Relay Joins Kik to Share Leading Visual Messaging Technology with 185 Million Users
WATERLOO, Ontario, Nov. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Kik Interactive, Inc., maker of chat network Kik, announced it has acquired Relay, a leading GIF messenger, and raised a $38.3 million Series C round of funding. The addition of Relay brings Kik to the forefront of visual messaging, an increasingly popular form of communication, especially among teens and young adults. This is Kik's first acquisition, made with a combination of cash and equity at undisclosed terms.
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. In August 2014, the company 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.
"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."
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 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.
Background on Kik:
- More than 250,000 new users join Kik every day
- According to BI Intelligence, Kik users spend an average of 97 minutes per week in the app
- Sixty-eight percent of Kik's users are located in the U.S., and 40 percent of U.S. youth, ages 13-25, use Kik
- More than 25 brands are using Kik Promoted Chats, including Adaptly, AERO, Funny or Die, VICE, Seventeen Magazine and Skullcandy
- With more than 60 employees, Kik is headquartered in Waterloo, ON
Founded in 2012, Relay is the leading GIF messaging app available on the App Store and Google Play. The service allows users to communicate with a content repository of over 6.5 million GIFs, a fun and engaging form of visual content popular on the Internet. Over 50 percent of all messages sent on Relay are GIFs, and users send more than 10 million GIF messages per month. The company is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
About Kik Interactive, Inc.
Kik Interactive, Inc. is the maker of Kik, a username-based smartphone messenger that lets more than 185 million people chat with their friends no matter where they meet. Using Kik's Promoted Chats, brands can engage chatters in one-to-one conversations at scale and measure the results using Kik's management dashboard. Kik is currently a Top 10 App on Google Play and a Top 30 App in the App Store, and continues to grow rapidly with more than 250,000 new users joining every day. Founded in 2009, Kik Interactive, Inc. is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and is funded by Foundation Capital, RRE, Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures and other leading venture capital firms. For more information, please visit: http://kik.com/.
SOURCE Kik Interactive, Inc.