After rampant speculation that the day was coming over the past year or so, Snap Inc., the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has officially filed for its Independent Public Offering. That filing will commence a 15 day waiting period, after which the tech giant will be able to begin holding meetings with investors. At this point in time, initial projections indicate that Snapchat will be valued around 25 billion dollars. Beginning in March, shares of Snapchat will be available for trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker SNAP.
In conjunction with this filing, Snap Inc. was required to disclose a fair amount of interesting information about its Snapchat platform. For example, the company disclosed revenues of 404.4 million dollars in 2016, an increase of over 50 million from the year before. It also revealed that it housed 158 million daily active users in 2016, representing a thriving social media platform.
Snapchat originated as a simple photo sharing application, the brainchild of 26 year old CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel. It quickly became popular, and Snap Inc. continued to grow both the features of the app and the reach of the company as a whole. Over time, the app added video capability, new methods of sharing, and a News and Discover section. Snap Inc. also increased its advertising presence and unrolled its first tangible product: Spectacles, special glasses that allow users to record exactly what they are looking at and send it to their friends through the Snapchat app.
Despite all the success that Snapchat has seen, there have been questions about how viable the company will be in the long run. Snapchat largely draws from young people (adolescents, teenagers, and young adults) for its user base, and some wonder if and how it will translate to a larger market. Snap has, it seems, attempted to combat these fears by creating hardware and expanding its presence, as well as defining itself as “a camera company” rather than a social media platform.
This IPO is an unprecedented event, as it is the sale of shares of a very large but very specialized Internet age company. It will be incredibly interesting to see what sort of investors Snap Inc. can draw, and how successful its IPO will be.