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What's Cooking At Snapchat As It Prepares For Its IPO?

What's Cooking At Snapchat As It Prepares For Its IPO?

Snap Inc., formerly known as Snapchat, confidentially filed for an IPO ahead of the presidential elections, valuing the company at roughly $25 billion. Now that the news has broken, here's a look at the company, its products and what has transpired since the reports of the IPO filing.

Making A Social Media Splash

The five-year-old startup conceived by three Stanford graduates has made a name for itself among social media firms. So much so that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)'s Instagram has aped its Stories and has even found success with it. Data from Statista show Snapchat had 150 million daily active users in June 2016, up from 110 million global DAU in December 2015 — a 36 percent growth in six months.

Backed By Prestigious Investors

Snap Inc.'s appeal has lured many high-profile investors, including Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)'s Google, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO). CapitalG, one of the two venture capital arms of Google, has listed Snap Inc. as one of its portfolio companies.

Reports suggest that the IPO could come as early as March 2017 and at a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion, over six times the bid value Facebook had for the company back in 2013.

What Snapchat Does

The company is a mobile messaging and multimedia sharing app, which was initially used to share impermanent images via private message "snaps" that can be viewed for a user-specified length of time before disappearing. Now, video has become an important feature of Snapchat. Multimedia messages, known as snaps, consisting of a photo or a short video, edited with text, filers, stickers and other overlays, are shared as a semi-public story or sent privately.

Hardware Foray

In September, the company said it had developed a new type of camera called Spectacles, marking a foray into hardware business. Spectacles are sunglasses with an integrated inbuilt wireless video camera, which can be connected directly to Snapchat through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transfer Memories directly into the app.

Name Change

Ahead of the announcement concerning the launch of its Spectacles, the company announced a name change to the current Snap Inc. from Snapchat, with the change intended to accommodate additional products such as Spectacles. Another reasoning given was that a Snap Inc. search could throw up financial data et al, which are of interest to Wall Street. Furthermore, users seeking information on specific products can access relevant information with ease and convenience without having to go through the irrelevant financial information.

Chinese R&D Office

Meanwhile, the company announced the opening of a technology office in the southern city of Shenzhen, China, for research & development on Sunglasses. Spectacles are already being assembled in China.

Flite Buy?

A report by Recode contributor Kurt Wagner suggested that Snap has bought ad tech company Flite. In October, Snap unveiled its ads API, allowing third parties sell Snapchat's ad inventory using automated bidding algorithm in a bid to increase its ad inventories.


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