Snapchat raised $1.8B in a Series F round; leaked deck reveals revenues, user numbers
By Ingrid Lunden and Katie Roof for Techcrunch.com
Earlier this week, we reported that the messaging app startup Snapchat was raising more money. Now we have more updates for you.
An SEC filing has been made today with information about Snapchat’s latest Series F round, in which it has raised $1.8 billion. Separately, we’ve also obtained a leaked pitch deck, revealing Snapchat’s revenue and forecasts.
The Los Angeles-based company recently started its monetization efforts and brought in just $59 million in revenue in 2015, according to data in the deck. But it is now ramping up business in earnest, with the funding to match.
In its most recent Series F of $1.8 billion, $1.158 billion of that has been raised in the last five months, since January, reliable sources tell TechCrunch.
Investors in this round, according to our sources, include General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, T. Rowe Price, Lone Pine, Glade Brook Capital, IVP, Coatue Management and Fidelity, among others.
The Form D doesn’t reveal how the company is valued, and the valuation chatter we have heard has varied. Sources have told us that some investments were being taken at about a $17.5 billion pre-money valuation. When you add in the $1.8 billion, it gets closer to the targeted post-money valuation we reported earlier this week, of around $20 billion.
But — again — we’ve had conflicting information on this number and it could be lower. And, several hours after we first published this, a source contacted us with a firm valuation of just under $18 billion, calculating $16 billion + $1.8 billion in this round.
It’s also possible, though unusual, that some investors are getting in at different valuations. We’ve heard that there is also a special purpose vehicle, with a large pool of investors getting access to Snapchat shares that way.
We’ve been told that the company raises money on a rolling basis, with ongoing financing from a number of investors in recent months. This round appears to be wrapping up several pieces of funding.
If you recall, last year it was reported that Snapchat was in the process of raising $650 million at a $16 billion valuation, with regulatory filings showing some $537 million of that raised already. It turned out that Snapchat did raise the rest of that $650 million, which became the first part of its Series F. A report in the WSJ from March of this year noted that a $175 million raise from Fidelity (which is part of this round) was also at that same valuation of $16 billion.
The Delaware filing from May 13 essentially pointed to a valuation of up to $22.7 billion if all the shares authorized for the Series F (including the Series FP) were issued, based on the price that Fidelity paid per share earlier in the round, though this is unlikely to take effect.
More money, more growth
Others claim that Snapchat’s valuation is staying flat in this round, although the company itself seems to be doing anything but that. (And that is one reason we happen to give some credence to the higher valuation numbers that sources have told us.)
We’ve been given a Snapchat presentation deck by a source who was approached to invest, which reveals some previously undisclosed numbers about the company.
The deck, which dates to the end of 2015, notes that Snapchat’s revenues in 2015 were $59 million (recall that there was no real monetization effort in the first part of the year, and only the beginnings of it in the latter part of the year).
It also notes that the company has estimated that revenues will be between $250 million and $350 million for 2016, and between $500 million and as much as $1 billion for 2017.
The higher end of those ranges are not internal revenue figures, according to the deck: they are based on bullish sales targets at the company. You should take them with a small grain of salt for another reason, too: they were published before the company started to ramp up revenue generation through things like advertising and Discover, which also comes at a price for brands.
The deck also noted that Snapchat had 110 million daily active users as of December 2015, up from 74 million a year before, growing nearly 50%, with previous months seeing even higher growth rates.
Of course, it’s now May 2016, so it’s not clear where those DAUs stand now. But in the interim, the company has launched a wave of products that continue to push the boundaries of what you can you do with the pictures and videos that you create and send to friends.
Things like swapping your face with another face in your camera roll, attaching an emoji to a moving object in a video, or upgrading its whole Chat experience with a range of new features to communicate however you want to, not only point to how the company is willing to try out all kinds of crazy things to see what is a hit, but they are giving users a range of novel ways of to keep them using the product. Content creation becomes more likely, the thinking goes, when users have some fun tools to use — and it helps that the app has always opened directly to a camera.
That is before you consider the other content that Snapchat is developing for the platform in partnership with other producers like Stories and its own takes on ads — which could also help the company as it looks to extend to more demographics beyond its core base of younger users.
Snapchat has said in the past that video views on the service grew more than 350% in the last year to over 10 billion video views per day, and that over two-thirds people who use Snapchat create content every day.
Investors we talked to for this story told us that this kind of engagement is one of the most attractive things about the company. “There are only 168 hours in a week,” one investor said. “If you look at the consumer Internet, that means there can’t be more than 5-7 high scale products in use by one person, because you just don’t have bandwidth for more.” Snapchat, he said, is already that product for many of its existing users, and it’s only just getting started.
First appeared at Techcrunch.com