Fire-and-forget social messaging app Snapchat is seeking to raise US$500m in a new funding round that could value the company as much as US$19bn.
Snapchat, which enables millions of people around the world to send photos and videos that can disappear within seconds, is believed to be in advanced discussions with major venture capital players and private investors.
Born at Stanford University in California in 2011, Snapchat has seen its value skyrocket after spurning a US$3bn acquisition offer from social network Facebook two years ago.
The company has raised funds from 23 investors and is currently valued at US$10bn, already placing it in the impossibly high valuation league of unicorns that include consumer tech maker Xiaomi (US$45bn) and ride-sharing app Uber (US$40bn).
The US$16bn to US$19bn valuation would place Snapchat close to the US$22bn that Facebook stumped up last year for messaging app WhatsApp, a company that had just 55 employees at the time.
While Snapchat has not officially disclosed how many users it has, it said last year that users sent more than 700m “snaps” a day.
What is really interesting to watch about Snapchat is its evolution to become a media-sharing tool. It is understood Snapchat Discover is becoming the fastest growing media-sharing platform since Twitter and is understood to have sent some publishers millions of views per day.
Last week, we reported how Snapchat has struck a deal with broadcaster Sky to feature Sky News and Sky Sports on Snapchat Discover.
Selfie image via Shutterstock