Venice-based Snap Inc., parent company of the photo/video- sharing Snapchat phone app, went public Thursday, opening at $24 a share, then rose to $25 - far above the initial share price of $17. For now, Snap is expected to set a $14 to $16 price per share, which would translate to a massive $22.2 billion valuation.
Snap began trading at $24 per share, representing a 41% increase on the initial offer price which was at the top end of market expectations.
On that note, it makes ideal sense for Snap to bet big on the camera front, as the company has always encouraged communication through visuals.
Bobby Murphy, Snap's 27-year-old cofounder and chief technology officer, stood alongside Spiegel to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
We already know Snapchat's one of the largest social networks on the planet, but its IPO prospectus confirmed that by stating that an average users opens the app over 18 times a day and over 2.5 billion messages are sent each day.
In exchange for a guaranteed block, the big investors may agree not to dump the stock - though Snap's filing says it may waive the lockup requirement. Snap lost $514 million a year ago on $404 million in revenue.
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Snap marks Lightspeed's third exit in less than six months - it made early bets on Nutanix, which went public in September and is now worth about $4.5 billion, and AppDynamics, acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion in January.
Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. Thursday also marked Snap Inc.'s first day as a publicly traded company.
The company's losses widened previous year, and user growth is slowing down in the face of intense competition from larger rivals such as Facebook.
Snap's VP of engineering Timothy Sehn holds $170 million worth of post-IPO shares.
At $24 billion, the IPO valuation was more than double the size of rival Twitter and the richest valuation in a U.S. technology IPO since Facebook in 2012.
The amount, on paper, at least, puts Spiegel in a rarified club of tech billionaires alongside Bill Gates, Google co-founder Larry Page, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.