Microsoft Ventures invests in strategic partner Layer, which just acquired messaging startup Cola

Laurent Giret

Microsoft Campus

Layer, a messaging startup already backed by Microsoft, has just announced that it is raising $15 million in new Series B round led by Microsoft Ventures along with Greycroft Partners, Salesforce Ventures and other strategic investors. The company, which is a strategic partner to Microsoft Ventures will use these new funds to acquire Cola, another communications startup developing interactive bubbles for messaging apps.

If you’re not familiar with it, Layer has developing an open communications layer for the Internet since 2013, allowing developers to add rich messaging functionalities to any app. Layer will acquire Cola’s core intellectual property and technology including the company’s Bubble Development Kit (BDK). Key members of Cola’s engineering team including CTO Jeremy Wyld (a former member of the original iPhone team at Apple) will also join the Layer team.

“With this new acquisition, Layer is extending its messaging platform to give brands access to Cola technology—interactive, stateful messages that live inside a conversation,” said Ron Palmeri, CEO of Layer. “We’ve seen messaging evolve from simple chat into a rich stream of events. Now, developers using Layer will have a framework to make these events interactive and collaborative,” he added.

Layer’s technology is already being used by hundreds of companies worldwide including Trunk Club, Stabples, Udacity and more. Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the company also demonstrated how it leveraged the Microsoft Translator API to allow users to send messages that can be automatically translated in the language of the receiver.