Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, is in negotiations with Chinese drone manufacturer Zero Zero Robotics, maker of the Hover Camera Passport selfie drone.
The Information reports that Snap is considering purchasing Zero Zero for $150-200 million, upping their drone game considerably from the purchase of Cntrl Me Robotics earlier this year for a mere $1 million.
Rumors that Snap was working on a drone have been circling since the beginning of the year, as the company continues to try to expand into consumer products from its social media roots. The purchase of Zero Zero Robotics could be a major step forward: the company’s Hover Camera Passport drone was launched in October, and sells for $500 exclusively at Apple stores.
The Hover is a lightweight selfie drone, with completely enclosed blades that allow it to be grabbed from the air. It folds into a compact book shape for carrying, and it weighs less than 250 grams. The company says that it requires no flight skills to fly, capturing 360 selfies as the drone circles around you. With the acquisition of Zero Zero, Snap could be indicating that they have given up on trying to develop their own product in favor of adapting existing technology.
Drones would expand Snap’s product line beyond the wearable camera Spectacles product. Spectacles got great buzz when introduced, but a report by CNBC this spring said the product was “irrelevant” to Snap’s bottom line due to modest sales of the $130 glasses. Company leaders defended the product, saying that it was an experimental line that was successful in its introduction.
Snap is under pressure from investors to show greater earnings as the stock price has fallen from its IPO price of $17 to a current value of around $12.75. The stock has been a target for short sellers who feel that the company’s $20 billion valuation was exaggerated.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.