Snapchat is a unique mobile communications service that allows users to send photos and short videos to their friends and family. The sender tags the photo or video to disappear after the recipient has viewed it for a few seconds. The heightened sense of privacy created by the fact that the shared content is not persistent has made Snapchat a huge hit with young people. When I asked teenagers about Snapchat late last summer, I heard again and again that they liked it because the ephemeral nature of the content allowed them to be themselves — to share a weird or ugly or banal picture that they would have been uncomfortable posting on other well-known social networks for fear of getting dissed. When you hear things like this from customers, you know the product is connecting with people in a powerful way.
I’m very excited to work with bold entrepreneurs like Evan and Bobby to help build Snapchat. At Benchmark we search for entrepreneurs who want to change the world, and Evan and Bobby certainly have that ambition. We believe that Snapchat can become one of the most important mobile companies in the world, and Snapchat’s initial momentum — 60 million shared “snaps” per day, over 5 billion sent through the service to date — supports that belief. Snapchat’s ramp reminded us of another mobile app Benchmark had the good fortune to back at an early stage: Instagram.
Finally, a quick word about Los Angeles. Snapchat is headquartered in LA, a city with an growing community of startups. Benchmark has had a lot of recent success investing in southern California, with our exits from JAMDAT, Business.com, Riot Games and Gaikai having generated over $1.8 billion in equity value. In addition, we’ve made some exciting new investments in LA companies like Thatgamecompany, Dogvacay, Brighter, and now Snapchat. I spent the majority of my career in LA, and I know first hand the energy and talent in that great city.