Om Malik at Gigaom has the scoop.
According to Malik, Snapchat has been "fielding funding overtures from a lot of usual suspects in Silicon Valley" but it has picked a non-traditional investor to lead its round. There's a secondary component to the round as well, says Malik.
Snapchat isn't just some toy for techies. It's proved it has staying power, jumping from 20 million photos uploaded per day last October to 150 million now. That's more daily uploads than Instagram, which Facebook purchased last year for $1 billion (or $700 million once the stock dropped). That fact helps justify the jarring half-a-billion valuation Snapchat may be receiving.
The Los Angeles-based app is definitely on Facebook's radar. Late last year, Mark Zuckerberg met with the two 20-something founders of Snapchat, then tried to duplicate it with his own app, Poke. Poke immediately flopped while Snapchat charged on.
Snapchat is a more private photo sharing experience than Instagram. Users pick a single friend to send a photo to, write a message on top of the photo, and select how many seconds the recipient will be able to view the photo fore. After that, the photo self destructs, and it can't be viewed by the recipient or sender again.
Here's a chart that shows how quickly Snapchat has been growing. It could be a fad, but it's explosive growth has been continuing for mor than a year.
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