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Snapchat IPO Opens At $24/Share

Snapchat Inc.’s unorthodox office setup and lack of headquarters, which the company said could pose a risk to its future growth, did not deter traders from scrambling for a piece of the popular messaging app’s stock during its IPO Thursday.


Trading began Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange with shares opening at $24. The firm's $24B valuation is the highest for a nationwide tech company since Facebook's nearly five years ago, Reuters reports. The company reported it had an average of 158 million active daily users at the end of last year and $404M in revenue.

Snapchat has been under scrutiny from investors since it first announced its IPO and filed documents last month discussing its strengths and weaknesses. Despite the high-profile IPO, the company actually lost more than $500M last year, the New York Times reports.

One of the stated weaknesses in the IPO filings was Snapchat's lack of a central headquarters. The company operates out of several condos and houses converted into offices on Venice Beach, though some experts say the tech startup’s real estate strategy could pave the way for a new office culture trend, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and his college pals, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown, started the company in a Stanford dorm before establishing its first offices in Spiegel's father's house.

The spread-out campus could prove to be detrimental to the morale of employees who have to travel up to 15 minutes between the offices to conduct meetings. Some employees do not even know where other departments are located. Snapchat's staff grew 210% last year. 

Despite its popularity, some Venice residents are none too happy with the startup.

A group of them held a protest outside of Snapchat's Venice Beach offices Tuesday with some complaining the company is interfering with the local culture and making the neighborhood too corporate, Buzzfeed reports. As a result, Snapchat may be looking elsewhere to expand.

Company officials estimate Snapchat could reach $1B in revenue this year. Following the IPO, Snapchat plans to allow shareholders to attend meetings but deny them voting rights.