One day after 51 of Kik’s employees were hired by a San Francisco-based equity management firm, Kik announced Friday that its messaging app has been bought by a U.S. holding company called MediaLab.
In a blog post on the Kik website, MediaLab said that “Kik has shown an incredible ability to provide a platform for new friendships to be forged through your mobile phone. As a group of non conformists ourselves, we resonate with the kik ethos and felt this was a community we wanted to help continue.”
Kik CEO and co-founder Ted Livingston said in a tweet Friday afternoon that Kik will continue to have a foundational relationship with Kin, the cryptocurrency launched by Livingston in 2017 and which is the subject of a legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a battle sparked by the sale of Kin tokens that same year.
“I am excited that our amazing users will continue to have a great home, and that Kik will continue to grow and evolve as a pillar of the Kin Ecosystem,” Livingston wrote.
Nine years ago Kik went live. Since then hundreds of millions of people have had billions of meaningful conversations. I am excited that our amazing users will continue to have a great home, and that Kik will continue to grow and evolve as a pillar of the Kin Ecosystem. Onward! https://t.co/EQzbaMi1Np
— Ted Livingston (@ted_livingston) October 18, 2019
The partnership makes sense insofar as the Kin currency needs an ecosystem within which to serve as a payment system, similar to the way Chinese messaging app WeChat exists as a channel within which peer-to-peer payments are made. WeChat was developed by Chinese firm Tencent, the giant holding company and significant Kik investor.
“We are fans of Kin and believe in its long term potential,” MediaLab wrote. “We are excited to further partner with Ted and his team on expanding the Kin integration and have plans to further support the project. We’ll have more to share on that front soon.”
MediaLab bills itself as “a holding company of leading internet brands.”
Speculation about the fate of Kik has existed for weeks, since Livingston announced in late September that it was shutting down the service and laying off staff in order to focus on Kin and its U.S. legal issues, keeping a core team of 19 employees.
Kik’s Kitchener office at Catalyst137 is being taken over by Carta, the San Francisco company that has acquired most of Kik’s local employees. Kik company has another office in Tel Aviv with another 75 employees. It is unclear what will become of them, but the Waterloo Region Record has previously reported that Livingston “is trying to come up with a similar transfer agreement with another tech company.”
Communitech is a partner of Startup HERE Toronto. This article originally appeared on their site.