- Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. has acquired Ctrl Me, a drone startup located in Venice, CA, where Snap's headquarters are also located, according to Variety.
- Although the deal was first reported by Buzzfeed on Friday, it was actually finalized late last year before Snap went public, sources told Variety.
- Ctrl Me does not actually build drones but instead customizes the devices to carry heavy, high-end cameras. Variety reported the startup has worked with big-name Hollywood studios in the past and suggested that Snap might bo more interested in Ctrl Me's talent than its technology.
Last September, when Snapchat officially rebranded as Snap Inc. and released its first hardware device — wearable sunglasses called Spectacles — CEO Evan Spiegel declared that Snap was a "camera company" above all else. Ctrl Me's focus on both drones and entertainment talent show how Snap might take its proprietary camera offerings one step further while also tying the technology to its push into video content.
Ctrl Me's relationships with notable Hollywood clients was likely appealing given that Snap is focusing heavily on building out original series called Shows with a number of major networks, including NBC Universal, Disney's ABC and, most recently, CBS, along with studios like MGM.
Being at the front of the conversation of how drone technology intersects with mainstream entertainment might ultimately help Snap distinguish its value from rival platforms like Facebook, which is also focusing on premium, longer-form original video, recently signing millennial-focused partners like Buzzfeed, Vox Media and ATTN.
Snap has faced some rocky criticisms post-IPO, especially with a Q1 earnings report that seriously under-delivered on Wall Street analysts' expectations. Even as the company has failed to outline a concrete strategy for addressing concerns about growth, more M&A in innovative technology spaces and a continued hold over young audiences' attentions will likely keep Snapchat top of mind for marketers.