As it prepares for a possible initial public offering, the social media app Snapchat disclosed Friday it has snapped up $537 million in new venture capital funding since February.
According to a regulatory filing, the funding round has a target of $650 million. Snapchat has raised around $1.2 billion in outside funding to date, at a valuation that is said to be in excess of $15 billion, Fortune reports.
Those who invested in the latest round include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which contributed $200 million in March. Existing investors include Yahoo and venture capital groups Benchmark, IVP and Kleiner Perkins.
“The number of dollars may be smaller than the significance of the deal’s financial structure, in that all of the $537 million was done in the form of common stock,” Fortune said, noting that any new investors, including Alibaba, are “subordinate to all of Snapchat’s earlier investors, and lack many of the investor protections (namely liquidation preferences) that are almost always associated with private tech company fundings.”
“Were Snapchat [selling] preferred stock, it’s almost a sure bet that this round would have been wrapped up a while ago,” Fortune added.
Snapchat is selling common stock, Fortune suggested, because “Investors are desperate to be in hypergrowth tech startups, and Snapchat is so flush with cash that a slow (or even soft) fundraise won’t have too much internal impact.”
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said earlier this week that the company is planning an IPO and it was committed to remaining independent rather than being acquired by a larger company such as Facebook.
Spiegel also said the app is approaching 100 million daily active users in developed markets and that about 65% of those users create content on the app daily. More than 60% of 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users in the U.S. are active on the service and together view more than 2 billion videos a day, the company said.