What we learned from Snapchat's IPO filing

The company it going to market with a $25bn valuation...

What we learned from Snapchat's IPO filing

Edward Smith / EMPICS Entertainment / via PA

The privately-owned messaging app, Snapchat is expected to become a publicly quoted company within the next two months and last night published the detailed prospectus that all potential investors will pore through to get an indication of the company’s operating performance, where it wants to go and likely sustained profitability.

As with a lot of high-growth tech companies, Snapchat is nowhere near profitability. In fact the prospectus revealed that it incurred net losses of $515m last year, much of which arose from payments to the likes of Google for research and development. That brings to $900m, losses over the past two financial years.

But Snapchat, which is expected to raise up to $4bn in new capital as part of its listing has urged investors to focus on its vision rather than its current finances.

And here it focuses on a highly innovative company that has grown to 150 million active – mainly young users – with significant potential for driving advertising revenue. Revenues while growing rapidly, still only came in at $400m last year, significantly lower than its losses.

Interestingly, new shareholders will not be given any voting rights leaving control of company direction with the company’s founders, chief executive, Evan Spiegel and technology chief, Bobby Murphy.

The prospectus reveals they each own a 22.4% stake, valued currently at about $4bn each.

Snapchat famously rejected a $3bn takeover offer from Facebook in 2013 - the founders would have netted them $750m in cash each at that time.

During the final quarter of last year 2.5 billion snaps were sent everyday.