Snapchat raises a $200M round from Alibaba

Steven Loeb · March 12, 2015 · Short URL:

With this latest round the company is now said to be worth $15 billion

Snapchat just raised a big funding round, but not the one everyone thought seemed to think it would.

The company, which is said to be raising a $500 million round at a $19 billion valuation as we speaking, just raised a $200 million round in a separate deal, it has been confirmed by a source close to the deal. The money came from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

With this round, Snapchat is said to be valued at $15 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world, behind only Uber, which is valued at $40 billion, and Xiaomi, which is valued at $45 billion.

VatorNews has reached out to Snapchat to confirm the report, but the company declined to comment. Alibaba was not available for comment as of this writing.

It's not surprising that Snapchat would raise this kind of money, as so many reports were coming out a big new round, but it is a little bit unexpected considering the fact that it is raising that other, larger round, and that this deal is said to be not be a part of that other financing.

There is no word on if this latest deal will have any effect on the valuation the company will receive once the $500 million round closes.

Not much is known about who might be investing in that other round, though Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel did have a meeting with Prince Alwaleed bin Tala in Saudi Arabia this past weekend, fueling speculation that he would become an investor in the social network, especially since one of the things said to be "on the agenda" were "discussions" about "future potential business cooperation between Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Snap Chat in the technology field.

Prince Alwaleed, besides being a businessman who is the chief executive officer and majority owner of the KHC, a Forbes Global 2000 company, is also as a member of the Saudi royal family. Alwaleed's uncle was Saudi King Abdullah, who died earlier this year.

KHC has previously put money into Twitter and Chinese e-commerce company KHC also had investments in Citigroup and is the the second largest shareholder in 21st Fox Century after the Murdoch family. So it is no stranger to either American companies, or to the tech world. 

All of this fundraising is coming only months after Snapchat revealed that it had ended 2014 with an additional $485 million in funding from undisclosed investors. In all, with this latest funding included, the company has now raised $848 million from investors that have included Tencent, SV Angel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark, General Catalyst Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Coatue Management.

The company has raised total funding of $648 million from investors that have included Tencent, SV Angel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark, General Catalyst Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Coatue Management.

It's also coming at exactly the right time for Snapchat, as the VC market is hitting something of a wave.

Last year, venture capital funding hit its highest annual mark since 2001. In all, $47.3 billion was invested across 3,617 deals in 2014, representing a 62% increase in the amount invested year-to-year from 2013. Deals were particularly strong in the second and fourth quarter of the year, with both of them reaching over $13 billion in funding, and each coming close to 1,000 deals.

2014 also saw a surge in the number of companies gaining $1 billion valuations; in 2014 alone, 38 different companies entered the $1 billion club, more than the three previous years, when only 22 companies made it combined.

The other important factor: Snapchat is finally figuring out how to make money.

Last year saw the launch of a payments feature through a partnership with Square, as well as Snapchat's first ads, putting them in the Recent Updates section and allowing users to not have to look at them if they don't want to.

The company recently entered into partnerships with various media companies and giving them a feature that will allow them to connect directly with the Snapchat audience.

The Discover feature, as it is called, is made up of 11 unique channels: one for each media partner, plus a Snapchat channel. Those channels include ESPN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Yahoo News, CNN, Vice and Warner Music. Each one will feature photos, videos and other long-form content.

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