Snapchat secretly acquired a company that makes Google Glass-esque spectacles for $15 million earlier this year, according to emails discovered in the latest dump of hacked Sony Entertainment documents. Business Insider reports that messages from the inbox of Michael Lynton, Sony Entertainment CEO and Snapchat board member, detail a deal for Vergence Labs worth $11 million in cash and $4 million in stock.
Vergence Labs makes Epiphany Eyewear, a range of fashionable black-framed smart glasses that allow wearers to record video at the touch of a button, before uploading the files to cloud storage. The devices come in three sizes, with either 8, 16, or 32GB of storage, at prices ranging between $300 and $500. There's no way to take photos while wearing the glasses — instead, videos can be scoured through for still images using Epiphany's software.
A few days before the acquisition, Snapchat loaned Vergence Labs $2 million
The company's own site doesn't note that the company is owned by Snapchat, but a Business Insider source reports the deal is complete. The purchase may have been hurried by financial difficulties at Vergence — a few days before the email outlining the deal was sent, Snapchat apparently loaned the company $2 million.
The Vergence deal isn't the only secret purchase Snapchat made this year. In May it was revealed that the company had quietly acquired video software company AddLive in a deal reportedly worth $30 million. This second surreptitious deal suggests that Snapchat, which has become well-known for its self-erasing pictures rather than video, has been making moves to advance its video functionality.