Now you can get a slice of Snapchat, as its parent prepares to list

PUBLISHED: Fri, 03 Feb 2017 04:51:22 GMT
Snap officially filed for an IPO on Thursday, and told investors it “may never achieve or maintain profitability.”

Snapchat’s revenue growth is astounding — and so are its losses. Here are the highlights.

  • Net revenue: $404.48 million in 2016, up from $58.66 million in 2015
  • Net loss: $514.64 million in 2016, wider than $372.89 million in 2015
  • Loss from operations: $520.39 million in 2016, wider than $381.73 million in 2015
  • Usage: 161 million daily active users in the December quarter (60 million daily active users in the United States and Canada)
  • Average revenue per user: $1.05 in the December quarter ($2.15 in North America)
  • Time spent: 25 to 30 minutes a day
  • Head count: 1,859 employees

(All numbers are according to generally accepted accounting principles unless otherwise noted.)

That means the ephemeral messaging service grew revenue almost seven times in a year — but its losses outstripped its revenue.

Snap also revealed that it will spend $2 billion with Google Cloud over the next five years, and that boss Evan Spiegel got nearly $900,000 of security services in 2016. The company sought in the filing to raise $3 billion. 

“We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability,” the filing said. Other similar companies, like Twitter, have also included similar language in their public offerings.

The Venice, California, company also noted that unlike almost every public offering on the market, the two co-founders will control “all stockholder decisions.” It will trade on the New York Stock exchange under the symbol “SNAP.”

“Our two co-founders have control over all stockholder decisions because they control a substantial majority of our voting stock. … We are not aware of any other company that has completed an initial public offering of non-voting stock on a U.S. stock exchange. We therefore cannot predict the impact our capital structure and the concentrated control by our founders may have on our stock price or our business.”

Co-founders Spiegel and Bobby Murphy each own 20 percent of Snap, according to the prospectus. Based on a valuation that could reportedly reach $25 billion at the time of the offering, each of them would own shares worth about $5 billion.

Drew Pascarella, a lecturer of finance at Cornell University’s business school, said that he thought investors would give Snap’s lack of disclosure a pass based on its initial success, but “will be relentless at first sight of trouble.”

“Snap’s dismissive behavior towards its underwriting syndicate is not totally uncommon in the tech world, but it may be a sign of a potentially antagonistic relationship with future shareholders,” Pascarella said in a statement.

The company’s usage statistics also revealed how popular it is with teens, even if it’s less so with adults. 

“The majority of our users are 18-34 years old,” the filing said. “This demographic may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends than other demographics … Snapchat also may not be able to penetrate other demographics in a meaningful manner. For example, users 25 and older visited Snapchat approximately 12 times and spent approximately 20 minutes on Snapchat every day on average in the quarter ended December 31, 2016, while users younger than 25 visited Snapchat over 20 times and spent over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day on average during the same period.” 

Still, the company has a diverse revenue stream: No single advertiser or content partner accounts for more than 10 percent of revenue, the filing said.

Here’s the full filing. 

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