Canon Europe seems to be developing a penchant for buying up London-based startups in the photo or printing space. Following the acquisition of parental photo-sharing app Lifecake in 2015, the company is on a shopping spree again, this time acquiring Kite, a print tech startup that lets developers add on-demand printing features to their apps.
Terms of deal remain undisclosed, although I understand that Kite’s founders are staying on, along with the rest of the 12-person team, and that the company will remain as an independent brand within Canon group.
“Canon are keen to preserve the great entrepreneurial spirit and the founders’ DNA that drove the team to build a world class company,” a Canon spokesperson tells me.
Founded in 2013 by Fionn Concannon, Deon Botha, and Charlie Carpenter, with support from Black Ocean, a Luxembourg-based investment group, Kite offers iOS and Android SDKs and a REST-based API to enable developers to add on-demand/personalised print products to their wares. The startup essentially does all of the heavy lifting needed for print-based e-commerce, in terms of software, a large range of products, and local printers and fulfilment.
To that end, Kite is currently integrated into over 500 consumer facing apps and websites, including customers such as PhotoBox, Polaroid, and Ticketmaster, reaching what it claims to be 200 million mobile users worldwide.
I’m also told that the acquisition is seen to fit into Canon’s mission to make image printing accessible on any device. Specifically, the Canon-Kite solution will “help developers, brands and the professional print industry create new revenue streams through mobile-focused personalised print”.
Charlie Carpenter, CEO and co-founder of Kite, says in a statement: “We are excited to combine our innovative technology platform with Canon’s digital services portfolio to lead a new print era together. We are inspired that Canon shares our vision to become the internet’s print button, embedded into any imaging app or website”.