Kik Invests In Its Platform, Buys Style Startup Behind In style Kik Bot
This previous yr one thing fascinating occurred in China. Cellular providers started sprouting up with out cellular apps or web sites. As an alternative these corporations — a few of which even raised cash and not using a cellular app or web site — went straight to WeChat, China’s prime messaging app, the place they tapped into tons of of hundreds of thousands of lively customers throughout Android and iOS.
Chinese language tech developments are distinctly totally different to North America’s however as we speak, in a transfer that bears parallels to WeChat-solely corporations, in style messaging app Kik acquired the small firm behind some of the profitable apps (bots) on the Kik service.
Canada-based mostly Kik, which this yr raised $50 million from WeChat dad or mum Tencent at a billion greenback valuation, is shopping for Blynk — the corporate behind “pocket stylist” bot Blynk Fashion — for an undisclosed sum. The worth of the transaction isn’t essential although, the truth that Kik is investing its platform by means of the acquisition is. (Slack will quickly do one thing comparable, however extra regimented, after it co-created a VC fund for apps on its platform.)
Blynk’s 4 full-time staff — together with co-founders Jaclyn Ling and Shums Kassam — will transfer to Kik’s workplace in Waterloo the place, the corporate stated, they “will assist us additional delve into the world of bots and private chat assistants on Kik.”
May that imply future providers and merchandise round trend? That would nicely be the case over time, though Kik isn’t saying something past that quote for now.
Blynk — which gives apps for iOS and Android too — is an effective instance of what bots, that are programmed accounts which reply to customers, can do on Kik. The Blynk bot itself narrows down the type of trend a consumer is into utilizing visal Q&A, it then helps them browse excessive-road catalogs, and presents different sort of leisure all of which is hosted contained in the Kik app. In different phrases, customers can get an app and net-like experiences with out leaving the messaging app.
That sort of immersion is actually the important thing if providers like Kik, Snapchat, Fb Messenger and others are to emulate the success of WeChat in Western markets just like the U.S..
Final week, Fb built-in Uber’s experience-hailing service into Messenger, its boldest transfer thus far in the direction of a WeChat-like platform. But, a lot of the suggestions I noticed centered round this being a pleasant however not needed addition since you possibly can already e-book Uber by way of its cellular apps.
Kik, nevertheless, is concentrated in serving a a lot youthful demographic — the corporate claims that forty % of “youth” in North America have a Kik account — in a method that may’t be mimicked elsewhere. Because it has a really targeted viewers — in contrast to Messenger, which straddles numerous ages, demographics and places — Kik thinks it higher is aware of what varieties of service that its customers need.
That appears to be music — Kik launched a music group service in August — and, with Blynk, style. You’ll be able to think about, different areas that faucet into youth curiosity like movies and maybe sport. Over time, we might see the corporate spend money on different startup that use its platform and are targeted on these areas.
“We’re open minded and we take into consideration the best way to construct the perfect expertise,” Jae Kim, head of technique and companions, informed TechCrunch in an interview. “[If there are] groups that assist us to try this and speed up that, we’re all the time . We see lots of people constructing on chat [and] a whole lot of methods to companion with them.”
The deal, which is extra of an acquihire than an acquisition, is the third time Kik has purchased an organization. It purchased GIF Relay in November 2014 and this summer time it snapped up GameMix, a startup making HTML5 video games for the Kik Messenger platform.