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Snapchat Acquires Search App Vurb for $200m

Tim Maytom

vurb app
Snapchat has bought search startup Vurb, paying around $200m (£154) in stock and cash to acquire the company's app which integrates with other search services and enables users to message results to friends.

Vurb describes itself as an "experience" search engine that enables users to find, save and share results by connecting community recommendations and useful services. The startup has received backing from Tencent and Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox in the past.

Vurb combines its own search function with third-party apps like Yelp, for restaurant information, and Fandango, for movie listings. The app also integrates community tips and recommendations, and enables users to message friends with rich media 'cards' that contain information such as restaurant details or links to Uber.

While Vurb may be a versatile and unique approach to mobile search, it seems to be the team behind the app that Snapchat is largely interested in, especially as Vurb has struggled to find a large or loyal audience.

According to The Information, Snapchat's acquisition will be a 75 per cent stock and 25 per cent cash deal, with around half of the money going as retention payouts to current employees, an unusually high proportion. Bobby Lo, CEO and founder of Vurb, will reportedly receive around $75m as part of a multiyear retention deal.

Neither Snapchat nor Vurb have commented on the deal, but the acquisition could hint that Snapchat is looking into expanding its capabilities and features, and is hoping the minds behind Vurb can help.

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