Snapchat is acquiring Toronto-based emoji startup Bitstrips, according to a Fortune report. The deal is said to be in the ballpark of $100 million in cash and stock. A Snapchat spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Variety.
Bitstrips is best known for Bitmoji, an app that lets users make custom avatars that mimic their own looks, and then use those avatars in personalized emoji.
The Bitmoji app itself is free for Android and iOS, but offers a number of in-app purchases for around $1 each. Snapchat may decide to roll these features into its app and make them available freely, but the company could conceivably also decide to use personalized emoji as another revenue generator. Snapchat may also be able to offer brand advertisers a more direct connection to its users through themed emoji.
Snapchat is reportedly looking to generate at least $300 million in revenue in 2016, which is up from a reported $50 million in 2015.