Snapchat is the immensely popular app that's so far swept the millennial generation. With millions of users and a multi-million dollar valuation by venture capitalists, some analysts consider Snapchat the future of mobile messaging. Here's what you need to know about Snapchat.
1. Snapchat Lets You Send Media To Your Friends That Get Deleted Automatically
When I first heard of Snapchat, I was pretty confused; I didn't understand the concept of self-deleting pictures. But that's the premise of Snapchat — send pictures to your friends that are supposed to self-destruct after a maximum of 10 seconds. And it's addicting; according to CNET, Snapchat just reached 8 million users in the US alone. The app is so popular, in fact, that Facebook copied it and essentially made a clone of the app, called "Facebook Poke." The Facebook-sanctioned Snapchat clone started off well, but almost instantaneously was riddiculed for blatanly copying a popular app.
2. Snapchat Has An Interesting History
Snapchat was started by evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and two other developers from Stanford. The idea initially started as a project for class, but classmates were apprehensive about the concept of self-destructing photographs. But, Spiegel went ahead and developed the app with his friends and Snapchat successfully launched in September 2011, from Spiegel's father's living room (which remains the company's headquarters).
3. Snapchat Has Some Privacy Issues
The popular photo and video messsaging app does have some major privacy issues. Despite the company's claims that the photos get deleted and they don't keep any records, there are multiple news reports indicating otherwise. A well-known feature in Snapchat is the ability to take screenshots of images, but a website called "snapchatleaked.com" cultivated and published a number of Snapchat screenshots users took. Deep inside the coding for the app is a method to retrieve screenshotted Snapchat's, which the people behind Snapchatleaked.com utilized to their full advantage. There are dozens of other stories like this too.
4. Some Consider Snapchat "The Next Facebook"
Many consider Snapchat to be "the next Facebook," based on the app's insane growth rate and popularity with the most difficult demographic — 18-25 year olds. Snapchat's popularity started skyrocketing back in December, but the app hasn't fizzled out, which is saying a lot. Comparatively, other app crazes like Words with Friends went away, so Snapchat's staying power is certainly impressive. Managing to grab and hold on the minuscule attention span of our generation is extremely difficult, and venture capitalists are hoping that Snapchat can manage to expand on that (and turning that user base into cold, hard, cash is step number one).
5. Snapchat Was Valued at $860 Million
For an app that basically doesn't make money (it's free and has no advertisements), Snapchat managed to raise an astounding $80 million in seed funding, which confused a lot of analysts. "Why spend money on a company that doesn't make money!?" bloggers shouted via their computers. The fact is though that Snapchat, as previously mentioned, has a dedicated user base that keeps expanding and expanding. Snapchat took colleges by storm, now its taking over Wall Street, and VC's are worried about missing out, in case Snapchat actually does become the next Facebook.
There's a lot going on in Snapchat's funding, actually. $20 million of the $80 they received went to the two co-founders to "incentize them." Essentially, the VC's thought that, by throwing money at the founders, they'll be less likely to treat Snapchat as a get rich quick scheme (just look at the debacle between OMGPop and Zynga) and more as a company that has unlimited potential.
If you want to read more about why exactly a venture capital fund decided to give Snapchat so much money, IVP (the fund) issued a press release titled "Ten Reasons Why IVP Invested in Snapchat."