Reddit announced that it has acquired Dubsmash short video platform. The terms of the contract were not disclosed. Dubsmash will keep its own platform and brand and Reddit will integrate its video creation tools. Co-founders Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel and Tim Specht will join Reddit.
According to Crunchbase data, the app has raised $ 20.2 million from investors including Lowercase, Index Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Heartcore Capital and Sunstone Life.
Dubsmash is one of TikTok's biggest competitors today, but after brief popularity in 2015, it struggled when it first incarnated as a lip-sync video app for a number of years. In 2017, it began to transform into a social platform and moved its headquarters from Berlin to Brooklyn. Earlier this year, Dubsmash's share of the US short-form video market was second only to TikTok after app installs, and reportedly held acquisition talks with Facebook and Snap.
Much of Dubsmash's success goes to Black and Latinx users. While many of TikTok's most famous stars are white, Dubsmash is known for its large communities of Black and Latinx content creators. The polarization between the two apps gained increasing attention earlier this year when the New York Times published an article on how dance moves from Black Dubsmash stars are often appropriated without recognition from TikTok influencers, meaning their developers have opportunities like bigger ones miss followers, brand deals and industry connections.
Reddit has its own issues with racism and has been criticized for not doing enough to stop hate speech or giving enough support to moderators of subreddits targeted by racist trolls.
Last year, founder and former CEO Alexis Ohanian requested that his position on Reddit's board of directors be filled with a black candidate if he resigns. Current CEO Steve Huffman said the company would honor it as part of a larger hate speech fight on the platform announced during anti-racism demonstrations following the police officer's murder of George Floyd. Ohanian's position was filled by Michael Seibel, CEO of Y Combinator.
In its announcement today, Reddit linked its acquisition of Dubsmash to its inclusion efforts, admitting that “the app's communities are driven by young, diverse developers – roughly 25 percent of all black teenagers in the US are on Dubsmash and 70 percent are women. "
The integration of Dubsmash's video creation tools will enable Reddit users "to express themselves in original and authentic ways that are endemic to our communities".
Since native video started in 2017, usage has grown dramatically, according to Reddit, doubling in 2020 alone. However, much of the Reddit content is still based on text. Videos, gifs, and images are often shared from other sources, so the Dubsmash Reddit integration can help them build their own video platform.