Snapchat parent company Snap has opened up its war chest to acquire yet another company that will play a role in its augmented reality ecosystem.
This week, Snap confirmed its acquisition of Vertebrae, an AR and 3D e-commerce startup with offices in Los Angeles and Austin, for an undisclosed amount.
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The deal, first reported by The Verge and confirmed by Next Reality via a Snap spokesperson, will allow Vertebrae's team of 50 employees to continue development on the startup's AR and 3D platforms. The team will also maintain its existing organizational structure, with Vince Cacace, the founder and CEO of Vertebrae, reporting to Nima Khajehnouri, vice president of engineering at Snap.
"We're thrilled to join Snap, where we will strengthen and scale our world-class 3D asset platform for retailers and brands. The future of AR commerce is bright, and we'll continue to make it easy for our partners to create, manage, and deploy AR experiences across all customer touchpoints," said Cacace in a statement provided to Next Reality.
When we first met Vertebrae, the company primarily focused on web-based AR advertising, with Ray-Ban and Lionsgate among its clients. In recent years, the company has added 3D content creation services and management tools to its e-commerce offerings for brands and retailers.
The mergers and acquisitions team at Snap has been really busy this year. In May, Snap acquired waveguide maker WaveOptics, which supplies Snap with the display components for its next-generation smartglasses to strengthen its long-term AR smartglasses strategy. Prior to that, Snap scooped up 3D mapping company Pixel8.Earth, body-tracking tech maker Ariel AI, and e-commerce startup Fit Analytics.
Like Ariel AI and Fit Analytics, Vertebrae aligns closely with Snap's increased focus on AR and 3D tools for apparel brands, which the company highlighted in new AR e-commerce features and Lens Studio capabilities at its recent Snap Partner Summit.
The acquisition also presents a complication for Snap's AR rivals. In 2019, Facebook revealed a partnership with Vertebrae to develop AR ads for brands and retailers. Come to think of it, Snap's unveiling of its Spectacles AR smartglasses comes after years of Facebook previewing its own progress towards AR wearables.
For years, Facebook has copied numerous features from Snapchat. But perhaps now Facebook should keep its AR cards closer to the vest to keep Snap from reading its hand?
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