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Snaps brings branded ads to messaging apps; gets $6.5 million funding

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MUMBAI: Snaps, a new platform for connecting advertisers with consumers across messaging applications and devices, has made available 'Branded Messages,' a solution for creating and distributing native advertising, in the form of custom branded emoji keyboards and sticker campaigns to consumers.

The company also closed a $6.5 million in a Series A investment round from a number of investors in the technology, media and entertainment industries. The investment will be used to build and launch a full suite of products and services to help brands better market themselves in messaging.

Snaps is the first end-to-end mobile messaging platform for marketers to organically insert their brand into the 50 billion messages consumers send daily. During the first three months of operation, over 20 brands, including Burger King, Logo for its RuPaul's Drag Race series, Trolli, Time Inc.'s Food & Wine, Comedy Central, The Houston Rockets, Nickelodeon, Victoria's Secret, Sony Pictures Entertainment, VH1, to name several, are working with Snaps to develop emoji keyboard and sticker campaigns using the Snaps platform, which already reaches 400 million active monthly users.

Also announced, jointly with Trolli, of Ferrara Candy Company, is the launch of a custom branded keyboard for its new Sour Brite Crawler Minis and Extreme Sour Bites. Trolli, in partnership with agency of record, Periscope, works to build a passionate millennial following by rolling out new and innovative products as part of their integrated marketing campaigns. The company's latest campaign includes a TrolliMoji app in partnership with Snaps aiming to drive engagement among its core customers with fun, creative and sharable gummi-related emojis via a free, downloadable keyboard that can be used across messaging applications and connected devices.

Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin said, "Food & Wine is looking forward to working with Snaps on a series of entertaining food emojis. Since our avid fans actively communicate with standard emojis all the time - some going as far as writing entire restaurant reviews in emojis - we wanted to create a whole new world of possibilities for the super foodie connecting the images with the objects of their obsession. A picture of a slice of cake is made infinitely better if it's identifiable as a birthday cake from a world-famous bakeshop, or if the dish is recognizable as one from their favorite celebrity chef. For celebrations, our users will be able to share a gif of sabering Champagne. We will be able to constantly update the keyboard with new chefs and restaurant dishes and make sharing even more fun!"

"Our thesis has always been that the language of the future is a visually based language. People love to send and receive visual content, be it a branded emoji, sticker or gif, to their friends as a means of personal, authentic and immediate communication," said Snaps founder Vivian Rosenthal.

Through partnerships with Kik, Kanvas and other messaging apps, Snaps provides a complete turnkey solution for brands, from content creation and distribution to real-time content management and publishing tools, and deep engagement analytics.

"The global messaging market is massive and growing – every brand should have a strategy for reaching consumers in this channel. From millennial and teen consumers through to enterprise employees, people are shifting from Facebook and email to smaller group interactions and real-time communication on messaging applications. Snaps' is a socket that provides access to these audiences in creative, visual ways – with content people actually want to engage with and share," said Snaps CEO Christian Brucculeri.

"There is a huge opportunity for Snaps to build for messaging apps what Buddy Media built for social. As consumers shift into smaller groups in messaging, there is an opening for brands to create new experiences that will make them a part of these conversations. Snaps is the first platform built to do this," said Ragovin Ventures founder and managing partner and Snaps investor and advisor Jeff Ragovin.

Snaps investors include, Media Link chairman and CEO Michael Kassan, Ragovin, VEVO CRO Jonathon Carson, mParticle co-founder and CEO Mike Katz and Sourcepoint founder and CEO Ben Barokas.

Over the next six to twelve months, Snaps will continue building and launching products to help brands better market themselves in messaging. The company will also look to expand its team in New York City and across the US.

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