In purchasing Relay, Kik also bought its product, GIF Messenger, which combines GIF search and discovery with messaging. Relay’s founding team will now join Kik’s core messaging product team and relocate to Ontario.
“When we started Relay in 2012, we saw how Instagram caught on relative to Facebook by having a much more visual feed,” said McGee. “We wanted to do the same thing in the messaging space by creating a more visual messaging experience.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about mobile video being a really important ad format,” he added. “If you believe that video is a key medium for advertising in the future, and if you also believe that messaging is the native communication channel on mobile, then there’s a really interesting opportunity here at the intersection of messaging and video.”
Best pointed out that WeChat, a Chinese mobile text and messaging system developed by Tencent, is basically building a commercial empire on the back of its chat network. “When you go to WeChat, you can hail a cab from your messenger, you can buy insurance, and you can even can refinance your mortgage,” said Best. “They’re very much in a position to be the arbiters of the whole mobile space.”