Alphabet Inc’s venture capital arm CapitalG, earlier known as Google Capital, disclosed an investment in Snapchat by adding the social networking firm’s logo to a page on its investment portfolio website.
CapitalG has not made a formal announcement and it was not clear when Google made the investment. The company was not immediately available to comment.
Snap Inc, which operates the popular messaging app Snapchat, has hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc as lead underwriters for an initial public offering. The banks were notified last month that they had been awarded one of most coveted and potentially lucrative IPO mandates in recent years, as the Venice, California-based company vies for a $25 billion valuation in the stock market.
Snapchat, which lets users send smartphone photos which automatically disappear after a few seconds, has proven popular among teenage users. The company had reportedly rejected an acquisition offer from Facebook Inc that would have valued the company at $3 billion or more in 2013.
Snapchat, which first went live in 2011, has seen its daily active users cross Twitter. According to reports, the messaging app has over 150 million daily active users, which is still smaller compared to say Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram. However, that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to copy features of Snapchat as it seeks to boost engagement. Instagram now has Stories, which are an exact copy of the feature on Snapchat, except the photo-sharing app doesn’t yet support live filters for faces like the latter.
WhatsApp beta might soon be getting a Stories-style feature in the Status Update tab, according to early testers. Interestingly Facebook is also testing live face filters on its camera app in some countries and plans to roll it out soon to the world as well.
Meanwhile, Snapchat is also looking at hardware, and recently launched its first smart spectacles, which are priced at $130 and called Snap Specs. These funky sunglasses will let a user record 10-second video snippets and upload them to their Snapchat account. The camera uses a 115-degree wide angle lens, but unlike Google Glasses, these are pitched more as fun toys aimed at the younger population which is Snapchat’s core user base.
Snapchat also recently introduced ads between stories as a new form of monetization for the app.
With Reuters inputs