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Ask HN: How much do you think SnapChat is really worth?
8 points by bryang on Nov 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments
With the gossipy 3 Billion acquisition talk going around, I'm curious to learn what the HN readers believe to be a proper or more logical valuation for SnapChat (which does not have any immediate or pending revenue sources)


I hadn't heard of SnapChat until this acquisition story broke. I guess I'm out of touch or something?

Anyway, no revenue and no real hope of revenue = $0. VC can blow smoke up your ass until they collapse, blue in the face, but it's not a winning proposition.

You are out of touch. For those < 30, SnapChat is one of the most popular social networking apps. It may not be generating revenue now, but there has to be some value in it for the amount of users it currently has.

edit: but yea, I think $3 billion is a little high...

Theres a difference between having value to users because its a decent app and they get to use it for free, and generating revenue from those users. Ask those users to pay and they will leave in droves.

Getting users to pay isn't the only way to make money.

Thats true. But what have they really got to sell?

Who knows. Pre/post roll ads on snaps. Stickers...

Exactly, who knows....

Which is a problem for advertisers. not to be meta, but its true. marketers want to but mindshare, and they want to make sure their pitch is not going to be taken out of context. not knowing what your pitch will look like in context is usually a non-starter for ad sales guys. Of course SnapChat may not want to deal with advertisers as that would require tracking and verification, which might put off some end users as well. That seems to leave fewer possible business models. Although they may invent something new, so lets not count them fully out.

I am not an investor and have very vague clue of such eccentric valuations but let me get my facts straight. An app which is analogous to a "teen trend", generates no revenue, has a very little or no clue how to either, is worth $3B? Does the brand value and niche matter more than possible potential of company, "money-wise"?

To some people! :)

As much as someone's willing to pay.

Personally, it does not surprise that FB is willing to pay 3B. FB is struggling with the younger crowd as of late, it's a great strategic move in my opinion.

"As much as its bought for" is a popular response when I've asked this question. I guess it comes down to sematics - is value sort of like Net Revenue Versus Revenue? Amazon makes boatloads of revenue, but still hasn't seen the return it wants. How does this affect the value of the company? The stock buyers apparently don't care...

I think these sort of app related multi-billion acquisitions with little or no revenue are a complete farce and do more harm than good - especially when it comes down to a product with NO revenue. It's basically disregarding capitalist business principles for shallow popularity.


Supply-demand. If there's a suitor willing to drop $3bb on Snapchat, then that's the market clearing price is it not?

Given that Snapchat didn't accept, perhaps it's worth a tiny bit more.

when someone rejects the demand, it doesn't mean it's worth more, unless there is someone else willing to offer more. But you're dead on that it's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. "worth" is a tricky word. We default to thinking that all things have an intrinsic value, when really nothing does. The value of something is only equal to what someone is willing to do to obtain that something.

People think gold has this intrinsic value, but does not either. It's "natural" value is also soley based upon the demand that is put upon it. The fact that people find it beautiful, and that is a great conductor of electricity, are things that are desired about it. And so the more people that discover the uses of gold, the more demand grows.

If there were no googles, or apples, or yahoos, or any of these huge companies with really deep pockets, then there would be no one to offer $3billion for a company like snapchat, and there would be no way it could ever obtain a "worth" of 3 billion. Because, again - anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay (or do) to obtain it. Even your job.

@BoredElonMusk tweeted "I offered Snapchat zero dollars and am pretty sure I would have overpaid.", source: https://twitter.com/BoredElonMusk/status/400701171272130560

The problem I see with Snapchat is that:

a) currently no revenue, I imagine it is harder to monetize Snapchat than Facebook et al. But it is not my area of expertise so I can give them the benefit of the doubt that they can monetize it.

b) They are one lawsuit away from blowing up. I can see a future where they get hit with a child porn lawsuit or something similar. I assume they have good lawyers but it is still a rather significant risk.

I think it was a mistake not to take one of those billion dollar deals but I have been wrong before. If they can monetize their service and avoid lawsuits it could become huge.

I think social media services can grow extremely large, but monetizing turns people off. Facebook is tricky, because the data you post there is available forever, I fully expect to use facebook 30 years from now to look at my kid's pictures (that I take and post now). This is very different from a blurt on twitter or a video designed to disappear in seconds.

I can't imagine these services being worth as much as facebook, and I don't know what they're thinking turning that amount down. They have no revenue.

I said, "SnapChat! What you want?... He said, 'I need about tree-fitty'"

It's really just another Instagram purchase. Posting photos is one of FB's core features, so FB is putting out any fires before they can grow. It's like Yahoo buying out Google before it can ... oh wait.

You mean the cost of the porn side of it?

I've been thinking about making an app called ScreenSnap that takes screen captures every time a naked body appears on the screen... ;)

It'll quickly drain the battery....

At least $29.95

- As of now, 0.5 Billi with a potential of around 7 Billi.

Well, that's just silli.

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