Snapchat’s newest feature, Snap Map, is based on its latest acquisition, social mapping startup Zenly. Snapchat is believed to have bought Zenly for between $250 million and $350 million in mostly cash and some stock in a deal that closed in late May. Snapchat will keep Zenly running independently, similar to how Facebook lets Instagram run independently.
Zenly’s app lets users see where their friends currently are on a map using constant GPS in the background. People can then message these friends in the app to make plans to hang out.
The Paris-based startup’s app has 4 million downloads according to Sensor Tower, with 28% from France but also sizeable numbers in Asia including 12% in South Korea and 8% in Japan. The app is mostly used by teens trying to keep up with their friends around town, at school, or at concerts and other events. Zenly had raised $35.1 million, including a $22.5 million Series B in September 2016 led by prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm Benchmark.