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The MSQRD app was live in the Apple Store just before Christmas 2015, and today, less than 4 months later, the team has exited to Facebook.
One day a week ago I was tweeting like a crazy about a great success story from Belarus, an app for applying various filters for selfies MSQRD (pronounce as Masquerade). On the same day, they announced an undisclosed, but supposedly hefty, investment.
Today the news broke out: Facebook bought MSQRD for an undisclosed amount. The team will move to Facebook’s London office and will continue working on the service. By the way, just a couple of days ago the Android version of the app became available.
Certainly, the technology behind the app is cool. But what played well and let this few-months-old startup to a spectacular exit is their marketing acumen. Of course, they made some cute filters like monkey, panda, bunny or zombie. But they made it especially right by creating a filter of Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning the coveted Oscar. This mask had become available a few months before the actual announcement of the results. Leo’s mask have greatly contributed to the app virality and the featuring by Vanity Fair during the Oscar ceremony and twice (!) in Jimmy Kimmel’s live show. The app had more than 16 mln downloads.
It’s an inspiring exit for the startup community in Belarus. Congrats to the founders: Eugene Nevgen, Sergey Gonchar, and Eugene Zatepyakin! Yuri Gurski, the Vice President of Mail.ru Group and one of the most prominent tech entrepreneurs in Belarus, mentored the team, and the Russian VC Gagarin Capital backed them during the early-stage.
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