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Snapchat Prepares $20 Billion IPO, Launches Video Glasses


Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

The owner of messaging service Snapchat is preparing for the technology industry’s biggest initial public offering, or IPO, since 2014.

Snap Inc. recently filed for the IPO, which will allow the company to offer stock shares to the public on the New York Stock Exchange. According to multiple media reports, the IPO will happen in early March.

Based on its targeted share price, the IPO would put the Los Angeles-based company’s value at more than $20 billion. That predicted valuation is based on the stock being offered at $14-$16 per share.

Snap Inc. would be the biggest IPO in the technology industry since China’s Alibaba Group went public in 2014.

The company’s 26-year-old Chief Executive Officer, Evan Spiegel, is currently meeting with investors in the U.S. and abroad to seek support for the IPO.

The Snapchat logo is seen on a banner outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Snapchat logo is seen on a banner outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Snap Inc. began as Snapchat in 2011. It became a popular messaging app for sharing photos. The app was unusual because it automatically deleted photos after they were sent. Messages became known as “Snaps.”

Over the years, the company developed additional products related to photo and video messaging. For example, users can add entertaining features like text and animation to photos and videos.

The company also added a “Discover” section containing short news videos. Another feature called “Stories” lets people create collections of messages, videos and photos from the past 24 hours.

Snap Inc. has started selling its Spectacles sunglasses online in the United States. The glasses can record short video clips that can be shared with Snapchat users. (Snap Inc.)
Snap Inc. has started selling its Spectacles sunglasses online in the United States. The glasses can record short video clips that can be shared with Snapchat users. (Snap Inc.)

Some of Snap Inc.’s competitors – like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – have copied some of these features as a way to win new users.

Snapchap says it had 158 million active daily users at the end of 2016, with an average of 2.5 billion Snaps created every day.

Most users of the service are between 18-34 years old. Those under 25 are most active and spend more than 30 minutes a day on the app, according to Snap.

Snap Inc. has said its goal is to “reinvent the camera” to “improve the way people live and communicate.” It has signaled a desire to produce hardware to improve the Snapchat service.

One of the new products is a pair of sunglasses that can record short video clips. The company just started selling the glasses online for just under $130 in the United States.

Until now, the new glasses - called Spectacles – were only sold at limited places in the U.S. and sold out very quickly.

Spectacles look a lot like many other regular sunglasses. But they have a built-in camera in front that can record up to 10 seconds of video. They come in bright colors and were designed to appeal to people seeking a new, fun experience on Snapchat.

Spectacles connect to Snapchat through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, allowing users to immediately send the clips to others.

Snap Inc. is also reportedly developing products for future release related to virtual reality, augmented reality and facial recognition.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press and other sources. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

initial adj. occurring at the beginning of something

appn. a computer program that performs a special function

animationn. a drawing, pictures, etc., shown quickly one after another

hardwaren. machines or equipment used inside computers or together with electronic devices

augmented realityn. a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world.

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