MediaLab acquires messaging app Kik, increasing its app portfolio

Widespread messaging app Kik is, certainly, “right here to remain” following an acquisition by the Los Angeles-based multimedia holding firm, MediaLab.

It echoes the identical message from Kik’s chief government Tim Livingston final week when he rebuffed earlier stories that the corporate would shut down amid an ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Trade Fee. Livingston had tweeted that Kik had signed a letter-of-intent with a “nice firm,” however that it was “not a carried out deal.”

Now we all know the the corporate: MediaLab. In a publish on Kik’s weblog on Friday the MediaLab mentioned that it has “finalized an settlement” to amass Kik Messenger.

Kik is a type of superb locations that brings us again to these early aspirations,” the weblog publish learn. “Whether or not or not it’s a ardour for an obscure manga or your favourite soccer group, Kik has proven an unbelievable skill to offer a platform for brand spanking new friendships to be cast by means of your cell phone.”

MediaLab is a holding firm that owns a number of different cellular properties, together with nameless social community Whisper and mixtape app DatPiff. In buying Kik, the holding firm is increasing its cellular app portfolio.

MediaLab mentioned it has “some concepts” for creating Kik going forwards, together with making the app quicker and decreasing the quantity of undesirable messages and spam bots. The corporate mentioned it should introduce adverts “over the approaching weeks” in an effort to “cowl our bills” of working the platform.

Shopping for the Kik messaging platform provides one other social media weapon to the arsenal for MediaLab and its chief government, Michael Heyward .

Heyward was an early star of the budding Los Angeles startup neighborhood with the launch of the nameless messaging service, Whisper almost eight years in the past. On the time, the corporate was one in every of a clutch of nameless apps — together with Secret and YikYak — that raised tens of tens of millions of {dollars} to supply on-line iterations of the confessional journal, the burn guide, and the toilet wall (respectively).

In 2017, TechCrunch reported that Whisper underwent vital layoffs to stave off collapse and put the corporate on a path to profitability.

On the time Whisper had roughly 20 million month-to-month energetic customers throughout its app and web site, which the corporate was trying to monetize by means of programmatic promoting, somewhat than brand-sponsored campaigns that had offered a number of the firm’s income previously. By way of widgets, the corporate had an extra 10 million viewers of its content material per-month utilizing numerous widgets and a attain of round 250 million by means of Fb and different social networks on which it revealed posts.

Individuals conversant in the corporate mentioned on the time that it was seeing gross revenues of roughly $1 million and was going to hit $12.5 million in income for that calendar yr. By 2018 that income was anticipated to prime $30 million, based on sources on the time.

The flagship Whisper app let individuals publish quick bits of nameless textual content and pictures that folks may like or remark about. Heyward supposed it to be a manner for individuals to share extra private and intimate particulars —  to be a social community for confessions and help somewhat than harassment.

The thought caught on with buyers and Whisper managed to lift $61 million from buyers together with Sequoia, Lightspeed Enterprise Companions, and Shasta Ventures . Whisper’s final spherical was a $36 million Sequence C again in 2014.

Quick ahead to 2018 when Secret had been shut down for 3 years whereas YikYak additionally went bust — promoting off its engineering group to Sq. for round $1 million. Whisper, in the meantime, seemingly arrange MediaLab as a holding firm for its app and extra property that Heyward would look to roll up. The corporate filed registration paperwork in California in June 2018.

In response to the filings, Susan Stone, a companion with the funding agency Sierra Wasatch Capital, is listed as a director for the corporate.

Heyward didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Zack Whittaker contributed reporting for this text. 

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