Are Uber, Pinterest and Snapchat really worth US$71bn between them?

19 Feb 2015

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It seems like valuations are just a game of ‘pick the highest number’ nowadays, with Uber, Pinterest and Snapchat seeking a combined valuation that equates to Panama’s GDP.

That’s Uber, an app-based taxi network service; Pinterest, an image-bookmarking site and Snapchat, a messaging service, matching Panama, home to the world’s single-most important commercial crossing for global, international maritime trade.

According to the New York Times, Uber’s latest round in a long line of investment opportunities is reaching US$2.8bn, with an overall valuation of a ludicrous US$41bn thanks to some heavy interest from Wall Street backers.

Double up

This US$2.8bn round does not even include last month’s US$1.6bn round of convertible debt financing from Goldman Sachs, with backers like Baidu and Qatar Investment Authority now getting on board.

Pinterest and Snapchat are each looking to raise US$500m at the moment, bringing their hoped-for valuations to US$11bn and US$19bn respectively.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, Pinterest’s latest round of funding, if achieved, would more than double last May’s assigned value.

Meanwhile Snapchat’s decision to turn down Facebook’s offer of US$3bn back in 2013 looks to have been a game of poker that Evan Spiegel, the start-up’s founder, came out the better of.

Through this US$500m funding round, which it wants in cash, he’s looking to rake in a valuation over six times that.

WhatsApp sets the trend

"Snapchat is seeking a fairly arbitrary valuation of US$19bn, apparently because that's the valuation WhatsApp got from Facebook," CNN reports PrivCo CEO, Sam Hamadeh, as saying.

Apparently there’s enough interest to make this valuation a real possibility.

If it fails, then Snapchat will fall back to its current valuation of a measly US$10bn, "the same as several other start-up darlings," says CNN, "Airbnb, Dropbox and Indian firm Flipkart."

All in all, the trio's planned valuations add up to US$71bn. Panama's GDP, according to the IMF, is the same.

Although Panama doesn't have an app…

Panama canal image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com