Snap Picks Up Pixel8earth to Grow Its Map Feature

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Snap screen

Snap Inc. has acquired Pixel8earth as it pushes to grow and monetize the Map feature on its flagship app, Snapchat.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Pixel8earth uses crowdsourced data to develop 3D maps.


The acquisition was initially disclosed with few details in Snap's first-quarter filing to the SEC, below the more detailed disclosure of its $124.4 million acquisition of Fit Analytics. Snap said it paid $7.6 million for an unnamed company.

On Monday Snap confirmed that the unnamed company was Pixel8earth.

Snap executives have called the Snap Map a "multibillion-dollar opportunity," frequently noting that over 250 million users engage with the feature every month. The company has continuously pointed to ongoing efforts to add "utility" to the feature, particularly regarding the value it can bring to small businesses searching for local customers.

In its SEC filing, Snap said the acquisition was meant "to enhance our existing platform, technology, and workforce." Based on Pixel8earth's former co-founders' LinkedIn profiles, it appears they have been fully absorbed by Snap. Former CEO Sean Gorman lists his current role as a Boulder, CO-based "Software Engineering Manager" at Snap, while his former co-founder and CTO Pramukta Kumar lists his role as an Austin-based "Computer Vision Engineer" at Snap.

https://twitter.com/hisamblake
samblake@dot.la

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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