Snapchat is looking to raise as much as $500 million in a new funding round that would value the mobile messaging company at up to $19 billion, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.
The latest valuation is a massive increase for the company, which Facebook Inc offered to buy for $3 billion in late 2013. Snapchat’s previous funding round, completed late last year, valued the company at more than $10 billion.
Executives of the company, which allows its more than 100 million users to send messages that disappear after a few seconds, are in advanced talks with fund managers, the person told Bloomberg.
That value is also close to the $22 billion Facebook Inc. paid last year for WhatsApp Inc., a messaging company that now has 700 million users.
Snapchat’s valuation has skyrocketed since it was born in 2011 out of a Stanford University fraternity house. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel, 24, turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook in 2013 and went on to raise funds from 23 investors at a $10 billion valuation last year. That increase has corresponded with a surge in venture spending to the highest level in more than a decade.
In January, Snapchat started Discover, a kind of short-form television, betting that its users will like having their news and entertainment curated, as opposed to reading it in a feed as they do on Facebook or Twitter. The service lets users browse content from 11 different channels, including CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Vice and Yahoo News.
The company’s fast-growing and young audience has already drawn some studios to create exclusive content for the application. Snapchat is getting its own superhero series, where stars from YouTube and Vine are featured in short clips. Vice Media Inc. first released a report that it filmed inside a Chinese bitcoin mine on Snapchat, where it was viewable for 24 hours before disappearing and moving to other platforms.