Waterloo's Kik raises $38 million, acquires GIF-sharing app

Waterloo-based Kik has made its first acquisition, company that makes a GIF-sharing app, and has raised $38.3 million in new funding.

Company says it is looking to hire more employees in Waterloo

Waterloo-based instant messaging company Kik has made its first acquisition of another company and has raised $38.3 million in a new round of Series C funding. 

Kik says it has acquired Toronto-based messenger service Relay, which makes an app that uses animated GIF messaging, for an undisclosed amount. 

Heather Galt, Kik's head of marketing, says the two co-founders of Relay will be moving to Waterloo, and that the company is looking to expand. 

"We've actually gone from 30 to just over 60 employees in the last 12 months," said Galt. "We're looking to double that again over the next 12."

Galt says Relay's two co-founders Jon McGee and Joe Rideout, are already in the region and working at Kik. 

According to Galt, Relay has a library of about 6 and a half million GIFs, something she says will appear to Kik's users.

"They share all kinds of stuff beyond just text, so we know that our users are already doing that and for us, this is a really awesome way to just add to that visual messaging experience," said Galt. 

The Kik app is also the first messaging app to include a browser.

 Kik says it currently has over 185 million users, and claims move than 250,000 new users join every day. 

With the latest round of funding, the company says it has raised a total amount of $70.5 million to date.