised an undisclosed amount of funding over three rounds from investors including Explore.Dream.Discover, iVentures Asia Ltd., OurCrowd, and PLUS Ventures.

Image credit: Cimagine