SNAPCHAT
Snapchat is a US-based messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to recipients. Snapchat evolved into a mix of private messaging and public content, including brand networks, publications, and live events such as sports and music. Created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford University and developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc.
JOURNEY SO FAR
2011
Snapchat was conceived of by Stanford graduate students as a unique photo-sharing app that makes the photos disappear after they are viewed. The prototype for Snapchat was created by Brown and Spiegel as a project for one of Spiegel's classes at Stanford, where Spiegel was a product design major.
2012
Due to Snapchat's "disappearing images" (ephemeral data) feature, it spread like wildfire among young people in general and college students in particular. This also got the app noticed by top tech and youth media publications - further increasing its popularity.

In December Snapchat added the ability to send video snaps in addition to photos. By holding down the photo button while inside the app, a video of up to 10 seconds in length can be captured. After a single viewing, the video disappears by default. Spiegel explained that this process allowed the video data to be compressed into the size of a photo.
2013
In June, Snapchat version 5.0, dubbed "Banquo", was released for iOS. The updated version introduced several speed and design enhancements, including swipe navigation, double-tap to reply, an improved friend finder, and in-app profiles. Also in June, Snapchat introduced Snapkidz for users less than 13 years of age. Snapkidz allowed children to take snaps and draw on them, but they could not send snaps to other users and could only save snaps locally on the device being used.

In October, Snapchat introduced the "My Story" feature, which allowed users to compile snaps into chronological storylines, accessible to all of their friends.

Snapchat raised funds in three rounds (Series A: $12.5 million, Series B: $80 million, and Series C: $50 million). The user base grew significantly, with the number of daily snaps sent growing to 400 million by November 2013.
2014
On May 1, the ability to communicate via video chat was added. Direct messaging features were also included in the update, allowing users to send ephemeral text messages to friends and family while saving any needed information by clicking on it.

In November, Snapchat announced “Snapcash”, a tool allowing people to send each other money easily through the app. In December it raised $485 million, in series D funding at a valuation of $10 billion with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as the lead investors. With the additional funds, Snapchat aggressively improved the product, with changes such as Chat 2.0, the introduction of stickers, and new monetization strategies.
2015
In February, Snapchat launched “Discover”, a daily feed comprising content from brands like ESPN, CNN, Vice, and Warner Music, National Geographic, Yahoo News, and others. It also launched the Snapchat Safety Centre, a section of its website with practical tips of how to stay safe while using Snapchat. The Safety Centre launch was in collaboration with three nonprofits focused on Internet safety: ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and UK Safer Internet Centre.

Daily video views grew from 2 billion in May 2015 to 6 billion in November 2015 and 10 billion in April 2016. However, unlike Facebook, that counts a view only after at least three seconds on it (and YouTube, which follows a more restrictive definition), Snapchat counts a view as soon as the video start playing, making its numbers hard to compare with Facebook.

In August, Snapchat launched a new mode called Travel Mode in its iOS and Android apps, intended for people who are travelling and do not want to use too much mobile data. In this mode, Snaps, Stories, and Discovery content are not automatically loaded when the user opens the app, but are only loaded when the user taps on the piece of content.
2016
In March, Snapchat acquired Bitstrips, the company that makes bitmojis also it announced Chat 2.0, a collection of product updates. In May the company raised $1.8 billion in series F funding.

In June, it acquired Obvious Engineering, a startup working on three-dimensional face scanning app called “Seene” (also called the "3D selfie startup").

In July Snapchat announced Memories, a feature that helps people find older content they had posted. By default, any snaps saved to the Camera Roll also get included in Memories.

In September, Snapchat Inc., was rebranded to Snap Inc., along with the introduction of the company's first hardware gadget, Spectacles, a pair of smart glasses with a built-in camera that can record 10 seconds of video at a time.
PRODUCTS
Snapchat along with its existing snap has come out with video-grabbing sunglasses, called Spectacles.

These are sunglasses, available in three colours that come with a small camera built into the upper left and right sides of the frames. Tap a button near the left camera, and Specs records for 10 seconds. Additional taps get you 10 more seconds each, up to 30 seconds at a time. To stop recording sooner, press and hold the same button.

The Snaps will live on your Specs until you transfer them to your smart phone, over Wi-Fi for Android and Bluetooth for iOS by default. The Specs Snaps will be saved in the Memories section of your Snapchat app.
IPO INSIGHTS
  • Snap Inc. has confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering that may value the popular messaging platform at as much as $25 billion. An IPO, expected as early as March, could value Snap at between $20 billion and $25 billion.
  • Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. would be the lead underwriters of the Snap IPO.
  • Snap’s main source of revenue is selling ads on Snapchat that are slotted in between stories contributed by media partners and video diaries posted by the app’s users.
  • Marketers also can buy location-based or event-based geofilters and “lenses” that add quirky characteristics to photos and videos.
  • Snap has been working hard to win over Madison Avenue ahead of the IPO. Advertisers are intrigued by the Snapchat app, which reaches more than 150 million users daily, including 41% of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S., according to Nielsen.
  • Snap is expected to price its initial public offering on Wednesday and the stock is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday With its initial price range of $14 to $16 a share.
  • Snap would have a public market capitalization between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion. Snap’s latest private valuation was $17.8 billion.
  • Snapchat's owner Snap Inc has worked on a drone that could help users take overhead videos and photographs and then feed that visual data to the company.
  • Snap reported that its ephemeral messaging service had 158 million daily active users at the end of 2016, and an average of 2.5 billion “snaps” are created on Snapchat every day.
  • Goldman Sachs is one of the underwriters of the IPO and estimates that Snap could hit approximately $2 billion in revenue by 2018.
FINANCIAL SNAPSHOT
  • The firm estimates the mobile social application will generate $366.69 million in 2016, but that figure will grow to $935.46 million by 2017 – a jump it attributes to Snapchat’s ability to reach younger millennial, a wider ad portfolio, and ad targeting improvements.
  • The $366.69 million in 2016 is a bit higher than the internal goals Snapchat had reportedly set for itself this year, according to a report from Recode this spring. Sources had told Recode that Snapchat was targeting between $300 million and $350 million in revenue this year, up 6 to 7 times from the $50 million it projected last year.
  • The $1 billion estimate, meanwhile, lines up with details found in Snapchat’s leaked presentation deck, which predicted revenues between $500 million and as much as $1 billion for 2017.
BUSINESS STRATEGY
  • Snapchat puts Twitter's micro content aspect and YouTube’s play button and watch content into a single app.
  • Snapchat is looking to encourage people to use its app for personal branding.
  • Engaging with various communities on Snapchat and sharing organic, native content.
  • It would target businesses to use its platform for branding their respective businesses and help them connect with greater audience.
RISK FACTORS
  • Currently, Snapchat is a very hot and trendy company to invest in, but if Snapchat does not monetize its growth in 2017, the company might find it very difficult to do so later on, as the buzz might fade away and as other messaging applications like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, Telegram, Viber, etc. might dominate the messaging market and add features all the time.
  • If Snapchat doesn't launch any amazing new feature that will attract many new users and advertisers to boost revenues significantly to improve multiples and enable a near-term IPO, the company might have a not-so-bright future.
  • Snapchat unveiled a revenue outlook that reflects an incredible three-digit 5-year CAGR, which is still lagging behind the growth in its valuation.
  • A midrange estimation of 2019 P/S for Snapchat of 15.5 could make it very difficult for the company to go public and remain attractive for investors.