Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Company | Profile

Snap

Snap is the parent company of Snapchat, an American photo and video messaging app that lets users add text and drawings to their own photos and videos and send them to friends. Launched in 2011, Snapchat is known for its fast-disappearing messages called "Snaps" that go away after the recipient views them. The platform has over 100 million daily active users (mostly between the ages of 13 and 34), who view over 7 billion videos every day.

In 2014, the company started aligning itself with music events: a natural fit for some of Snapchat's most popular features. Live Stories, which allow users at the same event or location share Snaps to the same Story, are the perfect conduit for live music events sharing. In fact, they've been tapped for festivals already: Coachella and the iHeartRadio Music Festival, just to name a few. Each story captures the concerts as they are heard by users, compiling photos and videos into stories that reflect the magic of live music. More people watched the Snapchat stories on the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards than watched the event itself on cable. 

Snapchat Discover, launched in early 2015, also doubles as a platform for music sharing, with content based around music and entertainment, like the iHeartRadio channel that showcases artist interviews and song previews. And Snapchat is turning itself into a powerful ally for media brands looking for access to millennials. A handful of highly curated brands like BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and Comedy Central use the Discover feature to offer up short-form content like quizzes, animations, and articles created specifically for the platform. In exchange, Snapchat gets some of the ad revenue. But the bar is high and the competition fierce to participate--Yahoo and Warner Music Group were quickly cut from the roster when their content didn't resonate with the audience. By the fall of 2015, Discover was attracting 60 million monthly visitors. 

In 2016 the platform plans to beef up its news coverage, with Snapchat reportedly aiming for $200 million in revenue in 2016.

In September 2016, the company rebranded as Snap, Inc., and announced its first physical product: a pair of sunglasses with embedded camera, called Spectacles.

The company's competitive advantage in 2016:

Combining visuals and audio to mimic the experiences of live music
Millennial audience
Clout among social platforms

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:

Expanding Live Stories and Discover to cover even more ground
Becoming profitable
Keeping up the perception of exclusivity on Discover
Talent retention in the midst of shifting ambitions
Upping its advertising capabilities

What to look out for:

Expansion of Discover and Live Stories, profitability, eventual IPO
Lucrative marketing deals (the company has already locked in several eight-figure marketing deals for 2016)
Increased focus on news content
An aim for $200 million revenue in 2016

Social media handles:

Twitter: @snapchat
Facebook: Facebook.com/snapchat

Data

People
valuation
$12 billion
public or private
Private
profitable
No
revenue
On track to generate $100 million
staff
330
users
100 million daily users; 200 million monthly users
headquarters
Los Angeles, CA