Came across a very interesting article today that attempts to prove mathematically how Snapchat could be worth $3 billion or more. Basically, the author uses recent survey data and comments by Snapchat's CEO to deduce current users are at roughly 36 million globally, with 26 million being in the US. He then makes a case for the lifetime value of each user at $100 (similar to Twitter and Facebook user values). That puts the estimated value of the company between $3.5 to $4 billion. Of course, Snapchat doesn't have a business model to speak of, but its user base is sure to keep growing. Given the metrics, I believe that makes an IPO much more likely than a buyout. It will be interesting to see if the vanishing nature of Snapchat user inputs make users more likely to spend money, as the author suggests. (VIEW LINK)
Perhaps a compelling reason why Snapchat (and others) should consider IPOs sooner rather than later.
I think one of the differences is that people are addicted to mobile/social communication. Yes the valuations are pie in the sky and mind boggling but if I look forward 5 years I expect more people will still be using phones and social media. The commercial outcome is not about the particular social media but about engaging with and accessing the audience.