Snapchat is buying search startup Vurb in a stock and cash deal totaling around $200 million, as first reported by The Information. About half of that money will go to investors, while the rest will go as retention payouts to current employees — an unusually high proportion.
Business Insider has independently confirmed the sale and price with a person familiar with the situation, and apparently it’s a done deal.
Vurb bills itself as an “experience” search engine that helps people “easily find, save, and do the best things by connecting community recommendations, rich content, and useful services.”
The 5-year-old startup is backed by Redpoint Ventures, Tencent, Marc Benioff, and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, among others.
A Snapchat spokeswoman declined to comment on talks with Vurb when reached by Business Insider. Redpoint Ventures also declined to comment.
Snapchat’s acquisition will be a 75% stock and 25% cash deal, notes The Information. The report says that Bobby Lo, Vurb’s CEO and founder, is also getting a multiyear retention package of “around $75 million” as part of the deal.
Vurb’s mobile app integrates with services like Yelp for restaurant information and Fandango for movie tickets. The app also has a social aspect that shows Foursquare-like tips and recommendations. Users can also message friends directly in the app with rich media “cards” that show information like restaurant details.
A person familiar with the deal speculated that Snapchat is mainly interested in Vurb’s team, which is highly regarded, rather than its product, which hasn’t really taken off. Hence, the high percentage of the sale devoted to retaining Vurb employees.
Vurb would be the second high-profile buy that Snapchat has made this year following its acquisition of Bitmoji for over $100 million last month.