Scan (company)

Last updated

Scan, Inc
Type Subsidiary
Industry Mobile commerce
Key people
Garrett Gee (CEO, Co-Founder)
Kirk Ouimet (COO, Co-Founder)
Ben Turley (CTO, Co-founder)
Parent Snap Inc. (2014–present)

Scan is a mobile app development company headquartered in Provo, Utah, United States. The company was founded in January 2011 by Garrett Gee together with his college friends Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet. [1] The company, owned and operated by Scan, Inc, [2] was acquired by Snapchat in 2014.



Scan builds products and services related to 'scannable' items such as QR codes. [3] Scan's products consist of mobile applications that consumers use for reading a variety of physical codes such as QR codes, NFC, and machine-recognizable images (Computer Vision). [4] Scan's website allows for the creation of QR codes as well as targeted codes that link to web destinations such as social network profiles, websites, and Scan-hosted personal pages. [5] [6] As of June 2013, Scan had raised $1.7M in seed investment [7] from Google Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, Ludlow Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Troy Carter, Shervin Pishevar, Charles River Ventures, and Vikas Gupta. [8]

The company launched its iOS application in February 2011 and had received over 1 million installs three months later. [7] After a year and a half, the application had been downloaded 10 million times. [4] As of December 2012, Scan reported 25 million downloads on the iOS and Android platforms. [3] In 2014 Scan was purchased by Snapchat for $54 million and the Scan app developed into Snapcode. [9] [10]


Garrett Gee claims that his idea for Scan was conceived when he received a smartphone for Christmas in 2009 and scanned a QR code. Gee said he wanted to create better web and mobile tools for working with QR codes, and then recruited fellow students Kirk Ouimet and Ben Turley to found the company and launch the first iOS application in a student competition at Brigham Young University (BYU) where they placed second. The trio pursued funding, with Gee meeting with investors while continuing as a student at BYU. [11]


The application reached 1 million installs for iOS three months after it launched, and by March 2012 had reached over 10 million downloads in 77 countries for iOS and Android. [12] By the end of 2012, Scan had been downloaded 25 million times and averaged 27 million scans per month. [13] Gee claimed that “At its highest, it’s getting 85,000 [downloads] a day, and a bad day is 35,000 downloads a day.” [14] In March 2012, Scan had 9 employees. [15]


Scan's reported revenue model relies on advertising revenue from scanned “1D” barcodes that lead users to affiliate links and advertising. In May 2012, Gee claimed that the affiliate and advertising revenue had topped $1,000 per day. [16]


In early 2012, Scan had released support for scanning QR codes, 1D barcodes, and offered connections to these technologies in the form of websites, shopping carts, social media actions, and lead generation pages. In February, Scan launched Scan Pages; mobile optimized, hosted sites for businesses and individuals that are linked to QR codes. [17] In May 2012, Scan launched a “Scan-to-gram” which allowed users to create QR codes that linked to their Instagram profiles. [16] In December 2012, Scan launched version 2.0 of its apps, which also supported scanning of QR, UPC, EAN, and ISBN codes. [13]

The Scan website was overhauled in August 2013, making it easier to create QR codes and related materials.

Shark Tank

In 2013 Garrett appeared on the show Shark Tank to pitch the app as a possible investment. The sharks of the show decided not to invest in his app.

Snapchat Purchase

A Sony executive was on the board of Snapchat and emails stolen during the Sony Pictures hack leaked the information that Snapchat had paid $50 million to acquire Scan. Snapchat's Snapcode feature is powered by Scan's technology. [18] Later reports gave a value of $54 million, with $30 million in cash and the rest in equity in Snapchat. [19]

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  1. Jasen Lee (May 25, 2015). "BYU student parlays app idea into a life-changer". Desert News.
  2. Scan Inc. "Foursquare Company Profile Page", ‘’Foursquare’’, Retrieved on September 12, 2013.
  3. 1 2 Ifeanyl, KC. “Bum Rushing QR Code Competitors: Scan”, ‘’’’, March 4, 2012. Retrieved on July 22, 2013.
  4. 1 2 Taub, Alexander. “QR Codes Are Dead! Long Live QR Codes! A Conversation With Scan’s Founder, Garrett Gee”, ‘’Forbes’’, December 6, 2012. Retrieved on July 22, 2013.
  5. Scan Website Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  6. ’’Crunchbase’’
  7. 1 2 Popper, Ben. “After 10M downloads in 1 year, Scan gets $1.7M from Menlo and Google Ventures to perfect QR codes” ‘’VentureBeat’’, February 23, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  8. ’’AngelList’’,
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  12. Holland, Joel (April 20, 2012). "College Startup: Big Scan on Campus".
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  14. Panzarino, Matthew. “Scan isn’t satisfied with 27M scans in a month and 25M downloads overall, it wants to fix the QR code”, ‘’TNW’’, November 27, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  15. mario. “Garrett Gee - Co-Founder and Engineer at” ‘’IdeaMensch’’, March 21, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  16. 1 2 Empson, Rip. “With 12M+ Downloads, Scan Launches Scan-to-gram, A New Way To Follow People On Instagram”, ‘’TechCrunch’’, May 10, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  17. Yeung, Ken. “QR Codes Might Not Be Dead: Launches Mobile Sites & Raises $1.7 Million”, ‘’bubblicious’’, February 23, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  18. Constine, Josh. "Snapchat Plans Music Feature, Acquired QR For $50M And Vergence Eyeglass Cam For $15M,". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  19. Marguerite Ward (June 20, 2016). "This entrepreneur sold an app to Snapchat for $54M and is now traveling the world". CNBC.