Trending: Reports: Pentagon continued UFO investigation program using ‘black money’

Placed CEO David Shim.

Snapchat parent Snap has acquired Placed, a Seattle-based startup that operates a consumer location analytics platform, GeekWire has learned.

Placed, which employs more than 100 people, will continue to operate independently at its headquarters in Seattle, and offices in New York and Los Angeles.

GeekWire first learned of the acquisition last week, and made inquiries to the company, which at the time did not want to discuss the deal.

Sources close to the deal pegged the purchase price at more than $200 million, marking a potentially large outcome for the original investors and early shareholders. It’s also one of Snap’s most expensive acquisitions to date. 

Official deal terms and financial details were not disclosed.

Founded in 2011, Placed raised $13.8 million from Madrona Venture Group and Two Sigma Ventures. Board members include Shim; Matt McIlwain; David Joerg; and Brian McAndrews. Its most recent funding was a $10 million Series B round in 2014.

Placed CEO and co-founder David Shim will stay at the company, and will report to Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan.

“Over the past 12 months, Placed has measured more than $500 million in media spend to store visits, across thousands of campaigns and hundreds of partners, cementing Placed as the leader in location-based attribution,” Shim wrote in a blog post shared with GeekWire on Monday afternoon. “By partnering with Snap, we will do even more.”

[Follow up: Here’s why Snap just paid more than $200M to acquire Seattle startup Placed]

Shim, who previously worked at aQuantive, Farecast and Quantcast, founded the company back in 2011 when it was called Sewichi. Since then, the startup has changed names and attracted a bevy of customers who use Placed to help measure the offline impact of mobile ads and reveal insights into consumer behavior.

Placed measures millions of consumer locations every day from those that opt-in to share their whereabouts. Its technology then crunches that data to provide information on everything from how TV ad spending translates to in-store traffic, to how Amazon is impacting brick-and-mortar retailers, to the whereabouts of Pokémon Go users. For example, here’s Placed data from 2013 showing where Amazon customers “showroom” the most:

Placed published an independent analysis last year that analyzed the online and offline behavior of Snapchat users, showing what stores the app’s users frequented in the physical world.

Here’s how Placed tracks consumer location and turns it into valuable data:

Other Placed executives include SVP of Operations Jim Watson; VP of Operations Andrea Eatherly; VP of Data Science Weilie Yi; VP of Research Elliott Waldron; VP of Engineering Aaron Averbuch; and VP of Product Nick Gerner. Advisors include Paul Sutter; Peter Kassakian; Jeff White; Jeff Lanctot; and Shane Atchison.

Snap, meanwhile, operates the popular Snapchat app, which counts 166 million daily users that use the app more than 18 times per day. It rebranded itself as a camera company before going public earlier this year. The tech giant has acquired more than 10 startups; recently it bought a drone maker and paid more than $110 million to acquire mobile search app Vurb.

Snap posted a $2.2 billion loss in its first earnings report that published earlier this year.

The acquisition of Placed will help Snap grow its location measurement technology. The company recently released a tool called Snap to Store that allows its advertisers see whether their campaigns actually drove users to physical locations. Snap said today that Placed and Snap to Store will continue to be separate services.

Snap also said that it will establish data-sharing privacy and security guidelines to ensure separation of advertiser data between Snapchat and Placed.

It’s worth noting that Placed will continue to operate in Seattle. Snap set up an engineering center in Seattle last year, and has big plans to expand the office to nearly 50,000 square feet.

Update: Bloomberg News reported the value of the deal is $125 million, but said the “amount may rise depending on certain future contingencies, according to one person familiar with the deal.” A reliable source told GeekWire that the total value of the deal is more than $200 million.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.