Kik has just announced that it has acquired Relay, a leading GIF messenger, and raised a $38.3 million Series C round of funding. The addition of Relay is Kik’s first ever acquisition and not only enhances the company’s ability to be at the forefront of communication, but also further hints at Kik Interactive, Inc. CEO Ted Livingston’s statements about the company staying independent, while other app makers sell themselves off.
Kik now has more than 185 million users. Each day, more than 50 percent of active users share content with their friends, including photos, videos and mobile websites developed specifically for Kik, TruTower included.
The company recently launched Kik Promoted Chats, enabling brands to chat and share content with Kik users in a one-to-one setting, while tracking and optimizing their results.
“the Relay acquisition coupled with the recent funding puts us in a really strong position to dominate in chat”
“Today, mobile users aren’t searching for new apps – they’re looking for richer engagement in the apps they already have,” said Ted Livingston, Kik’s CEO and founder. “Chat is at the core of the mobile era, and the Relay acquisition coupled with the recent funding puts us in a really strong position to dominate in chat.”
“After being approached with a number of acquisition offers, it was clear that Kik was the best fit for us,” stated Joe Rideout, co-founder of Relay. “We’re extremely excited to join an independent messaging company with a similar culture and a broad reach, and we look forward to sharing our visual messaging technology with Kik’s users.”
“We’re extremely excited to join an independent messaging company”
As part of the acquisition, Relay founders Jon McGee and Joe Rideout will take key roles at Kik. Relay will discontinue its service on Dec. 15, 2014.
Separate from the acquisition, Kik has also disclosed a Series C funding round of $38.3 million led by Valiant Capital Partners with participation from new investors Millennium Technology Value Partners and SV Angel, and existing investors Foundation Capital, RRE Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. This round brings total funding to $70.5 million to date.
Kik says it will use the Series C to invest in product development and further grow the company’s engineering and business development teams. As part of the Series C and in keeping with its philosophy of sharing rewards with all of its team members, Kik negotiated a secondary offering for all past and current employees.
Kik Messenger is available for all major mobile platforms.