Snapchat CEO meets with Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

15 Comments

Could Snapchat, the red-hot messaging service that is reportedly working on a new funding round that will value the company at $19 billion or more, be getting some of that funding from billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? It sure looks that way: the Saudi prince’s investment company put out a statement on the weekend saying that bin Talal met with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and the two talked about a “potential business co-operation” between their companies.

Prince Alwaleed — whose full name is Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud — is a member of the extended Saudi royal family, and a veteran investor who has a stake in social-web companies like Twitter and China’s JD.com, and a track record of investing early in technology players like Apple and AOL. As a number of sources have also pointed out, the prince recently sold his stake in News Corp. and is said to be looking for a new-media entity to invest some of his billions in.

Alwaleed’s interest may also be fuelled by the amount of usage that Snapchat gets in his home county. Many social-media apps like Twitter are popular in Saudi Arabia — in part because they give people a way to talk about the country’s current political regime and its various restrictions on free speech and other human-rights issues — but observers say the country is one of the largest U.S. markets for Snapchat in particular.

WaPo SnapChat

Snapchat has been growing rapidly over the past year, and now has more than 100 million monthly users. And while the service started as an “ephemeral messaging” app that automatically deleted messages after a certain amount of time, it has expanded its horizons beyond just that market by launching a number of new features — including a new service called Discover, which provides short video clips and other content from media partners like CNN.

Discover is still relatively new, but media-industry insiders say the number of unique visitors and engagement levels the service is driving are huge: Digiday quoted one executive as saying the traffic numbers were “f***ing incredible.” And in a recent piece about how new apps like Snapchat and Vessel are trying to compete with YouTube, the WSJ said that the Food Network saw more than 10 million unique visitors to its site in just 12 days.

The platform’s popular “Snapchat Stories” are also driving massive numbers of visitors, as my colleague Carmel DeAmicis recently reported. Numbers like that are making many media watchers sit up and pay attention, so it’s not surprising that they would have caught the eye of a prominent internet and media-industry investor like Prince Alwaleed. Whether the Saudi billionaire eventually pulls the trigger and makes an investment in the company, however, remains to be seen.

15 Comments

birkasejt

I think it’s totally bad idea to invest money to snapchat, it’s only money wasting

ewalsh5

CIOs of tomorrow must drive innovation and reward it enough to cut across legacy IT bureaucracy for faster time to market, application development speed and product development. It also helps if their C-suite perception goes beyond maintenance, allowing them to leverage customer feedback, and innovate both at business model, application, route to market, channel communication levels AND at operational and interfacing options. bit.ly/18KwUhf – commenting on behalf of IDG and Red Hat

lol t4rd

but observers say the country is one of the largest U.S. markets for Snapchat in particular.

Orion

Yeah I tilted my head at that comment too… It seems the correct way of stating that would be “international” rather than “U.S.”… Unless somehow recently without any indication the Suadis are part of the US now?

Fennec

I don’t agree with Saudi investors at all. They might have polished their countries exterior up, but I still have gay friends there (who must live there for their work in air travel) who are dying inside (and if they’re not careful, dying in general).

Orion

So, people who support and/or are of a differing sexual stature, automatically perverts? ::smh:: Sounds like you need a few more trips to the Psych to help with your insecurity issues on first note.

Fennec

Creepy how?

If you’re trying to pull a “eww men in a room they must be gay” thing then you can GTFO.

If you’re trying to pull a “eww men in a room they oppressed the women to get there” thing then you can see how many female bones lie on history’s battlefields and at the gates to cities.

If you’re trying to pull a “eww men in a room who believe in a magical sky daddy that makes them oppress everyone around them” then I agree.

Nikohl Vandel

Mostly ewww all men in a room with tech and arabic leaders should make any self-respecting, thinking women cringe and shake their head for the condition of our pitiful condition in year 2015, when we could be so much better than we are.

Nikohl Vandel is a moron

That literally doesn’t make any sense at all.

Orion

Why? Because on your post you sounded a sort of bat-shit crazy? I mean I agree and get the part about how much better we could be… But even after reading it a few times, I am missing your point… Plus, it would be best to use a different word than condition the same twice in a row, it almost looks like a typo, but no, I know you meant it that way – even if it still doesn’t make much sense.

Sara

Thats because their Princesses stay at home and enjoy luxuries unlike trashy women like you. ;)

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