Yesterday, Dan Primack pointed out that like Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Matt Cohler, who backed Instagram for Benchmark Capital, hasn’t done a deal in 2012. Well, that is all set to change, for Benchmark is very likely to lead a big round of financing for red-hot photo sharing app, SnapChat. It was started by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, two Stanford students and launched in September 2011.
SnapChat is an application (both on iOS and Android) that allows the members of the community to snap a photo and share it for someone else and that they have access to that photo for a few seconds, before vanishing. You respond by sharing your own photo and the loop continues. The perception of privacy and lack of permanence is one of the reason why sexting (as the kids would say) is so popular on one of the reasons why this app is blowing up, though CEO Spiegel says otherwise. As of Oct. 28, the company said that a billion photos had been exchanged over its network.
The word is that SnapChat, which is seeing about 1,000 photos being swapped every second, is raising around $8 million at a pretty generous pre-money valuation. The rumored (but not confirmed valuation is close to $50 million). Cohler declined to comment.
SnapChat’s audience is decidedly young and definitely different from Facebook and Twitter, two more broader social platforms. Why is this interesting? I would just look at Cohler’s track record of showing up first at social platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and now SnapChat — you see a pattern here. As far as Twitter is concerned — well, Cohler’s partner Peter Fenton has that one covered. That said, it is still unclear to me how SnapChat will evolve from a white-hot app to a red-hot business.