It looks like Snapchat might be on track to hold the largest initial public offering of a stock for any Los Angeles-based company, in history. At the same time, though, should that happen, none of the region’s major start-up investors would profit from it.
That’s because of the roughly $4 billion that Snap, Inc has managed to raise, initially, from investors to add both technology and hiring in preparation for next month’s IPO, most of it came from financiers outside of Los Angeles. And this is still in spite of the fact that the country’s leading venture capital firms—these are the investors to whom technology entrepreneurs turn for money as well as advice—were all well aware that the photo-messaging app had easily become a major star among teenagers.
For example, Upfront Ventures is the largest, LA-based start-up investor; and despite associated James Bailey’s urging of managing partner Mark Suster to meet with Snapchat, the firm did not. Apparently, Suster believes the app is used more as a tool for sexting and marital infidelity than for messaging. Indeed, while Snapchat launched in 2011 with the distinct feature of “disappearing messages,” it quickly earned quite the reputation as a service that allows users to send salacious photos. Still, the app has moved far beyond this negative reputation.
Similarly, both CrossCut Ventures and Clearstone Venture Partners did not opt to buy-in, though their choice was more out of a lack of available capital. Still, many other firms—including Rustic Canyon Partners, Baroda Ventures, and CT Ventures—simply believed that Snapchat just does not fall in line with their profiles as a company they would support.
Still, the company expects to raise about $3.2 billion from its public offering (at expected share prices between $14 and $16 per share). Sure enough, those funds would serve to give Snap much of what it needs to compete in the highly volatile tech industry where larger internet companies like Facebook tend to soak up the best talent.
In its filing, the company noted it will likely use roughly $2.1 billion of its IPO for general corporate purposes and to acquire other smaller companies. The filing also said, “We may also use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire complementary businesses, products, services, or technologies. However, we are not contemplating any material acquisitions at this time.”