UPDATED 01:27 EST / MARCH 25 2016

NEWS

Snapchat buys comic and emoji maker Bitstrips for $100m

Messaging app maker Snapchat, Inc. has acquired online comic and emoji making firm Bitstrips, Inc. for $100 million.

Fortune reports that the deal included a mix of cash and stock.

Founded in 2007, Bitstrips first offers customizable cartoons that became immensely popular on Facebook for a time, before refocusing in 2014 on customizable cartoon avatars.

Called “Bitmojis,” the avatars are made using an app and can be customized based on face shapes, skin colors, and other features, and are said to be able to deliver “accurate portrayals” of users, as much as that is possible in a cartoon form.

The app itself allows users to share comics starring themselves and their friends (as avatars) that include jokes, greeting cards, and status updates, via social media and email, along with the added ability to choose from thousands of customizable scenes and photo backgrounds.

No figures are available for how popular the service is, although the app has had between 10-50 million downloads on Google Play, but if you’re a Facebook user (and let’s face it, who isn’t in 2016) you are likely to have seen Bitstrip cartoons on your feed before.

Why?

What is not even remotely clear with this acquisition is what Snapchat will do with the company.

To start with the technology utilized by Bitstrips is old school tech and would be dead easy to replicate; if Snapchat wanted to give users the ability to build their own customizable avatars, for example, it wouldn’t take a team of rocket scientists to build.

The only possibly redeeming feature of Bitstrips is that it is popular, but it’s not as if Snapchat can use that popularity to drive more users to Snapchat itself, and Snapchat gains no foreseeable benefit in owning a company that people use to make shitty cartoons that appear on Facebook.

There really is a sucker born every minute.

Prior to acquisition Bitstrips had raises $11 million over two rounds from investors including Horizon Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Horizons Ventures

 Image credit: Duncan Riley/ poorly made using Bitstrips.

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