Virtual treasure hunt app Snatch raises £4.4m seed funding

The app, which allows users win some £50m worth of prizes from some of the world's biggest brands, will use the injection of cash to plot US expansion

Snatch, a virtual treasure hunt app, has raised £4.4m in a seed funding round led by Initial Capital.

While other investors included First Minute Capital, CrunchFund, Simon Equity Partners, Cassius Family Fund, Hanson Asset Management, Velocity Technology Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.

Free to download and play, Snatch combines brand marketing with augmented reality in the form of a virtual treasure hunt that allows players to win real world prizes – that can also be snatched by other users.

Now out of its Beta stage, the app has already attracted some half a million users with over 120 of the world’s leading brands on board including Heineken, Deliveroo, Missguided, Boohoo, Gousto, Virgin Wines and Samsung.

Snatch works by using a player’s smartphone location paired with augmented reality to transform their immediate surroundings into an interactive playground – with players competing to seek out and steal virtual parcels.

If users successfully keep and defend a parcel for six hours, they can then ‘open’ it and redeem a real life prize.

With some £50m of prizes up for grabs, potential rewards could include hard cash, holidays, gig tickets, products, or even experiences.

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Founded by Joe Martin and Jamal Hirani in 2016, the app has offices in London and San Francisco and will use the funding to grow the app in the UK as well as start planning towards a global expansion, with a US launch on the horizon.

Back in February 2017, the start-up received secured investment from Unilever Ventures – the venture capital and private equity arm of Unilever.

Joe Martin, founder and CEO of Snatch, said:

“We are thrilled to have the backing of established entrepreneurs and business leaders– ranging from today’s tech stars, to entrepreneurs, gaming specialists and leading venture capitalists.

“We want to challenge how brands reach and engage consumers, and in doing so we’re shaking up both gaming and marketing, through the use of augmented reality, to deliver more to both.

“This investment will allow us to push ahead with our plans to create a truly game-changing product in the UK and expand Snatch worldwide, beginning in the US.”

Brent Hoberman, executive chairman, general partner of First Minute, said:

“We always look for globally ambitious founders building businesses with digital at their core and we’re confident that Snatch is precisely that: a digital-first business at the cutting edge of consumer technology that’s exploiting new emerging technologies to redefine how brands market to consumers.

“Snatch has created an entirely new format and we’re thrilled to be working closely with the team.”