Snap Inc. acquired an LA-based drone company for less than $1 million late last year, according to new report from Buzzfeed. The deal included some of Ctrl Me Robotics’ equipment and assets, as well as its founder, Simon Nielsen.
This isn’t the first time Snap has shown interest in drones. Last year, the company had been in talks with the now-defunct drone startup Lily Robotics. Snapchat also talked with wearable camera company Narrative, but neither of those talks resulted in an acquisition. In February, The New York Times reported that Snap was working on a drone project. It said the company believed drones could be used to help Snap’s users take overhead videos and photographs, and then feed that visual data back to the company.
Ctrl Me was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Venice, California. The company develops custom and ready-to-fly multirotors, and drone kits for film and other industries. However, according to Variety, it specializes in modifying existing drones rather than producing its own drones.
This is the latest step in Snap’s transition from a software company to a hardware one. Last September, CEO Evan Spiegel announced the company would be officially renamed Snap and unveiled a pair of camera-equipped sunglasses called ‘Spectacles’. The company had been working on this technology for some time, after acquiring a smart glasses startup called Vergence Labs in 2014.
In March, CFO Drew Vollero said the sale of Spectacles were the majority of the company's $8.3 million "other" revenue in Q1. Vollero said the glasses had turned into a "modest" business for the company.
It’s been an eventful few months for Snap. Following its IPO earlier this year, Snap reported quarterly financial results for its first time as a public company on on May 10th. The company spent $2 billion on stock-based compensation expenses, widening net losses for the quarter to $2.2 billion.
Does this mean we could see a Snap-branded drone in the near future? An instagram post on Ctrl Me Robotics’ account from almost two years ago may provide some look into the future. In it, a drone has been fitted with a smartphone and the caption reads “snapchat from your drone.”
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