Snapchat Spent $51 Million On The Company Behind Its Cool New QR Codes

The 2014 Sony Pictures hack revealed emails sent between Snapchat cofounder and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton.┬áIt shed light onto Spiegel’s business acumen, as well as his ambitions for the company. It also revealed several secretive acquisitions Snapchat made, the purpose of one remained unclear — today.

This week, Snapchat finally rolled out its long-awaited discovery feature, offering users a variety of curated editorial content from media companies including CNN, the Daily Mail and Vice. But the update has brought a slew of other features too — one of these being a new custom QR code to discovering profiles.

Users simply take a photo of someone’s QR code using the Snapchat camera, and it adds them. It’s a more visual way of interacting, without having to remember usernames.

Here’s how one looks:

But it looks like Snapchat didn’t develop this technology in-house. As TechCrunch reported in December 2014, the company had quietly acquired earlier in the year, a startup specialising in QR code scanning and iBeacons. Users can create custom QR codes and link them to profiles using’s platform — much like the functionality just added to Snapchat.

Leaked emails between Lynton and Snapchat executive Steve Hwang revealed that the company paid $US14 million in cash for, $US33 million in Class B common stock and $US3 million in restricted stock units. That’s more than $US50 million all in all. The deal is, the email cautions, “super secret.” ( also continues to operate independently.)

We don’t know for sure that Snapchat’s new QR codes were based on the’s tech — but it seems a pretty safe bet. So far, the early reception to it on Twitter has been roundly positive. Which is just as well, if it cost $US51 million.

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