×

Snapchat Has Bought a Drone Startup With Hollywood Connections

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, has acquired a small Venice, Calif.-based drone startup dubbed Ctrl Me, which counted some Hollywood studios among its clients. Buzzfeed first reported about the acquisition Friday afternoon, and Variety has since learned from a source familiar with the deal that it actually happened late last year.

Buzzfeed reported that the acquisition was a small-scale acquihire, with Snap spending $1 million or less to hire Ctrl Me’s founder Simon Nielsen. Snap declined to comment.

Ctrl Me wasn’t actually building its own drones, Variety learned from a source familiar with the company. Instead, the company acted more like a small, specialized retailer, reselling other company’s drones and custom-rigging them to carry heavy high-end cameras. Nielsen also described some of that work in a YouTube video posted back in 2014:

In that light, the acquisition may be more about adding expertise to the team than about acquiring any actual technology. Nielsen is known as a drone expert, and also knows the limitations of the technology, according to a source.

This isn’t the first time Snap has shown interest in drones. Last year, Business Insider reported that the company had been in talks with Berkeley-based drone startup Lily Robotics, but those talks didn’t result in an acquisition.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • "The Stockholm Syndrome" - Pictured: Rajesh

    Inside the Blockbuster $600 Million 'Big Bang Theory' Streaming Deal With HBO Max

    As one of TV’s most popular shows of the past 20 years, “The Big Bang Theory” was sure to command a huge price when the streaming rights were finally shopped in a red-hot market for iconic comedies with large libraries. But “Big Bang Theory” wasn’t shopped widely on the open market before the streaming pact [...]

  • Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

    Mark Zuckerberg Can Be Overruled by Facebook's New Oversight Board on Content Decisions

    Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, can’t be ousted by investors — he owns a controlling interest in the company’s voting shares. But according to the social giant, the new Oversight Board — colloquially called Facebook’s “Supreme Court” — that it is setting up to adjudicate appeals about whether to leave up or take [...]

  • YouTube - Google UK Offices

    Google Launches Ability to Find Key Moments in YouTube Videos via Search

    Google has introduced a new way to find exact moments in YouTube videos through its search engine, with initial partners including CBS Sports. According to Google, search results now will provide links to key moments within the video — if, that is, YouTube content creators have provided the necessary timestamp information to Google. “You’ll be [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify VP Paul Vogel Talks Subscription Prices, Label Licenses, Podcasts

    The annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference gives representatives from major companies the opportunity to present to the investment community, and Paul Vogel, Spotify’s VP and head of financial planning & analysis, treasury and investor relations, spoke on the streaming giant’s behalf on Tuesday morning. While many of his comments were statements frequently heard in the [...]

  • Directv Now

    AT&T Sued for Allegedly Creating Bogus DirecTV Now Accounts

    A group of investors sued AT&T, alleging the telco artificially inflated subscriber counts for its DirecTV Now streaming service — including by creating fake accounts. In the federal class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that AT&T wanted to make DirecTV Now seem more successful than it actually was as another way to rationalize its $85 billion [...]

  • Streaming Battle: Disney, Apple and More

    The Battle for Eyeballs Makes for an Action-Packed Streaming Arena (Column)

    It came as no surprise last week that Disney CEO Bob Iger had resigned from the Apple board since the two companies are poised to launch competing subscription streaming services in less than two months. But Iger’s departure (announced the same day that Apple revealed its Nov. 1 launch date and $5-a-month price point) underscores [...]

  • AVOD streaming video OTT users -

    Fast-Growing Asia Video Market Awaits Arrival of Disney Plus and Apple

    Asia’s over-the-top video streaming market is growing so strongly that there is currently room for a wide variety of business models. Local companies have many of the most compelling success stories, but the global players have found plenty to chew on too, and competition is expected to increase with Disney and Apple launches starting from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content